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Top 10 LA Kings Milestone Moments from the 2010s

A list of some of the key moments and milestones from the 2010s that contributed to the championships or defined the franchise

by Mike Commito @mikecommito /

When your team wins two Stanley Cups in the past decade, you get spotted a couple easy entries on a top 10 list.

With those two out of the way, here's a list of some of the key moments and milestones that happened to the Kings in the 2010s. Many of these led to or directly contributed to the championships that have defined the franchise. 

Kings Acquire Mike Richards
June 23, 2011

A week before free agency opened in 2011, the Kings made headlines when they acquired for Mike Richards and Rob Bordson from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Wayne Simmonds, highly-touted prospect Bradyen Schenn, and a second-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Richards, who was the Flyers' captain, was instrumental in getting the club within two wins of the Stanley Cup in 2010, racking up 23 points in 23 games along the way. He was exactly what the team was looking for. A skilled center who could contribute on both sides of the puck.

Although Richards had an inauspicious start with the Kings, going 25 games without a goal from January to March, he elevated his game during the playoffs. In the team's first game against the Canucks, Richards scored a goal and added two assists.

He continued to set the tone for the Kings in subsequent series, and even managed to record a Gordie Howe hat trick against the Blues in the Western Conference semifinals. Richards finished the campaign with 15 points in 20 games and lifted the Stanley Cup.

Two years later, playing in a reduced role with the team, he won again. Although the Kings gave up two significant assets for Richards, he was an integral part of the club's first championship in 2012. 

Video: Mike Richards Returns to Staples Center

Kings Acquire Jeff Carter
February 23, 2012

Just four days before the NHL's 2012 trade deadline, the Kings pulled the trigger on a deal for more firepower.

LA traded blueliner Jack Johnson and a first-round pick in either 2012 or 2013 to the Blue Jackets for former 46-goal scorer Jeff Carter. The move not only reunited Carter with friend, and former teammate, Mike Richards, it would help shore up the Kings offense during a critical part of the season in which the team was sputtering.

In his first 16 games with the Kings, Carter scored six goals. He followed that up with eight more in the playoffs, including four in the Final against New Jersey. In the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Carter scored 26 goals in 48 games, putting him on pace for 44 goals in an 82-game campaign.

The next year, Carter potted 27 goals during the regular season and clicked with Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, forming the venerable "That '70s Line." The Hollywood trio did so well on the ice that they even made a cameo into the credits in an episode of The Simpsons.

With Toffoli and Pearson on his wings, Carter notched 10 goals and 25 points that post-season, winning the Stanley Cup for a second time. In the years that have followed, Carter has remained an important part of the club and recently celebrated his 1000th career NHL game, his 500th in an LA Kings sweater. Fittingly, Carter scored the game-winning goal that night against Vegas. 

Watch: Youtube Video

Kings Win First Stanley Cup
June 2012

As the clock ticked down at STAPLES Center, the Kings' faithful fans began their raucous countdown. Three. Two. One. For the first time in the club's history, the Kings were hockey's kings. LA had just vanquished the Devils 6-1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

As gloves, helmets, and sticks littered the ice, the team mobbed goaltender Jonathan Quick. The goaltender had just capped off an incredible playoff run with a sterling .946 save percentage, and before he would receive the Cup, he'd get the Conn Smythe as unquestionably the most valuable player that post-season.

As captain Dustin Brown boisterously raised the Stanley Cup above his head, all those years of missed opportunities had finally been erased. Although the Kings had come as close as they ever had in 1993 against the Canadiens, they were now finally champions.

As the celebrations went from the ice to the dressing room, the club was joined by former trainer Pete Demers, who was with the Kings nearly twenty years earlier. Somehow, after all those years, Demers had managed to hang onto an unopened bottle of Budweiser from the defeat in Montreal. While the beer may have soured, Demers couldn't have found a better mug to drink it from.

Watch: Youtube Video

Kings Acquire Marian Gaborik
March 5, 2014

By the time the NHL trade deadline rolled around in 2014, there were only three teams that had scored fewer goals than the Kings. As a result, it was no surprise that one of the items on the team's shopping list was a goal-scorer. Marian Gaborik, a three-time 40-goal scorer, seemed to be the perfect fit.

After the Kings pried Jeff Carter out of Columbus two years earlier, they acquired the Slovakian sniper from the Blue Jackets in exchange for Matt Frattin and conditional draft picks. After missing 22 games that season due to a broken collar bone, Gaborik was eager to get a fresh start in LA and prove he still had his scoring touch.

While some had doubts about how Gaborik's style of play would fit within the Kings' more defensive-minded system, he quickly put those concerns to rest in the post-season. In the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Gaborik scored 14 goals, the most that year, and helped the Kings secure its second championship in three years.

Following the Stanley Cup victory, Gaborik played the better part of four more seasons with the Kings before he was traded to the Ottawa Senators. 

Video: COL@LAK: Gaborik honored for playing in 1,000th game

Kings Come Back From 0-3 Deficit to Defeat the Sharks
April 30, 2014

Mike Richards and Jeff Carter had been there before. In 2010, as members of the Philadelphia Flyers, the pair had been a part of an incredible comeback against the Bruins after getting off to an 0-3 series deficit in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

At that point, only two teams in NHL history, the Maple Leafs and Islanders, had rallied back to win a best-of-seven series after dropping the first three games. But the Flyers did the impossible and made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

Four years later, Richards and Carter once again found themselves, and their team, on the brink. After losing the first three games of their opening round series to the Sharks, it seemed as though the Kings' chance at another Stanley Cup were dashed.

But in the pivotal fourth game, Marian Gaborik scored early into the first period. Buoyed by two goals by Justin Williams in the second frame, the Kings went on to win 6-3 and stave off elimination. In Game 5, Jonathan Quick stopped all 21 shots he faced to put LA back in the series.

The rest, of course, is history. Not only did Richards and Carter become the first pair of teammates in NHL history to be a part of two teams that won the final four games of a series, but they both went on to earn their second ring with the Kings. 

Video: Kings come back to beat Sharks after going down 3-0

Western Conference Final Series Against the Blackhawks
June 2014

After the Kings took a 3-1 series lead against the Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, it seemed as though the club had finally found a shortcut. In the two previous series, the Kings had gone the distance against the Sharks and the Ducks, but the defending Stanley Cup champions were not about to go down that easy.

In Game 5, which has already entered hockey lore as one of the greatest playoff games in NHL history, the two clubs duelled through a double overtime epic. In the first extra frame, there was nearly eight minutes of continuous play without stoppage. It was not for the faint of heart.

The two teams went end to end, back and forth, exchanging dangerous scoring chance after dangerous scoring chance. Following the game, Justin Williams said the Kings weren't even sitting on the bench, there were so on edge, and Blackhawks coach John Quenneville referred to it as quite possibly the greatest overtime he had ever seen.

By the time Michal Handzus won it for the Blackhawks just over two minutes into double overtime, Drew Doughty had already played 39 minutes. After dropping the next game at home, the Kings went back to the United Center for a fateful Game 7.

Late in the third period, Marian Gaborik scored his 12th of the post-season to tie it 4-4 and send the game to overtime. Not long into the extra frame, Alec Martinez's shot went off defenseman Nick Leddy and over Corey Crawford. The Kings were off to the Stanley Cup Final once again. 

Video: The Kings and Blackhawks meet again in the WCF

Kings Win Second Stanley Cup
June 2014

Five years later, they're still trying to fish Alec Martinez's gloves out of the rafters at STAPLES Center. Early into overtime in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Rangers, Martinez entered the New York zone with Kyle Clifford and Tyler Toffoli.

After Toffoli's shot rebounded off of Henrik Lundqvist's pad, Martinez, who was on the far side, made no mistake and fired the puck into the empty net. As Lundqvist toppled over in defeat, Martinez had already begun celebrating, and flung his gloves high into the air above the ice.

The Kings were Stanley Cup champions for the second time in three years. The parade would proceed down its usual route on Figueroa. But it nearly didn't happen. After falling 0-3 to the Sharks in the opening round, going to Game 7 against the Ducks, allowing the defending champions to crawl back into the conference final series and force Game 7, the Kings made an incredible comeback.

During the first three rounds, the team fought off elimination seven times before taking on the Rangers in the final showdown. Although three of the five games against New York needed to be settled beyond regulation, by that point in the playoffs, the Kings' steeled resolve was simply too much for the Rangers to handle.  

Watch: Youtube Video

50th Anniversary Opening Weekend
October 2016

When Jack Kent Cooke announced his NHL team would be known as the Kings in 1966, he remarked that they had landed upon that particular name because "We intend over the years to build a hockey dynasty and we wanted a name that would be properly representative of that."

Although that dream never came to fruition during Cooke's tenure as owner or even during his lifetime, when the club celebrated its golden anniversary in 2016-17, it was as close to a dynasty as Cooke could have ever hoped for when he brought NHL hockey to Los Angeles more than five decades earlier.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary that season, the Kings adopted a gray-based alternate jersey that stitched gold into their usual black, white, and silver color scheme. But when the puck dropped on home opening weekend on October 14, 2016, the club wore its vintage gold sweaters when they hosted the Flyers.

Fittingly, when the Kings played their very first NHL game 49 years earlier, on that same exact date, they had played the Flyers at Long Beach Arena and won 4-2. Although the Kings looked sharp once again in gold and "Forum blue," the Flyers flipped the script and defeated LA 4-2. 

Video: PHI@LAK: Kings introduce Gretzky before game

Toffoli's Overtime Buzzer Beater
October 28, 2017 

Full disclosure, in the grand scheme of things, this one is not as significant as winning the Stanley Cup, let alone two of them in the same decade, but it's arguably one of the most improbable goals in franchise history so it deservedly cracks this list.

With less than a second remaining on the clock in overtime against the Bruins, the Kings pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker in a last-ditch effort to win the game off the draw deep in Boston's zone. Kopitar won the faceoff and dropped the puck back to Toffoli who, in his own words, "got it off as fast as I could."

He certainly did. Toffoli needed just half a second to score the ridiculous buzzer beater. If you blinked, you probably missed it. Lucky for you, the goal was reviewed and upheld, giving viewers plenty of opportunities to see it again.

While the unlikely goal didn't net a championship or lead to a playoff berth, it is arguably one of the most memorable, and certainly one of the quickest, in franchise history. 

Video: LAK@BOS: Toffoli wins it with less than a second left

Dustin Brown Reaches Two Big Milestones
December 22, 2017 | March 28, 2019

The crazy thing is that, it won't be long before Dustin Brown is playing in his third decade with the Kings. The Ithaca, New York native has been with the club since 2003 and has a strong case to finish his career as the best King of all time.

When the team compiles a Top 10 moments of the past decade in 2029, you'll likely still find Brown's name among the entries on that list. In addition to serving as a driving force behind the franchise's first two Stanley Cups, both as captain, this past decade, Brown has also achieved some incredible milestones of his own.

On December 22, 2017, Brown suited up for his 1,000th career game, becoming the 48th player in NHL history to play his first 1,000 games for one franchise and just the second player to accomplish the feat entirely with the Kings.

Just over a year later, in a matchup against the Canucks on March 28, 2019, Brown played in his 1,112th career game, becoming the all-time franchise leader in regular season gamed played, surpassing legend Dave Taylor, who drafted Brown 13th overall in 2003. 

Video: Dustin Brown passes Dave Taylor as the King of Kings

There you have it, some of the Top 10 moments in LA Kings franchise history in the last decade. Only time will tell what players and franchise-defining moments will crack this type of list in 2029.

While you're likely to see a Dustin Brown jersey retirement ceremony on there, you'll probably see some new names such as Alex Turcotte, Arthur Kaliyev, and Tobias Bjornfot, who will have, hopefully, contributed to the franchise in the same way that their predecessors did this past decade.

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