Sometimes, all it takes to get over that final hurdle is for your enemy to do something incredibly stupid to blast open the door. All you have to do then is walk through it.
That’s what happened Monday night when the Los Angeles Kings blew past the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6 to win the first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history.
For the previous two games, all the bounces and calls had gone against Los Angeles. Within five seconds in the first period Monday, that was all washed away.
Jarrett Stoll got away with a hit from behind, Steve Bernier did not. Five minutes, game misconduct. Game.
It wouldn't have been that way, though, if the Kings hadn't rediscovered a ruthless streak that had eluded them the previous two games: three goals on the ensuing power play. That's taking advantage. That's domination.
The funniest stat of the night came after the second period. It said that if the Kings hadn't had a goaltender in net, they would still only be trailing by two goals, because they'd only given up six shots at that point.
This was a strangulation. This was a smothering. This was an exclamation point.
As well it should be. The Kings have made this postseason all about the machine they magically turned into.
Leading every series 3-0. Losing once out of 11 times on the road. Jonathan Quick with simply stupid numbers. Goals when they had to have it, every time, all the time. So Monday night had to be the period to that. It had to be a pure demonstration of all that came before, condensed into 60 minutes.
Funny though, that in this clinching game was the only game of this run where the Kings didn't need Jonathan Quick to, well, do anything.
About time they bailed out the goalie who had singlehandedly kept them in touching distance of the playoffs when they couldn't find a goal with Google maps and a flashlight.
The one who turned away any momentum change in every series. The one who kept the Devils from getting away in Games 1 and 2 and 3 when they had the better of it.
Monday, he could have used a beach chair in between the posts. Better late than never.
The Kings are champs, the most unlikely champs, a miracle run after a stuttering regular season.
Memories to last forever, taunts from Ducks fans eliminated, and done so with such a furious crash.
How else could it have been?
Sam Fels is the proprietor of The Committed Indian, an unofficial program for the Chicago Blackhawks. His work has appeared on NBC Chicago, SB Nation, Yahoo's Puck Daddy and NBC's Pro Hockey Talk. Fels is a lifelong hockey fan and also writes for Second City Hockey.