Just when it appeared that Game 5 of the series would go to a third overtime, Alec Martinez fired in the game-winning goal to give the Los Angeles Kings their second Stanley Cup championship in three seasons with a 3-2 victory.
Marian Gaborik scored the game-tying goal in the third period, and Justin Williams scored in the first period for the Kings.
As the first period got underway, the Kings came out of the gate and dominated the proceedings, picking up the first six shots on goal in the contest. After a solid possession, they got a power play less than two minutes into the game when Rick Nash was whistled for hooking Jake Muzzin, but in spite of a great shot from Drew Doughty that Henrik Lundqvist made a pad save on, the Kings couldn’t jump out to an early lead.
They continued to press the issue even after that play however, and eventually they were able to put the puck in the net. After Justin Williams made a nice play to keep the puck in the zone, Willie Mitchell blasted a shot in on goal. Lundqvist was able to make the initial save, but both Jarret Stoll and Jeff Carter kept hammering away at the loose puck. Neither scored, but Williams snuck in behind the play and slid the puck into the net to give Los Angeles a 1-0 advantage.
After the Kings’ goal, the Rangers seemed to settle down, and they finally got their first shot on goal of the contest about eight minutes in. They got a power play out of that possession, but their best chances were wasted as Brad Richards fired one shot high and another wide as the power play passed uneventfully.
The Kings ultimately ended up outshooting the Rangers 7-6 in the period, but both teams were caught being undisciplined in the closing stages of the frame. First Benoit Pouliot drilled Jonathan Quick in front of the Kings’ crease to head to the box, and then Drew Doughty negated the remainder of the Los Angeles power play when he was whistled for cross-checking. That penalty gave the Rangers a brief power play to begin the second period.
When the second period got underway, both teams traded some quality scoring chances, but neither could convert. Kyle Clifford's deflection of a Doughty shot was denied, and Dustin Brown blasted a shot from the slot but Lundqvist was there to take care of it. At the other end, Brad Richards had a deflection skip just wide of the cage, and Quick made a save on a wraparound attempt off the rebound. Finally, Jarret Stoll and Dwight King both had great chances in front of the net, but both were stopped.
Later in the frame, the Rangers got a power play thanks to a King penalty, and this time they were able to convert to tie the game. After some quick puck movement around the zone, Ryan McDonagh dropped into the slot from the point and received a pass. He hesitated for a moment for Chris Kreider to get open, and when the forward got inside position, McDonagh's pass didn't miss the mark, and Kreider flipped home a one-timer to tie things up at 1-1.
The Kings themselves got a power play with less than three minutes to go in the period, but Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik both were denied scoring chances. With just five seconds to go on that power play though, it was the Rangers that flew down the ice and took the lead. Carl Hagelin won a puck battle in the neutral zone with Slava Voynov, and when Brian Boyle got the puck, he worked his way around Doughty and fired a top-shelf goal past Quick to give New York a 2-1 lead through two periods.
The third period got off to a bit of a sluggish start, but eventually the Kings' offense kicked into high gear. Kopitar had a golden chance from in close during a netfront scramble, but he opted for a pass instead of the shot and the opportunity fell by the wayside. Then Jake Muzzin ripped a shot from the face-off dot that Lundqvist stopped, but Carter still got a rebound chance that he barely whiffed on to keep New York in front.
With about 12 minutes left, the Kings got a power play, and they capitalized in short order. Doughty wired in a shot from the point, and Marian Gaborik deflected it in on Lundqvist. Eventually it trickled into the goal, and the Staples Center erupted as the Kings tied things up at 2-2.
The chances kept coming from the Kings in the ensuing minutes, but Lundqvist stood strong. Kopitar had a wrap-around chance denied, as did Mike Richards, and Carter also collected a shot from the slot. All the shots ended up being fought off by the Swedish goaltender, and he was loudly chastising his teammates for their lackluster play following the sequence.
In the closing seconds, the Kings continued to pound away at the net, but they couldn't convert despite several close calls. The closest came with just a few seconds remaining as Muzzin's shot flew past the near post and slammed into the boards. The buzzer sounded shortly thereafter, and the teams went to overtime for the third time in this series.
In the first two minutes of overtime, the Kings had several chances to win the game. Alec Martinez's shot from the point was deflected by Williams, but Lundqvist made the save. Tanner Pearson also checked in with a shot, as did Gaborik, but neither could convert as the game continued.
The Rangers finally started pushing back after the initial rush by the Kings, and on a power play thanks to a Voynov penalty, they very nearly won the game. Ryan McDonagh wired in a shot from the slot that beat Quick, but it bounced off the inside of the post and skipped away from the net. A few minutes later, the Kings had a chance of their own that drew iron, as Tyler Toffoli's shot rang off the crossbar and drew groans from the nervous crowd.
Both sides continued to rack up chances, with the Rangers getting some great ones with about a minute left. Mats Zuccarello had the best one off a won face-off, getting to a loose puck in front, but Quick was there to make the save. Kreider also had a chance with about 20 seconds remaining when he got in alone on a breakaway, but Quick made the arm save to force a second overtime period.
In the second overtime period, both teams had an opportunity to score goals, but they continued to be stymied by posts. Finally though, it was Martinez who ended up being the hero. When Toffoli's shot was kicked aside by Lundqvist, Martinez picked up the rebound and fired it into the net to give the Kings the win. Martinez was immediately mobbed by his teammates along the side of the net, and streamers floated down into the crowd and onto the ice as the Kings celebrated.