EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Jonathan Quick remembers eating ice pops with his friends and watching their beloved New York Rangers win the Stanley Cup on television in 1994. Dustin Brown vaguely recalls Joe Nieuwendyk bringing the Cup to Ithaca, N.Y., but can’t remember if he got to see it up close.

With just one more win by their Los Angeles Kings, the star goalie and the courageous captain will have the Stanley Cup in their hands, above their head – even in the Pacific Ocean, if they choose.

The stage is set for a California coronation in Game 4 tonight. The Kings could complete a sweep of the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup finals in front of a sellout crowd that’s been waiting 45 years for this chance to celebrate.

“It’s right there in front of us, but we know there’s one more step,” Brown said Tuesday at the Kings’ training complex. “We don’t want to trip now.”

The eighth-seeded Kings are dominating the NHL playoffs with an ease that’s stranger than ice in sunny Los Angeles. A franchise that has never done much of anything in the postseason has already conquered the Western Conference, and the Kings are one win away from claiming their first championship in almost impossibly stylish fashion.

The Kings are on a 15-2 playoff run.


Michel Therrien is coach of the Canadiens again, a home-grown product who rejoins a storied franchise that fell to last place this season and angered many fans across Quebec over a previous coaching hiring. Therrien, a Montreal native, succeeds Randy Cunneyworth. Therrien coached the Canadiens from 2000 until he was replaced by Claude Julien in 2003. Therrien has been working in TV since he was let go by the Penguins a few weeks before their run to the Stanley Cup in 2009. Cunneyworth’s hiring provoked howls of protest because he was the first non-French speaker to hold the job in four decades.