NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – A great road playoff run has the Los Angeles Kings in a place they haven’t been since the Great One was skating in Southern California.
They’ll start the Stanley Cup finals away from home, too. The Devils and Rangers, still battling it out in the East, may want to take notice.
Dustin Penner scored 17:42 into overtime and the Kings beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday night to earn their first trip to the finals since 1993.
“It means everything,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “You grow up your whole life wanting to be in that Stanley Cup final.”
Next up for the Kings is a trip to the Tri-State area. They will play Game 1 next Wednesday at either New York or the New Jersey.
The Kings will have the benefit of a full week of rest. The winner of Devils-Rangers, if that series goes to the seven-game limit, will have only two full days to prepare.
The kings of the road, Los Angeles will play for Lord Stanley’s cup for the second time as a franchise after taking down the Western Conference’s top three seeds. Los Angeles last played in the final round 19 years ago, vs. Montreal.
“There hasn’t been much success as an organization, but we’ve got an opportunity to play for the Cup,” said Kings captain Dustin Brown, who angered the Coyotes with a hit that knocked defenseman Michal Rozsival from the game just before Penner’s goal. “But there’s still a lot of work to be done.”
The Kings knocked off No. 1 Vancouver, the Presidents’ Trophy winner, No. 2 St. Louis and rounded it out with a five-game win over the No. 3 Coyotes in the conference finals to become the second No. 8 seed — along with Edmonton in 2006 — to reach the Stanley Cup finals.
They played hard, utilized their skill and size, and won away from home like no other team in NHL history.
“It’s the biggest goal of my career so far,” Penner said of his series-winner. “Hopefully, there are a couple more waiting in the finals.”
They Eastern Conference finals winner might have something to say about that.
Hey, now there’s something Devils and Rangers fans can agree on.
Which team has a better chance of taking down LA, the Rangers or Devils? Sound off below…
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