The Los Angeles Kings were greeted by hundred of cheering fans who stayed up late to meet the team as they arrived at LAX early Monday, hours after a stunning overtime victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Championship.
Throngs of Kings fans were lined up as the team plane landed shortly after 1 a.m., serenading players and coaches with a loud chant of “Go Kings Go!”
Bailey, the team’s mascot, carried the Campbell Bowl — the trophy given to the team that wins the National Hockey League’s Western Conference Championship — through the crowd as fans looked on and snapped photos.
The Kings’ 5-4 overtime victory on Sunday ensured their return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in three years. The team won the Cup for the first time in franchise history in 2012.
“Very excited. Very, very excited. Just like the first Cup run, but we have to take it this time,” one fan told KTLA.
Another Kings fan said that, while he didn’t want to jinx anything, he thought the team was playing “really good.”
He added that many fans who greeted the team overnight were confident about the Kings’ chances of winning another Cup.
“People out here are talking about what game we’re going to win, and all this,” he said. “Let’s just get it done. That’s it.”
The Kings will take on the New York Rangers in the finals. The first game of the series will be at Staples Center in L.A. on Wednesday.
“We’ve shown so much character on the ice, said Luc Robitaille, the team’s President of Business Operations. “ The way these guys have played, we’ll be ready by Wednesday.”