Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez deposited a meaty rebound in the back of the net at 14:43 in double-overtime, giving the Kings a 3-2 win and the Stanley Cup. The NHL had Martinez mic'd up for the moment and even though it's exactly what you'd expect it to be—a whole bunch of whooping and yelling "yeah" a lot—that doesn't make it any less fun to watch.
Martinez, who scored the Game 7 overtime winner against Chicago in the Western Conference Final, sounds like he barely remembers anything.
"It came off his pad pretty quick and I just tried to get a stick on it and get it on net," Martinez said. "I blacked out. I don't really remember. I think I threw my gear. I don't know. I just remember everyone coming at me and I couldn't breathe. It's just a surreal moment. I'm just so happy for these guys."
The Kings beat the Rangers in five games and heading into the series the consensus was that the Rangers would be lucky to win one game against a vastly superior Western Conference representative. The Rangers eked one out at home and lost three overtime (two double-overtime) games on the road. The only game that wasn't a nail biter was Game 3, which the Kings won handily on the road.
The rest of the series could have gone either way, including last night. A questionable penalty called on Mats Zuccarello for tripping when it probably should have gone the other way, let the Kings tie the game up in the third period. But each team hit its share of crossbars, posts, and fortresses of solitude along the way, too. Shit happens in every game and you still have to go out and do whatever it is you're supposed to do. Whether you're defenseman, a scorer, or a goalie, you still have to defend, score, or make saves. The Kings did that better, and more often, than the Rangers.
The final outcome, a 4-1 series win, is much closer to a basketball games that was close the whole way, but looks like a blowout in the box score because of a couple late threes. Outside of an absurd New York comeback to push this to seven games, the NHL really could not have asked for much more. It was a fantastic series to watch, living and dying with every pass for 40+-minute stretches at a time, much of it with sudden-death stakes. Of the five games played, four were heart-poundingly great and the other a stinker. The Kings won the stinker and three of the great ones, so they all got to pile on Alec Martinez as he blacked out.