The Franchise Best Series comes to you to dive into the all-time best single season for every organization. This, of course, includes post-season results. Join us for a look back at some of the most memorable moments in each franchise’s history. Here is the Los Angeles Kings best season.
Los Angeles Kings 2013-14 Season
By this point in time, the Kings were looking to capture their second cup in three years. They proved to be a dominant team throughout the regular season. The team was led by Anze Kopitar, who finished with 70 points in the regular season. That was 20 points more than Jeff Carter, who finished the season second in points with 50.
But it was the performances from other players that helped shape what the Kings were able to accomplish that season. 10 other players finished with at least 20 points that season, five of them reaching 30 points and two who reached 40 points.
It was the road to their second Stanley Cup, though, that proved to be the real test for the team. It can be cliche to call their run a magical one, but that is truly what happened for the Kings that season. They faced a tough task each playoff round, one that pushed them to the brink in all but the final round.
The Los Angeles Kings 2013-14 season was a year for the record books. And one, even now, that Kings fans won’t soon forget.
Previous Season And Off-Season Additions
The Kings 2012-13 season was reduced from 82 games to 48 games due to the lockout. It was an up and down year for the team, as they lost their first three games by a combined score of 10-4. Their power play struggled, breaking a 0-for-25 slump during their fifth game of the season.
The team quickly turned things around in the following month, going 8-4 and a perfect 4-0 on home ice. The bulk of the season came for the team in March, where the team struggled to find consistency. The highest winning streak the team put together followed them for three games from March 16th to March 19th. The team also had multiple two-game losing streaks throughout the month.
Despite the struggles the team faced, they finished second in the Pacific with 59 points, a record of 27-16-5. The fifth seed in the playoffs, the Kings would get through the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks before ultimately falling to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals.
The Kings made numerous trades during the offseason, most involving draft picks. The team did make two trades involving players, though all players involved were then traded during the next season. The Kings acquired Daniel Carcillo, only losing a conditional round pick in 2015.
The Kings also sent goaltender Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs. In return, the Kings were sent Matt Frattin, Ben Scrivens, and a draft pick. While Frattin would not remain in the organization the entire season, he was a part of a big move for the Kings at the trade deadline.
Youth Movement Creates Depth
Due to a number of injuries in the early part of the season, the Kings were forced to turn to some of their younger players for an impact. Those players involved Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson, and Linden Vey.
Toffoli had the biggest impact during the early part of the season. In his first 21 games, the young forward had put up eight goals and seven assists. He ranked seventh on the team at the time, despite having played 14 fewer games than most Kings regulars.
Neither Pearson or Vey made that big of an impact when they were first put into the lineup. Pearson struggled and was sent down to the team’s AHL affiliate. Vey did not put up a point in his first 14 games, finishing with five points in 18 games.
However, adding Toffoli and Pearson did provide a spark to the team later on in the season. It added speed and creativity to an attack that had been struggling. Toffoli would finish the season with 12 goals and 17 assists in 62 games. Pearson would add three goals and four assists in 25 games.
The addition of Toffoli and Pearson on the second line with Carter provided the team with a dynamic trio during the latter part of the season. This move, along with others, also created a forward depth that teams could not seem to match.
Six Kings Named To Olympic Team
Before the NHL decided to not attend the Olympics this past year, the NHL did take part in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The Kings would send six players that year to participate, tied for ninth most in the NHL.
Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick represented Team USA. Carter and Drew Doughty would be a part of the gold-medal winning Canadian team. Kopitar headlined the Slovenian roster as the only NHL player. And Slava Voynov was on the back-end for the Russian team.
Doughty would finish with the most points by a Kings, leaving Sochi with six points in six games. He finished second overall among defensemen. Carter finished close behind with five points in six games. Kopitar finished with three points, while Voynov did not capture any points.
As the starting goaltender for the USA, Quick finished the tournament 2-2 with a 92.3 SV% along with a 2.17 GAA.
NHL Heads Outside In Los Angeles
Part of the 2014 NHL Stadium Series, the Kings and Anaheim Ducks met up as the first game in the series. It was the first outdoor game the NHL hosted west of the Mississippi River. The scenery did not disappoint as Dodger Stadium had a beach volleyball court in left field and performance stage in right field. There was also an inline skating rink near home plate.
Despite the Kings finishing on the wrong end of the score sheet, the game proved that a place like Los Angeles could be home to an outdoor hockey game. The temperature sat at 63 degrees as the puck dropped. Over 54,000 people took in the spectacle as the league pulled out all of the stops for the game.
Vin Scully and Bob Miller came together to handle emcee duties for the pre-game festivities. And Wayne Gretzky made an appearance as he dropped the puck for the ceremonial opening face-off. Southern California hockey grew that night and proved they were the real deal.
Top Regular Season Scorers
Kopitar led the Kings forwards in scoring with 29 goals and 41 assists, 20 more points than the second highest scoring King. Doughty found himself fifth on the overall list, but first among Kings defenseman. He finished the season with 10 goals and 27 assists.
Aside from Andrew Campbell, who only appeared in three games, every other player who put on a Kings uniform contributed with at least a point.
The Los Angeles Kings 2013-14 season saw them make quite a few in-season moves. Out of the many signings they made, some of the biggest included a two-year contract to Martin Jones in September and a two-year extension to Trevor Lewis in April.
Most trades did not move the needle, though. The team sent Carcillo to the New York Rangers for a draft pick and Ben Scrivens to the Edmonton Oilers for another draft pick.
The team shipped out Nicolas Deslauriers and Hudson Fasching for Brayden McNabb, Jonathan Parker, and two draft picks. But the biggest trade of all involved sending Frattin and a couple draft picks to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Marian Gaborik.
Gaborik would add five goals and 11 assists during his 19 regular season games for the Kings. That was better than 12 other Kings overall, five better than the Kings regulars. But it was his playoff performance that would make the biggest impact for the team.
To get a full feel for what happened during the Kings playoff run, one has to take a look at how they got to the finish line. Their run almost ended just as quick as it began, though
Round One Versus Sharks
Just as quickly as the playoffs began, the Kings found themselves in a 3-0 deficit to the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks won the opening two games easily, scores of 6-3 and 7-2. The Kings would put up a fight in the third game of the series but would fall 4-3 in overtime.
However, the Kings would not roll over and quit. Facing elimination in game four, Williams stepped up as he often did during the playoffs. He scored two goals in the game to lead the team to a convincing 6-3 victory. Gaborik also contributed with two goals in the game. Toffoli and Brown would add one goal apiece.
Quick would stand up large for the Kings in game five as he stopped all 30 shots the Sharks put on the net. Needing only one goal to win the game, the Kings would score three courtesy of Kopitar, Toffoli, and Carter.
The Kings game six victory game had a bit of controversy added to it. They became the ninth team to rally from down 0-3 in a series. The Kings also became the second team in four years to do it against the Sharks. But the controversy came on Williams’ game-winning goal in the third period. Williams made contact with goaltender Alex Stalock and appeared to push the puck through his legs. After review, the goal stood. The team went on to a 4-1 victory.
The Kings final win in the series also came in convincing fashion as they put up five unanswered goals past Antti Niemi to cruise to a 5-1 win. Carter and Richards would become the first players in NHL history to be part of two teams that came back from a 3-0 series deficit.
Round Two Versus Ducks
In the first playoff meeting between the two teams, the Kings jumped out to a 2-0 series lead. But the fun did not last as the Kings would drop the next three games. The first four games of the series were also won by the visiting team.
Game seven was another convincing series-clinching game for the Kings. The team exploded for four goals against starting goaltender John Gibson. They would score two goals against Jonas Hiller. The six goals were scored by six different Kings forwards. All but one of the goal scorers had two points in the contest. And all but three forwards recorded a point in the victory.
The Kings would face three different goaltenders throughout the series as Bruce Boudreau struggled to find consistency in net. Gibson stood out in the Ducks game three and four victories, becoming the youngest goaltender to record a shutout in his playoff debut.
But the Kings were able to outlast his performances after that and come away with the 4-3 series victory.
Round Three Versus Chicago Blackhawks
At this point, the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings had become very familiar with each other. This was the third playoff meeting between the two, Chicago having won the previous two meetings. It was also a rematch of the previous season’s Western Conference Finals.
The Blackhawks would take the first game, with the help of a Brandon Saad goal and assist. The Kings would capture a game two victory as Carter would record a hat trick to lead the way.
Games three and four went the Kings way as well, led by the trio of Carter, Toffoli, and Pearson in the third game. Goals from five different players led the way for the Kings in game four.
A double-overtime victory would power the Hawks to a 5-4 victory in the fifth game. Michal Handzus would score the game-winning goal. A back-and-forth game six went the Hawks way as Patrick Kane would get the game-winner late in the third period.
The deciding game seven had multiple lead changes as well. The Kings would have to tie the game three times to get it to overtime. Williams, Toffoli, and Gaborik played a role in each of the tying goals. Alec Martinez would be the hero in game seven as he fired a shot from the blue line past Corey Crawford for the 5-4 victory.
Martinez would play an even bigger role in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Round Four Versus New York Rangers
The Kings made this one relatively easy for their fans in terms of the number of games played. After going to seven games in their previous three series, it only took the Kings five games to take care of the Rangers. This was the first meeting between the two teams since the preliminary round of 1981 playoffs. It was the first major professional championship final between New York and Los Angeles since the 1981 World Series.
However, three of the five games would need overtime; with game two and the series-clinching game five needing double overtime. Williams would lead the way for the Kings in the finals, scoring two goals and adding five assists. He would capture the Conn Smythe as the Playoff MVP.
16 different Kings overall would contribute during the final round against the Kings. While he only posted one goal in the series, Martinez would score the goal that mattered most. In double overtime of the fifth and final game, Martinez fired one in from the top of the crease to bring the Kings their second cup in three years.
Four Kings finished the playoffs with over 20 points. Kopitar led the way with five goals and 21 assists. Carter would add 10 goals and 15 assists, while Williams finished with nine goals and 16 assists.
While he finished fourth with 22 points, Gaborik powered the Kings with his playoff-leading 14 goals. He proved to be a valuable asset to the team once the playoffs kicked off. Gaborik scored at least two goals in every round of the playoffs, six against the Ducks in the second round. He was held off the scoresheet in only 10 of the 26 games the team played.
That performance would help Gaborik sign a seven-year contract that off-season. He seemed to be the piece that put the Kings over the top, especially in the playoffs.
In the end, the Kings would go through a tough road to capture their second Stanley Cup. The team saw themselves in the brink of elimination multiple times during the first three rounds. The Kings made history by winning three seven-game series just to get to the Stanley Cup Finals.
After finishing with 100 points in the regular season, the Los Angeles Kings 2013-14 team put it all together in the playoffs and were the final team left standing tall.
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