Rangers vs. Kings final score, Stanley Cup Final 2014 Game 5: LA wins 2nd NHL title

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

They never made it easy on themselves, but the Los Angeles Kings are back at the top of the NHL's mountain for the second time in three years.

Few teams have followed a path as difficult as the one the Los Angeles Kings took on their way to winning the 2014 Stanley Cup.

They went through a murderers' row of Western Conference contenders that featured San Jose, Anaheim and Chicago. They needed to win three Game 7s, all of them on the road. Oh yeah, and they needed to become just the fourth team in NHL history to erase a 3-0 series deficit, which they did in the first round win against the Sharks.

The magical -- and, at times, seemingly impossible -- run came to an end on Friday night with the Kings' 3-2 win over the New York Rangers, giving the Kings their second championship in three years and cementing their status as the current gold standard in the NHL.

It was clinched by Alec Martinez's goal off of a rebound deep into double overtime, making him just the 17th player to clinch a Stanley Cup in overtime.

Given the way the playoffs have unfolded for the Kings, it's only fitting that they needed one more comeback to to earn the right to lift the cup.

After erasing two-goal deficits in each of the first two games of the series, Los Angeles entered the third period on Friday trailing, 2-1, after a pair of special teams goals by the Rangers late in the second period. But thanks to a controversial penalty on Mats Zuccarello, Marian Gaborik continued his incredible playoff run with his 14th goal, haunting the team that traded him just last year.

That set the stage for Martinez's winning goal, ending a ridiculous overtime session that featured scoring chance after scoring chance, near miss after near miss and several shots ringing off the post for each team.

The Rangers put up a fight during this series, and at times it was closer than you might realize when looking at the fact the series ended in five games.

But in the end, Los Angeles was too much to handle and elevated its game to another level. When the Kings were on top of their game, it was a special brand of hockey that mixed size, physical play, speed and skill. They may not have had the best record during the regular season, but watching the way this team played in the playoffs it's easy to see they were simply the best team in the NHL.

Given the number of players they have signed to long-term contracts -- most of them still in the prime of their careers -- and the young players they have starting to make an impact in the NHL, this may not be the last time we see the Kings in this position.

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