By John Rolfe
The goal above by defenseman Alec Martinez at 14:43 of double overtime in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final capped one of the most remarkable championship runs in NHL history. En route to winning their second Cup since 2012, the gritty, resilient Los Angeles Kings became the league’s first team to win three Game 7s on the road during the same postseason, and the first to play as many as 26 games before securing the coveted chalice. They also survived seven playoff games in which they could have been eliminated, and they rallied from two-goal deficits to win four times, including the first two matches of their final series against the New York Rangers.
In this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated, Brian Cazeneuve explores how General Manager Dean Lombardi has built a model franchise and budding dynasty with a shrewd philosophy. “Call it the Kings’ Way,” Cazeneuve writes, explaining how Lombardi overhauled the team’s front office, coaching and scouting staffs, and minor league system while embracing advanced metrics and creating a big, skilled and deep roster around three cornerstone players: goaltender Jonathan Quick, defenseman Drew Doughty, and winger Dustin Brown.
SI’s cover story also looks at how Lombardi and coach Darryl Sutter began plotting during the Olympic break in February to dethrone the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks. Now their goal is to extend the Kings’ reign. To that end, Lombardi welcomes advice from executives for top franchises in other sports, such as the NFL’s New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers.
“I want to know how they keep it going,” he told SI. “How do you adapt but stay on top?”
(Cover photo credit: Donald Miralle/SI)