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Hard to argue that they are not Kings of the NHL

Justin Williams of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates

Justin Williams of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates with the Stanley Cup after the Kings 3-2 double overtime victory against the New York Rangers in Game Five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 13, 2014 in Los Angeles. Credit: Getty Images / Bruce Bennett

LOS ANGELES - The Kings have spent much of their history in relative obscurity in the nation's southwest corner, an afterthought behind the mighty Lakers, the Dodgers -- and the beach.

But now they have established a mini-dynasty after winning two Stanley Cups in three years, sandwiching an appearance in the Western Conference finals.

The second Cup came in dramatic fashion, on a goal with 5:17 left in double overtime Friday night by Alec Martinez, a defenseman and an unlikely choice for the grand finale on a team full of talented scorers.

After Henrik Lundqvist saved Tyler Toffoli's shot, Martinez put in the rebound to give the Kings a 3-2 win in the longest game in Kings history.

The goal made Martinez the first player since the Islanders' Bobby Nystrom in 1980 to score a Cup-clincher in overtime at home.

Five of the past seven Cups have been won on the road -- the two exceptions being the Kings in 2012 against the Devils and the Rangers on Friday night -- and the players and fans took full advantage.

"These kids marched through California, defeated the defending Stanley Cup champs [in Chicago] and beat the Rangers in a spectacular Final," commissioner Gary Bettman said before handing the Cup to captain Dustin Brown.

Former Ranger Marian Gaborik, who scored the tying goal in the third period, was the third man to carry the Cup. The Kings acquired him in March and he became a key goal-scorer down the stretch.

Before the game, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty had said the Kings wanted to win more than the Rangers, a notion that was proved dubious as the teams battled through the long, intense game.

As they did in a Game 4 loss, the Kings dominated play late in the game and into the first overtime, but Lundqvist was impenetrable. He also got help from pucks hitting a post and the crossbar.

The game ended after midnight in the East, but it still was early in L.A. as fans partied inside and outside Staples Center.

Local authorities did not permit the game to be shown on big screens in the plaza outside the arena, perhaps fearing trouble during a Cup celebration, but fans packed the bars and restaurants in the area to watch.

After most of the players had their turns carrying the Cup, fans gave a loud ovation to coach Darryl Sutter as he hoisted it. It was his second in three years after a long playing and coaching career without having won one.

The Kings clearly were the superior team overall during the series, but the Rangers made them earn it through five hard-fought games. The home team wanted no part of another cross-country trip to Madison Square Garden for Game 6, and narrowly avoided it.

Now there will be no more plane rides to take, only another parade in sunny Southern California for a hockey trophy that is starting to make a home for itself here.

New York Sports