Wednesday marks a day in Los Angeles Kings' history that has never been experienced before--knowing their team can win the Stanley Cup by solidifying just one more win.
On the organization's 45th birthday, the Kings will take the ice, battling to close out a Stanley Cup Final as they face the New Jersey Devils at the Staples Center. Sixty good minutes of hockey can change the team's and league's history forever.
Injuries, a coaching change, contract negotiations, trade rumors, and a lack of offensive ability are just a few circumstances that ailed the Kings throughout the regular season. But under head coach Darryl Sutter, the team found the chemistry that had been buried away as they continue shocking the hockey world.
Los Angeles began making franchise history in their first round against Vancouver when they were up 3-0 in the series, a lead they had never obtained in the playoffs.
Throughout their postseason run, the Kings have gone 10-0 on the road and have only dropped two at home--both Game 4 in the first and third rounds against the Canucks and Coyotes. They're the only eighth seeded team in NHL history to eliminate the first and second seeded teams in their conference.
The only other team in NHL history to defeat the top three conference teams in the postseason is the 2004 Flames, who were also coached under Sutter. I wouldn't call that a coincidence.
As tonight's matchup rolls around, the Kings have the opportunity to continue making history. Their current 15-2 record has only been matched one other time, and with Jonathan Quick in net, anything is possible.
The only other team to win a Game 4 Stanley Cup Final at home is the Anaheim Ducks, who took the honor in 2007. If the Kings were to do the same tonight, they'd tie the Edmonton Oilers' 16-2 playoff run in 1988.
But Los Angeles continues to think about the series one game at a time, rather than getting caught up in statistics.