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Alec Martinez relives Kings’ Stanley Cup win in 2014

Updated April 9, 2020 - 7:56 pm

Alec Martinez took time out of his self-quarantine to relive the highlight of his career.

The Golden Knights defenseman appeared on the NBC Sports Network program “Hockey Happy Hour” via video chat Thursday to rewatch Game 5 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. Martinez’s Los Angeles Kings won the Cup after he scored in double overtime to defeat the New York Rangers.

“I remember not being able to breathe,” said Martinez, who was traded from the Kings to the Knights on Feb. 19. “You’re pinned up against the glass (by your celebrating teammates). Everyone’s yelling and screaming.”

The Kings entered Game 5 with a chance to win a championship after an arduous slog through the playoffs. Los Angeles finished with the sixth-most points in the Western Conference, but they outlasted the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks in seven games apiece to reach the Stanley Cup Final.

Martinez scored another overtime winner in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final to defeat Chicago.

“We played physically, and we could just grind some teams down,” he said.

The Stanley Cup Final wasn’t much easier. The Kings won the first three games, but needed overtime in Game 1 and double overtime in Game 2. The Rangers then won Game 4 in New York to stave off elimination. That meant Game 5 was a chance for the Kings to clinch the Cup on home ice, but Martinez said he and his teammates left that unsaid.

“There weren’t any dummies in that locker room,” Martinez said. “We knew what was at hand.”

The Rangers led 2-1 after two periods before Marian Gaborik tied the game with 12:04 left in the third. The teams played to a stalemate the rest of regulation and a full overtime period before Martinez etched his name in Kings’ lore.

The defenseman jumped into a 3-on-2 with less than six minutes remaining in double overtime. Forward Tyler Toffoli shot from the right circle, and the rebound bounced to an uncovered Martinez in the slot with 5:17 left.

One quick shot later, the Kings were Stanley Cup champions for the second time in three years. Martinez’s celebration — namely, his use of “jazz hands” — and the goal became iconic. And those memories remain, even though the defenseman is now wearing a different sweater.

“Even a blind squirrel finds a nut, boys, every once in a while,” Martinez told former teammates Trevor Lewis and Jarret Stoll on the show.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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