LOS ANGELES -- Things looked bleak for the Los Angeles Kings in the third period Friday, just as they did so many times earlier in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
They were behind 2-1 to the New York Rangers entering the final period in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, meaning they were 20 minutes away from facing another coast-to-coast flight to New York and looking down the barrel of a second straight missed opportunity to win the Cup for the second time in three seasons.
But the Kings never panicked. They were in far more desperate straits before in this year's playoffs. Trailing by a goal with 20 minutes remaining? No problem.
Not surprisingly, 7:56 into another third period dominated by the Kings, Los Angeles had the equalizer. In the second overtime, they had the winner, by Alec Martinez at 14:43, to win the game and the championship.
The Kings' leading goal-scorer, Marian Gaborik, got the comeback rolling with a goal on the power play. It marked the third game in the series the Kings rallied to force overtime and eventually win.
On the tying goal, Jeff Carter stopped a clearing attempt by Derek Stepan and passed it along the blue line to defenseman Drew Doughty, who snapped off a wrist shot. New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist was equal to Doughty's shot but left a bit of a rebound, just enough for Gaborik to slash his stick onto the puck and chop it through the five-hole for the tying goal.
From that point, the Kings had the Rangers on their heels, dominating the rest of regulation and huge swaths of the overtimes. Lundqvist's brilliance extended the game on several occasions, but, in the end, he could not answer the final shot, a rebound attempt by Martinez that came after Lundqvist made his 48th and final save of the night.
Just like that, the tension dissipated at Staples Center and the party was ready to begin.