EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings had just steamrolled through the top three seeds in the Western Conference and claimed the first three games of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.
It was a surge unlike anything in League history -- a No. 8 seed, a team that barely got into the Stanley Cup Playoffs went 15-2 to move within one win of a championship. The Kings had a chance to win the Cup in a series sweep, on home ice and on the 45th anniversary of the organization adding its first players in the 1967 expansion draft, no less.
All the Kings had to do was finish off the New Jersey Devils in Game 4 at Staples Center, but a few of the players said Sunday the mental fortitude that kept this club so focused despite leading the first three series of the postseason 3-0 slipped just a bit before the first potential Cup-clincher on home ice Wednesday night.
"We don't want any distractions. I think a lot of us before Game 4 were distracted with family members and friends, the Cup coming in the building," defenseman Drew Doughty said at the Toyota Sports Center. "A lot of things we have to put aside. Family always comes first for everyone, but at this point of the year, the team has to come first. We're a family in the room, on the ice. Right now, we're No. 1 in everyone's mind."