The 2012 Stanley Cup Final, commonly known as the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, was the championship series of the National Hockey League (NHL) 2011–12 season, and the culmination of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. This was the 119th year of the Stanley Cup's presentation. The Western Conference playoff champion Los Angeles Kings defeated the Eastern Conference playoff champion New Jersey Devils four games to two, capturing the first Stanley Cup title in the team's 45-year history, dealing the Devils just their second Stanley Cup Finals defeat in five tries and first since 2001. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the playoffs.
The 2012 Final ended a long Stanley Cup Final appearance drought for the Los Angeles Kings, who had appeared in the Finals only once in franchise history, in 1993, when the Wayne Gretzky–led Kings lost to the Montreal Canadiens in five games. The New Jersey Devils last appeared in 2003 when winning the championship. It was the first championship series since 2007 whose Stanley Cup-clinching game was played on the winning team's home ice.
The Eastern Conference winner had home ice advantage for the first time since 2006, since the Devils had a better regular season record than the Kings. The Devils were the lowest-seeded team to have home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Finals, a record previously held by the Devils when they won the Cup as a fourth seed in 2000. With the Devils entering the playoffs as the ninth seed of the 16 playoff teams by regular season record (no division titles) and the Kings as the 13th, their combined seed of 22 was the second highest of any playoff matchup (only trailing the 1991 Cup Finals with 23), and it was the first playoff matchup with no team seeded better than 9th. The Kings became the first, as well as the last eighth-seeded team to win the Stanley Cup since the conference-based seedings were introduced in 1994.
The Los Angeles Kings historically have not fared well in the postseason, having only progressed beyond second round of the playoffs once in franchise history. There were some highlights in franchise history, such as a dramatic seven-game series loss to the heavily favored Boston Bruins in 1976, the upset of the top seeded Edmonton Oilers (including the game three Miracle on Manchester) in 1982, and a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Oilers in 1989. The first time that they advanced to the Conference Finals was in 1993, where the Wayne Gretzky–led Kings defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs to reach their first Cup Finals in franchise history, where they lost to the Montreal Canadiens. From 1994 to 2011 the Kings won just one playoff series, during the 2001 postseason when they upset the Detroit Red Wings in six games (featuring the game four "Stunner at Staples") and coming back from a 3-1 deficit to push the eventual Cup champions Colorado Avalanche to seven games.
The Kings started the regular season at 13–12–4 before firing head coach Terry Murray on December 12, 2011. John Stevens served as interim coach before the team hired Darryl Sutter on December 20. Under Sutter, the Kings finished the season at 95 points. The Kings lost their final two regular season games to fall from first place in the Pacific Division (and the #3 seed in the West) to third place in the division and eighth in the conference. Kings won only 40 out 82 games, and with 95 points became first losing record team to finish the season with more than 90 points.
The Kings then went on to become the second team to eliminate the first, second and thirds seeds from the playoffs in the same postseason (and the first team to do so in that order), after the 2003–04 Calgary Flames, also coached by Darryl Sutter, eliminating the Vancouver Canucks in five games, the St. Louis Blues in four games, and the Phoenix Coyotes in five games. In addition, the Kings went a perfect 8–0 on the road in these playoff games and the first team to go undefeated while en route to the Final.
The Kings are the second eighth seed to reach the Final, following the Edmonton Oilers in 2006. (The Oilers lost out to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games.) Kings players Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene were part of that Oilers team in 2006, while teammate Justin Williams played for the Cup-winning Hurricanes.
The Devils started the season having missed the playoffs in the 2010-2011 season for the first time since 1995-1996 season, breaking a 13 consecutive post-season appearance streak. This was the Devils' first season under head coach Peter DeBoer, who replaced the retiring Jacques Lemaire during the offseason. Under DeBoer, New Jersey finished the regular season with 102 points, but ended up with the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Devils eliminated DeBoer's former team, the Southeast division-winning Florida Panthers, in seven games, and two of their division rivals, first the fifth-seeded Philadelphia Flyers in five games, and the first-seeded New York Rangers in six games.Number in parenthesis represents the player's total in goals or assists to that point of the entire four rounds of the playoffs
Los Angeles scored first on Colin Fraser's goal at 09:56 of the first period. The Kings then held the Devils without a shot on goal for the first 14 minutes of the second period, but could not increase their lead. The Devils tied the game at 18:48 of the second period when Anton Volchenkov's shot bounced off of Kings defenseman Slava Voynov and into the Los Angeles net. At 3:58 of the third period, a Devils goal was waved off when Zach Parise illegally pushed the puck with his hand over the Kings goal line. Anze Kopitar beat Martin Brodeur on a breakaway goal 8:13 into overtime to give the Kings a 2–1 win in game one. The Kings' Jonathan Quick made 17 out of 18 saves, while Brodeur made 23 out of 25.
With the win, the Kings became the first team to win their first nine road games in a single postseason.
The Kings extended their 2012 playoff road winning streak to ten with another 2–1 overtime victory. This time, it was Jeff Carter who scored at 13:42 of the extra period. After Carter's initial shot from the right side was stopped, he then went around the net to grab the puck on the other side and then made a shot through traffic that beat Martin Brodeur. Los Angeles scored first on Drew Doughty's unassisted goal at 7:49 of the first period. The Devils tied the game at 2:59 of the third period when Ryan Carter deflected Marek Zidlicky's shot into the Kings' net. Neither team could take advantage of their power plays, nor on a 4-on-4 late in the third period. Both teams had more shots than game one; Jonathan Quick made 32 out of 33 saves, while Brodeur made 30 out of 32.
Los Angeles scored four goals, and Jonathan Quick stopped all 22 New Jersey shots, as the Kings defeated the Devils 4–0. The Kings' first goal at 5:58 of the second period was controversial. Dwight King's original shot against Martin Brodeur was stopped, but King kept on swiping the puck until Alec Martinez finally pushed it across the goal line. Brodeur argued that he had the puck covered up just before Martinez's shot, but the officials did not blow the play dead and the goal stood. The Kings' scored their second goal at 15:07 of the third period when Justin Williams sent a pass near the boards to Dustin Brown, who then passed to Anze Kopitar on the other side, who then lifted the puck over Brodeur. In the third period, two New Jersey penalties led to two Los Angeles power play goals. Meanwhile, New Jersey could not score off of Los Angeles' five penalties during the game, including Jeff Carter's high-sticking double-minor in the first period that led to a Devils 5 on 3 for about a minute.
This contest also saw the return of Kings' left winger Simon Gagne, who had been out of the Los Angeles lineup since December 26, 2011, due to a head injury. Gagne, who played in the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in three years, took Brad Richardson's spot in the lineup. In 2010, Gagne, along with current Kings teammates Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, were members of the Philadelphia Flyers that lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.
With the win, the Kings became the first team in NHL history to take a 3–0 series lead in each of the four rounds of the playoffs.
New Jersey avoided being swept for the first time in team history when Adam Henrique scored at 15:29 of the third period to break a 1–1 tie, and Ilya Kovalchuk added an empty-netter with 19.1 seconds left, defeating the Kings 3–1, and forcing a fifth game. This marked the third time in this playoffs that the Kings failed to close out a series in game four after winning the first three games. The game remained scoreless until 7:56 of the third period when Patrik Elias shot a rebound into the Los Angeles net, giving New Jersey their first lead of the series. This lead was cut short a minute later, as David Clarkson was called for boarding at 8:52, and four seconds later Drew Doughty tied the game with a power play goal for the Kings. With the loss, the Kings failed to match the record set by the Edmonton Oilers, who was the last team to lose only two games in their 1988 championship run with at least 16 required games played in a four-round format.
The Devils gave the Kings their only playoff road loss with a 2-1 victory, ending their 10-game road-winning streak, and became the first club since the Detroit Red Wings in 1945 to come back from a 3-0 deficit in the Cup Finals to force a game six. New Jersey scored first at 12:45 of the first period, their first power play goal of the series, after Jonathan Quick misplayed the puck and Zach Parise found an open net on the other side before the Los Angeles goalie could recover. The Kings tied the game at 3:26 of the second when Justin Williams took a pass from Matt Greene, skated into the New Jersey zone and beat Martin Brodeur. But the Devils took the lead for good at 9:05 of the second when Bryce Salvador's shot deflected off of Kings defenseman Slava Voynov into the Los Angeles net. Jarret Stoll's goal at 11:16 of the second period, which would have tied the game, was waved off because he shot it with a high-stick. The Devils later held on for the final minute of the game on a 4-on-4 and the Kings pulling their goalie for the extra attacker on what became essentially a 5-on-4 advantage.
The Kings defeated the Devils 6–1 to capture the series and win their first Stanley Cup in team history. This was the most lopsided Cup-clinching game since 1991, when the Pittsburgh Penguins won game six by beating the Minnesota North Stars 8–0. At 10:10 of the first period, New Jersey's Steve Bernier was assessed a major boarding penalty and a game misconduct on a hit to Los Angeles' Rob Scuderi. The Kings then put the game out of reach by scoring three goals on the ensuing five-minute power play (when a major penalty is assessed, the full five-minute penalty must be served)—the first by Dustin Brown, the second by Jeff Carter, and the third by Trevor Lewis.
Carter then beat Martin Brodeur to score his second goal of the game at 1:50 of the second period after Anton Volchenkov collided with a linesman while trying to defend Brown, who was carrying the puck into the New Jersey Zone. Unimpeded after Volchenkov was screened from the play, Brown easily got the pass off to Carter. Adam Henrique got the Devils' lone goal at 18:45 of the second period after getting the rebound off of a shot by Petr Sykora. Lewis added an empty net goal at 16:15 of the third period after Brodeur was pulled for an extra attacker. With Brodeur back in the net, Matt Greene scored the Kings' sixth goal of the game 15 seconds later.
Regarding Bernier's game-changing penalty, Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger wrote that it was "the most devastating call in the Stanley Cup finals since the illegal curve on Marty McSorley's stick in 1993". Several Devils fans and other observers believed that there was inconsistency with the officials' calls, and that they missed a couple of calls on the Kings at the time of that hit, such as one Jarret Stoll made on the Devils' Stephen Gionta. But James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail gave credit to the referees for making the hard call, stating that "Scuderi had his back to Bernier much of the play ... It's also the type of play the league showcased at the GM meetings as one where more and more players had been 'letting up' rather than plowing a vulnerable opponent from behind. The NHL, in other words, wants these hits out of the game." With the win, the Kings became only the second California-based NHL team to win the Stanley Cup, following the Anaheim Ducks, who beat Ottawa in 2007, the 12th expansion team to win it, and the second to last of the surviving 1967 expansion teams to do so (as of 2017, the only surviving franchise from the 1967 expansion not to win the Cup are the St. Louis Blues).
Years indicated in boldface under the "Finals appearance" column signify that the player won the Stanley Cup in the given year.
The following officials were chosen for the Stanley Cup Finals:Referees: Dan O'Halloran, Dan O'Rourke, Chris Rooney, Brad Watson
Linesmen: Derek Amell, Jean Morin, Pierre Racicot, Jonny Murray
In Canada, the series was televised in English on CBC and in French on the cable network RDS. In the United States, NBC broadcast the first two and the final two games, while the NBC Sports Network televised games three and four.
The 2012 Final rated poorly in comparison to the four most recent Stanley Cup Finals on United States television. The first four games were marred by low ratings; had the series ended in four games, this series would have produced the lowest television ratings ever for a championship series of any major league sport. However, Game 5 and Game 6 produced somewhat higher ratings than the first four games, which gave the 2012 Final a slightly higher rating than the 2007 Final (which was on par with the 2006 Final); the 2007 Final therefore remains the lowest-rated championship series in American television history.
The 2012 Stanley Cup was presented to Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, following the Kings 6-1 win over the New Jersey Devils in the sixth game of the finals.1 Played both Center and Wing
Coaching and Administrative Staff:
Philip Anschutz (Owner/Alt. Governor), Nancy Anchutz (Minority Owner), Tim Leiweke (Governor), Edward P. Roski Jr.* (Co-Owner)
Daniel Beckerman (Chief financial officer), Ted Fikre (Chief Legal & Development Officer), Dean Lombardi (President/General Manager/Alt. Governor), Luc Robitaille (President of Business Operations/Atl. Governor)
Ron Hextall (Vice President/Assistant General Manager), Jeff Soloman (Vice President of Hockey Operations & Legal Affairs), Darryl Sutter (Head Coach), John Stevens (Assistant Coach)
Jamie Kompon (Assistant Coach), Bill Ranford (Goaltending Coach), Chris McGowan (Chief Operating Officer), Michael Altieri (Vice President Communications & Broadcasting)
Jack Ferreira (Special Assistant General Manager), Mike O'Connell (Pro Development & Special Assignment Executive), Nelson Emerson (Player Development Executive), Rob Laird (Senior Pro Scout)
Michael Futa (Co-Amateur Scouting Director), Mark Yannetti (Co-Amateur Scouting Director), Lee Callans (Scouting Coordinator)
Marshall Dickerson (Director of Team Operations), Ray Colville (Video Coordinator), Darren Granger (Head Equipment Manager)
Chris Kingsley (Medical Trainer), Dana C. Bryson (Assistant Equipment Manager), Myles Hirayama (Assistant Athletic Trainer)
Edward P. Roski* (Co-Owner) It was written that he did not make the list sent to the engraver. However, when the Cup came back from the engraver, his name was on it. The engraver included 53 names—one more than the normal limit.
Kevin Westgarth† played in 25 regular season games (injured in February Wist missed rest of the season) and Davis Drewiske† played in 9 regular season (healthy reserve). The NHL agreed to the team's request that both names go on the Stanley Cup. They were with the team all year.
Terry Murray was the head coach of the Kings for the first 29 games of the 2011–12 season, and then remained with the team as scout for the rest of the season. The Kings organization requested permission to include his name on the Cup, but the NHL denied the request due to 52-name limit. Murray was not included on the team picture but was given a Stanley Cup ring.
Included on team picture, but Left off the Stanley Cup#48 Andrei Loktionov, C, played 39 regular season games and 2 playoff games, and 32 in minors. Since, Loktionov spent half season in the minors and did not play in 41 regular season games or the finals his name was left off the Stanley Cup. His name was not request to be included on the Stanley Cup.
#21 Scott Parse, RW, played only 5 regular season games in 2009–10 and 9 regular season games in 2010–11, and missed most of the last 2 seasons due to injuries. Name was also not requested for an engravement on the Stanley Cup because he spent most of 2 season injured.
#31 Martin Jones, G; #67 Marc-Andre Cliche, C; and #6 Jake Muzzin, D; were recalled during the playoffs, but did not play in any games that season.
Denver Wilson (Assistant Equipment Manager), Chris Pikosky (Massage Therapist), and Bernie Nicholls (Coaching Consultant).
Anže Kopitar was the first Yugoslavia (now Slovenian) born-trained player to win the Stanley Cup.
The Kings also gave Stanley Cup rings to retired players Rogie Vachon and Marcel Dionne.