The Los Angeles Kings were the final team standing in the NHL this season, claiming their second Stanley Cup in three years and making quick work of the Rangers in the Final after running through the Western Conference gauntlet.
But that doesn't mean the Kings were without their low points in the 2013-14 season, and on the second-to-last Monday of January, Los Angeles found itself on the wrong end of a highlight in Boston.
Dan Ryan, Stanley Cup of Chowder: I was at this game, and it was one of those great hockey goals that always seem to come from completely innocent plays.
Innocent may be a bit of an understatement, as the Kings had the Bruins pinned deep in their own end in the midst of an effective power play. All Los Angeles was missing on this man-advantage try was a goal, yet it would be their opponents, pushed back onto their heels, who would strike.
The 9th-best goal of 2013-14
How it unfolded
Marchand had been aggressive during this shift on the penalty kill. He was pressing the Kings positioned at the blue line, just looking for any opportunity to take off the other way, shorthanded. As this puck went to the half wall, Marchand was pressing Drew Doughty at the top of the zone, giving Anze Kopitar a chance to walk in and shoot on Chad Johnson.
Sean, Stanley Cup of Chowder: That whole sequence, man -- save by Johnson ...
Johnson made the save on Kopitar, and Patrice Bergeron beat two Kings to the rebound. Bergeron hit Marchand with an outlet pass, and four Kings were quickly caught behind the puck. But Doughty was the one Los Angeles skater back, so there was nothing to worry about, right?
Not only was Doughty back and in a comfortable position to defend Marchand, two Kings were trailing the Bruins forward. All Doughty had to do was impede Marchand's progress, and a one-on-one would have turned into a three-on-one.
Sean, Stanley Cup of Chowder: UNDRESSING the best defenseman in the world (copyright Steve Simmons).
Steph, Jewels From the Crown: Marchand tries moves like that every game and they so rarely work. Especially shorthanded, he really likes to go for offense shorthanded and do it by himself.
Doughty rarely looks bad, and Marchand made it happen rather easily, causing Doughty to drop his stick. (On the Bruins broadcast, Jack Edwards suggested Doughty may have intentionally dropped his stick, because that's what Jack Edwards does).
Marchand still managed to get the puck toward the net, while Doughty's stray stick navigated the puck back toward Marchand in the corner.
Dan Ryan, Stanley Cup of Chowder: I admired Jeff Carter's energy-saving coast on the back check. He must have been saving his legs for the playoffs.
As Marchand re-established possession, things continued to go south for the Kings. Jake Muzzin circled below the goal line, taking himself out of the play. Carter continued to be mesmerized by something going in the TD Garden stands, stuck in his place. Doughty went to pick up his lumber in the crease, while Kopitar went down to block a potential Marchand shot, really selling out in the process.
Kopitar's shot blocking posture allowed Marchand to deke around him, while Doughty finally had his stick(!). Carter was still spacing out -- daydreaming, but above all not defending.
Quick pushed off to guard the post and prevent a stuff-in attempt, while Marchand did well to put his body between Kopitar and the puck, which allowed him to bounce the play back inside, and against the grain.
Marchand was completely enveloped by Kings, but with Quick giving up some daylight between his legs, Marchand finally had his escape route, and deposited the puck into the net to end a wacky sequence.
Nick, Jewels From the Crown: To Marchand's credit, he displayed great "stick-to-itiveness" or whatever; his determination was excellent and he never bailed on the play. I was also very impressed by the patience he displayed. He just waited and waited and waited for everything to fall apart around him, and everything DID fall apart for some reason. That seems like dumb luck more than skill but whatever.
Eric, Jewels From the Crown: It was one of those goals where you just throw your hands up in exasperation. And a little bit of admiration. We haven't played against Marchand enough to build up the level of hatred many Eastern fans have for him, but this goal was a pretty great start.
Cornelius, Stanley Cup of Chowder: I don't know whether my favorite part is when Marchand walks around Doughty, when he fakes out Kopitar, or when he casually throws the puck through Jonathan Quick's gaping 5-hole.
Nick, Jewels From the Crown: It was a great goal but I have trouble rewarding goals that are the result of a complete lack of defensive acumen by every single player on the ice. It literally looked like Marchand was taking on a peewee team and he didn't do anything so spectacular to warrant that kind of treatment.
Dan Ryan, Stanley Cup of Chowder: There are four Olympians standing between him and a goal: he outskates Carter, turns Doughty around, goes around and through inferior-to-Patrice-Bergeron Anze Kopitar and then beats Quick. Brad Marchand: conquerer of Canada, Slovenia and America, all on one play.
Andrew, Jewels From the Crown: My reaction at the time of the goal was: "I bet I'll have completely forgotten about this goal since Alec Martinez is winning the Stanley Cup for the Kings pretty soon."
Mark, Stanley Cup of Chowder: A complete and utter mental fart by an array of stars on the eventual Stanley Cup Champions leads me to believe the Bruins would have utterly dominated the Kings had they reached the SCF. Boston would have taken penalty after penalty just so Brad Marchand could be out there 4 v. 5 ---Corsi and Fenwick be damned!!!
Sean, Stanley Cup of Chowder: What you saw in that play is why I (like other B's fans) gave Marchand a pass for a subpar postseason and why trade rumors (during and after the season) were unconscionable.
Jack Edwards, NESN broadcast: Scores! Brad Marchand with his league-leading fourth shorthanded goal of the year. Never discouraged; staying with it. Some would have called for a penalty shot there as Doughty conveniently drops his stick, but Marchand finished it and the Bruins are up 1-0.