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STAPLES Center Turns 10

by Thomas LaRocca / Los Angeles Kings
10 years ago this month, the Kings played their first game ever at STAPLES Center.

Hard to believe that STAPLES Center is turning 10 years old. takes a look back at some of the memorable moments the Kings have had in the arena as well as some of the Kings leaders since the building opened. Some 6,453,865 (including playoffs) fans have come through STAPLES Center's turnstiles and have seen the Kings post 181 wins (six playoff wins) and score 1,095 goals (20 playoff goals). Remarkably, Kings fans have supported the team through ups and downs to the tune of 174 sellouts.

Here is a look back at some of the memorable moments

October 20, 1999 -- The Kings opened STAPLES Center before 18,118, including NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, playing the Boston Bruins to a 2-2 tie. It was the Kings home opener as they started the season with seven road games while waiting for the STAPLES Center to be completed. Boston's Anson Carter scored the first goal in the new building while the first King to score was Rob Blake (Kings all-time scoring). Jozef Stumpel had the tying goal, while Ziggy Palffy tallied two assists. The goalies were Stephane Fiset for Los Angeles and Rob Tallas for Boston. (Photos)

April 18, 2001 -- The Kings capped a comeback from a three-goal deficit with three goals in the final 6:02 of the game and then rookie Eric Belanger's OT ( 700K) goal at 2:36 won it as Los Angeles beat the visiting Detroit Red Wings 4-3, in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. "I don't know why, but I believed we had a chance to come back all the time,'' Luc Robitaille said. "I knew if we kept working, we'd get our breaks."The Kings scored three unanswered goals (John Thomas, Jozef Stumpel and Bryan Smolinski ) in 5:14 to tie the game, with Smolinski tying the score with 53 seconds left in regulation to finish a game that has been remembered in Kings lore as the "Frenzy on Figueroa."    

April 23, 2001 -- Adam Deadmarsh (Kings all-time scoring) scored two goals against the Detroit Red Wings, tying the game at two at 10:17 of the third period and winning the game in overtime at 4:48 ( 700K) to clinch the First Round series against the Red Wings. It marked just the second time in club history the Kings won a series on an overtime goal (April 14, 1990 - Mike Krushelnyski vs. Calgary - 700K). The Kings trailed in the series 2-0 to the heavily favored Red Wings - being outscored 9-3 in the first two games - before rallying to win four straight. Game 4, forever known in Kings history as the "Frenzy on Figueroa," saw the Kings rally from a three-goal deficit with three goals in the final 6:02 to win on Eric Belanger's overtime goal on April 18.

February 2, 2002 -- The Kings and STAPLES Center host the 52nd NHL All-Star game ( Watch | Photos) with the World Stars rallying to beat the North Americans 8-5. Eric Daze of Chicago, who had two goals and an assist, is the MVP. Kings forward Ziggy Palffy and defenseman Jaroslav Modry represented the Kings in the annual classic. Mario Lemieux scored his 13th career goal which tied Wayne Gretzky for the most goals scored in NHL All-Star competition. Check out the Kings All-Star Game history. In addition, Team Melrose overcame an early, 3-1 deficit by scoring seven-straight goals and eventually defeated Team Fox by a score of 13-7 in the inaugural YoungStars Game. Ilya Kovalchuk had seven goals for Team Melrose and Roberto Luongo made 37 saves. (Photos). The Kings also hosted the 2002 All-Star Celebrity Challenge (Photos) during that weekend, with stars such as Tim Robbins, Cuba Gooding Jr., wrestler Chris Jericho and much more participating, raising funds to benefit Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

October 9, 2002 -- The Kings retired "The Great One" Wayne Gretzky's No. 99 to the rafters (Kings all-time retired numbers) before the Kings season opener when they beat the Coyotes, 4-1. 'There will never be another Wayne Gretzky," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said after the game. "You can't say enough about his impact." Eric Belanger, Ziggy Palffy, Mathieu Schneider and Ian Laperriere all scored for the Kings, while Felix Potvin stopped 25 Phoenix shots for the win. Gretzky, the NHL's all-time leading scorer and the Kings' fourth all-time leading scorer is currently the head coach of the Coyotes head coach, but at the time was a managing partner in the team (Photo Gallery). 

December 27, 2003 -- The Kings hosted a standing room only crowd of 18,743 for a game against San Jose. The contest also marked the largest crowd to ever view a hockey game in the state of California. Sean Avery scored the tying goal, Jozef Stumpel had a goal and an assist, Ziggy Palffy got his 19th career short-handed goal and Eric Belanger also scored for the Kings in a 4-4 tie with the San Jose Sharks. The tie extended the Kings home unbeaten streak to seven games (4-0-3), which was snapped three days later in a 3-2 OT loss to the New York Rangers.

January 19, 2006 --  Luc Robitaille (Kings all-time scoring) records a hat trick scoring the game winner and becomes the Kings All-Time leading goal scorer passing Marcel Dionne's total of 550 in a wild 8-6 win over the Thrashers. Robitaille tied the mark with a first-period goal and set the record in the third period. "It's certainly something I'll cherish forever," Robitaille said. "It was an amazing night. Nights like this are always fun when you win on top of it. I wanted it to happen earlier, but it was special to do it at home. I have so many great memories here." For good measure he added an empty net goal to complete his historic night. Robitaille finished his Kings career with 557 goals. 

January 20, 2007 -- Luc Robitaille (Kings all-time scoring) became the fifth King to have his number retired as his No. 20 was raised to the rafters (photos) at STAPLES Center in a pre-game ceremony prior to the Kings losing to Phoenix, 3-2. "I didn’t start for this," Robitaille said during the ceremony. "It wasn’t about money. I just wanted to play hockey. I wanted to play in the NHL." "I wasn’t the fastest player and I had flaws, but I was a student of the game and every day I was grateful to live my dream. I heard your chants. Every time I touched the puck or took a shot I heard you. I will take this to the day I die." 

April 4, 2009 -- In a special pre-game ceremony, the five Kings players who have had their numbers retired - Rogie Vachon, Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor, Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille ( video)- were together on the ice for the first time ever as the team paid tribute to Lou McClary, the team's director of security in a pre-game ceremony. The 82-year-old McClary, a former Los Angeles police detective, is retiring at the end of the season. He has been with the Kings for 42 years, since the team's inception in 1967. As for the game, the Kings defeated the Phoenix Coyotes, 6-1 ( video). Brian Boyle tallied two goals - including the game winner - Alexander Frolov also scored twice and Justin Williams scored his first goal as a King and added two assists in the rout. Anze Kopitar also scored for Los Angeles, while Shane Doan tallied the lone goal for the Coyotes. Jonathan Quick made 29 saves in the win.

Oct. 13, 2000 - Ian LaPerriere (Kings all-time scoring) registers his first career hat trick and the first ever hat trick at STAPLES Center in a 5-0 victory over Boston. Kings goalie Steve Passmore, making his Los Angeles debut, recorded his second career shutout. Kings forward Ziggy Palffy scored in his 400th NHL game, while Eric Belanger added a tally of his own on the power play. Steve Reinprecht and Jaroslav Modry each recorded two assists in contribution to the win.

And of course, the Kings leaders at STAPLES Center.

Games Played
Norstrom 270 Frolov 81 Visnovsky 119
Visnovsky 251 Palffy 80 Palffy 106
Frolov 229 Robitaille 67 Frolov 89
Modry 203 Cammalleri 48 Modry 74
Laperriere 190 Smolinski 48 Robitaille 73
Armstrong 188 Kopitar 46 Kopitar 73
Brown 182 Brown 42 Armstrong 69
Belanger 161 Visnovsky 39 Smolinski 68
Palffy 160 Belanger 34 Brown 60
Miller 158 Armstrong 30 Stumpel 59
Penalty Minutes
Palffy 186 Laperriere 360 Potvin 39
Frolov 170 Avery 341 Storr 31
Visnovsky 158 Blake 224 Garon 27
Robitaille 140 Ivanans 198 LaBarbera 19
Kopitar 122 Norstrom 165 Quick 11
Smolinski 116   Fiset 10
Brown 102 Ersberg 10
Armstrong 99 Cechmanek 9
Cammalleri 96 Huet 7
Modry 91 Cloutier 5
Reg. Season
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