Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi is helped from the ice by teammate Matt Greene… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
Kings fans have been promised five-year plans.
Steve Bernier gave them a five-minute plan.
From the moment the New Jersey Devils forward tried to make defenseman Rob Scuderi as one with the boards, the Kings could begin clearing space in the trophy case for the Stanley Cup.
Bernier received five minutes for roughing and was ejected when Scuderi suffered a cut after being slammed face first into the boards.
The Kings turned the penalty into three goals and an insurmountable lead in a 6-1 victory that closed out the Stanley Cup Final.
"You don't want it to end this way," Bernier said. "I feel bad."
So did Scuderi, at least in the moment. He left the ice to get treatment but came back quickly and was there at the end. Scuderi was the 12th Kings player to be handed the Stanley Cup after the game.
Bernier had long been secluded to the Devils' locker room.
He came out to talk with the media, answering all questions without dodging responsibility except to say, "It was a hard hit, but I didn't think it deserved five minutes."
Moments before, the Kings' Jarret Stoll had run the Devils' Stephen Gionta into the boards at center ice. Devils Coach Peter DeBoer was incensed with referees that there was no call.
"You know what, tonight is about L.A. and letting them celebrate," DeBoer said. "If you want to ask me about that in about a week, I'll give you my honest opinion on it."
As for Bernier, DeBoer said, "It's a bad spot for him to be in. Everybody knows his heart's in the right place. He's not at fault."
Still, Bernier sat in the locker room and listened to the Staples Center foghorn announce each Kings goal.
"I didn't watch the game on TV," Bernier said. "I listened to the crowd. That was hard, for sure. I could hear how it was going. I wish I could take it back."
Scuderi went to retrieve the puck behind the Kings' net 10 minutes into the game. He cleared it, but by then Bernier was at full speed. The collision was one-sided.
"I don't know what happened," Bernier said. "I just saw he was down on the ice a long time."
When Scuderi picked himself off the ice, so did the Kings, who had lost the previous two games.
Bernier set a Los Angeles celebration in motion.
Dustin Brown charged the net and redirected a Drew Doughty shot for a 1-0 lead at 11 minutes 3 seconds. Brown was the catalyst again two minutes later. He came from behind the net, whirled and whizzed a shot that Jeff Carter tipped past goaltender Martin Brodeur. Trevor Lewis put the Devils in a deep hole 15 minutes into the game, knocking in a loose puck in front of the net.
"Every guy came to me and said it was not my fault," Bernier said. "There were hard hits all over the ice."
Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador said, "It's a nonissue, really. That's hockey and it happens; everything happens fast."