In this season’s Stanley Cup finals, the Nashville Predators are the lowest seed to make it to the final since the Los Angeles Kings won it in 2012. Like the Predators, the Kings entered the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs as the number eight seed in the Western Conference. The Los Angeles Kings historically had not fared well in the postseason, having only advanced beyond second round of the playoffs once in franchise history. They were the first eighth seed in North American professional sports history to win a championship. They are also one of the few teams to win a championship after never benefitting from home-venue advantage in the post-season. Los Angeles would start every series by winning the first three games, only sweeping the St. Louis Blues.
The Kings finished 40-27-15 during the regular season for third place in the Pacific Division.
In 2012, the Kings took a 3-0 lead in the finals against the New Jersey Devils then won in six games for their first Stanley Cup. The Kings upset the #1 seed Vancouver Canucks in the first round with a 4-1 win, swept the Blues in four straight then easily eliminated the Phoenix Coyotes in five games.
The Kings’ road dominance in the playoffs was probably the most impressive part of their championship run. Their Game 5 loss in the finals was the only road defeat in the postseason, the Kings were a stunning 10-1 away from Staples Center.
There are several different reasons for the Kings’ success on the road.
Most obvious is the play of goaltender Jonathan Quick. Quick, who was voted the Most Valuable Player, was 16-4 in the playoffs with a 1.41 Goals Against Average and recorded three shutouts. Another reason for their road success was their phenomenal penalty kill. The Kings finished the playoffs with the second-best penalty-killing percentage in the playoffs, and also scored five short-handed goals.
Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter led the Kings with eight goals during their playoff run.
Darryl Sutter was the head coach for the Kings. Sutter led the Kings to another Stanley Cup in 2014. On April 10, 2017, the Kings relieved Sutter of his coaching duties after the team missed the playoffs for the second season in three years.