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Kings' Martinez again plays hero, scores Cup-winner

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- When Alec Martinez gets a moment to see a replay sometime in the next few days, maybe it will refresh his memory. The details tend get a little fuzzy because of emotion, even for someone who scored his second straight Stanley Cup Playoff series-winning goal.

Martinez didn't quite know how to react after he etched his name in Los Angeles Kings history with the Cup-clinching goal against the New York Rangers in a 3-2 double-overtime win Friday at Staples Center.

He jumped, threw his gloves and stick, and excitedly waved his hands before the rest of the Kings mobbed him against the end boards.

"I blacked out," Martinez said after Game 5. "I don't really remember. I think I threw my gear. I don't know. I just remember everyone coming at me and I couldn't breathe."

Martinez can play back the DVD anytime he likes. At 14:43 of double overtime, Martinez pinched down the left side to bang Tyler Toffoli's rebound past sprawled New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist to clinch the Kings' second Cup in three seasons.

It came after a heart-stopping first overtime and abruptly sent the crowd into bedlam. After the teams combined to hit four posts in the overtimes, it started to feel like the longest game in Kings history could go all night.

"It was just a loose puck in our own end," Martinez said. "I just wanted to get it up into the forwards' hands, let them do their thing. I'm not sure who was the net drive, but Toffoli made a great play shooting far pad. I was just fortunate for it to come on my stick and able to put it in, but it was a great play by them.

"Something like that happens so fast, you just try to get a stick on it and get it on net."

Toffoli, who set a Kings rookie record with 14 points in the playoffs, recalled his role in the Cup-winning goal.

"I just shot it on the net, and then I saw the gloves and sticks flying in the air," he said.

It was an identical scene to the one that played out 12 days earlier.

Martinez was the hero of Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, when his shot from the point deflected off Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford in overtime.

"He's the magic man, I guess," Kings forward Trevor Lewis said. "He's played unbelievable for us ever since he came back in. I can't say enough about him."

Martinez, like the Kings, didn't have an entirely smooth season. He was a healthy scratch in 10 of the first 15 games and as recently as Feb. 26, but he grew on coach Darryl Sutter and demonstrated his offensive instincts late in the season.

One of the six defensemen Los Angeles used exclusively during its 2012 Cup run, Martinez has reached will-never-have-to-buy-a-drink-in-this-town-again status with two goals that rank at the top in Kings history.

He stood afterward on the ice with a championship hat and towel around his neck, exhausted from the celebration. But he had enough energy to deflect the individual attention.

"I was just at the right place at the right time," he said. "[Toffoli] made a great play shooting far pad, and I was able to put it in. It's not about me or the goal. It's about the L.A. Kings and the guys in that room. We did something special. We knew we were a good team. Now we know we're a great team."

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