LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- As veteran Los Angeles Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi lay sprawled on the ice midway through the first period Monday night, blood staining the surface, little did anyone realize the turning point of the Stanley Cup finals had been set in motion.
New Jersey Devils forward Steve Bernier was quickly ejected for the reckless boarding penalty and the Kings were awarded a five-minute power play, one that would continue no matter how many goals L.A. put in the net.
By the time those minutes ticked off the Staples Center scoreboard, Scuderi’s teammates had scored three times, more than enough to hold on for a 6-1 victory that clinched the series, 4-games-to-2, and handed L.A. its first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Scuderi had not just taken one for the team at that moment, he took one for the entire organization, maybe even the city of L.A.
Even better, Scuderi returned for the start of the second period, a fresh cut on the bridge of his nose and another on his upper lip. Not long after, Jeff Carter scored again for the Kings, stretching the lead to 4-0 and putting New Jersey out to pasture.
“It was a pretty hard hit,” Scuderi said. “At least we were able to capitalize on it and win the game.”
Capitalize might be the understatement of the team's 45-year existence.