By Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Los Angeles Kings are going to the Stanley Cup Final for just the second time in their history -- and the first time since 1993.
Who they will play remains to be seen. The top-seeded New York Rangers and the sixth-seeded New Jersey Devils are locked in a 2-2 series tie, and a winner will not be determined until at least Game 6, which is Friday in New Jersey. Game 7, if necessary, is Sunday in Manhattan.
The Stanley Cup Final, meanwhile, starts next Wednesday at the home of the Eastern Conference representative, meaning the Kings have eight days off after their dramatic 4-3 win against Phoenix in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final on Tuesday night.
After the incredible journey the Kings have made -- taking down the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in order, and doing so in only two games more than the minimum -- a slight delay in their date with destiny can certainly be navigated.
"It's huge," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "We've been there once in 20 years and twice in 45 years. There hasn't been much success for this organization, but, again, we have the opportunity to play for the [Stanley Cup]. There's a lot of work to be done and we don't want to follow suit with that '93 team."
In 1993, the Kings lost a five-game series to the Montreal Canadiens. Since then, the Kings have known far more frustration than happiness.
But, that has all changed this spring as a team that just squeaked into the postseason on the schedule's penultimate day is now four wins away from its first championship.
"I'm so happy right now," said defenseman Drew Doughty. "It means everything. You grow up your whole life wanting to be in that Stanley Cup Final and to make it there -- how very hard it is. You hear older guys who have played for a long time, guys like [Willie] Mitchell who's played 13 years in the League and he hasn't been there yet. To get there for him and the older guys is great."
Now, the Kings return home and wait for their opponent, watching as the Eastern Conference rivals duke it out for at least another three days.
"It's a great accomplishment," goalie Jonathan Quick said. "But, there is still work to be done. That was a great team effort to get where we are now. I couldn't be happier for this group of guys. Everybody has worked so hard for the past eight months.
"At the same time, we have four more games that we want to win. So, we are looking forward to see who we are going to play next week and we are going to continue to work."