Jarret Stoll

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My Favorite Goal: Jarret Stoll completes Kings’ upset over Canucks

Welcome to “My Favorite Goal,” a regular feature from NBC Sports where our writers, personalities and NHL players remember the goals that have meant the most to them. These goals have left a lasting impression and there’s a story behind each one.

Today, Jake Abrahams, the Managing Editor of NHL Content at NBC Sports and a Los Angeles native, takes us back to one of the best memories from the Kings’ 2012 Stanley Cup run.

If there was one team most likely to breeze through the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it was the Vancouver Canucks. They had experience, having made it to the previous year’s Cup Final, as well as momentum, having closed the season on an 8-1-0 tear to claim their second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy.

Their first round opponent, the No. 8 seeded Los Angeles Kings, made a midseason coaching change, didn’t clinch a postseason spot until their 81st game, scored the second-fewest goals in the NHL, and hadn’t won a playoff series in over a decade.

Canucks in four, or five at most, right?

***

Dean Lombardi took over as Kings general manager in 2006, and one of his first major moves was acquiring center Jarret Stoll and defenseman Matt Greene from the Edmonton Oilers two years later.

Both were classic Lombardi types: rugged, hard working glue guys that every championship team has in its lineup. Stoll excelled in the faceoff dot, and was one of LA’s best penalty killers. Importantly, he also had a wicked shot. He only had six goals in 2011-12, the fewest of his career to that point, but his quick release could be difficult to deal with.

For example, the year prior, he converted on nine of 10 shootout attempts. No one has ever gone 9-of-10 or better, before or since. And he pretty much always shot top shelf, on the glove side. Goalies knew where he was shooting, and still couldn’t stop it.

The Kings won Games 1 and 2 in Vancouver, prompting the Canucks to bench Roberto Luongo and start Cory Schneider in Game 3. He held his own, but LA won 1-0 to go up 3-games-to-none. Schneider only allowed 1 goal again in Game 4 – a Canucks victory this time – and then played well in Game 5, which went to overtime with the score tied 1-1.

At that point, a Vancouver win would have made things interesting again. Two in a row against the inexperienced Kings, with Schneider breathing new life into the defending conference champs, and perhaps things turn out differently.

But all Stoll needed was one chance.

Early in OT, the Canucks were a bit too casual breaking out of their own zone. Trevor Lewis forced a turnover at the blue line, springing Stoll towards the goal on his off wing. With his traditional leg kick, Stoll fired and beat Schneider top shelf – on the blocker side.

Game. Series. Kings in 5.

LA carried that momentum all the way to the Stanley Cup, going 16-4 in the postseason. That dominance was hardly predictable considering the Kings’ best 20-game stretch during the regular season saw them produce only 13 wins.

They remain the only team in the salary cap era to win the Cup in 20 or fewer games. They are the only 8 seed to ever win the Cup.

Stoll didn’t score another goal that postseason, but it didn’t matter. That OT winner on April 22 in Vancouver was the first sign that nothing was going to stop this team.

Looking to make the leap: Oscar Lindberg

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This season may be the last for Oscar Lindberg to make the leap and join the New York Rangers.

The 23-year-old center, who signed a two-year $1.3 million contract in July, needs to clear waivers, if New York wants to send him to the AHL.

Given Lindberg’s talent, he could be plucked off waivers prior to making his way back to Hartford.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Swede centered the Wolf Pack’s top line last season and finished second in team scoring with 28 goals and 56 points in 75 games. He added three goals and 13 assists in 15 Calder Cup playoff games.

Wolf Pack coach Ken Gernander believes Lindberg can contribute at the NHL level.

“He’s very committed to becoming better on faceoffs. He’s had good success (in the AHL) with his percentages and things like that,” said Gernander.“Playing at the NHL level, I think his whole game will translate well. He has offensive upside, and what team wouldn’t want that?”

Originally a second round pick (57th overall) of the Arizona Coyotes in 2010, Lindberg has spent the past two seasons in the AHL. He made his NHL debut with the Rangers last season playing 8:18 in New York’s 1-0 win over the Calgary Flames on Feb. 24.

Prior to beginning his professional career in North America, Lindberg played with Skelleftea in the Swedish Hockey League.

In order to crack the Rangers’ lineup this season Lindberg will have to outplay the likes of Jarret Stoll and Dominic Moore – a tall order for a player columnist Larry Brooks says “doesn’t appear to have the checking game, face off prowess or penalty killing ability to replace” Moore.

It’s New York Rangers Day at PHT

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Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The New York Rangers.

The New York Rangers earned their third Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history with a 53-22-7 record last season.

New York then eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games of the first round and edged the Washington Capitals in seven games in the conference semifinals. However, Tampa Bay cut New York’s bid for a second straight Stanley Cup Final appearance short defeating the Rangers in seven games in the Eastern Conference Final.

Rick Nash led the way offensively for the Rangers scoring a career-high 42 goals and 69 points in 79 games. Center Derick Brassard also had a career year notching a personal best for goals (19) and points (60).

In what was his final NHL season, Martin St. Louis reached the 20-goal plateau for the 10th time in his career. The 40-year-old announced his retirement in July.

In goal, Henrik Lundqvist went 30-13-3 while posting a 2.25 G.A.A. and a .922 save percentage in 46 appearances. Despite missing 25 games due to a vascular injury, the 33-year-old finished fifth in Vezina Trophy voting.

Cam Talbot took over in Lundqvist’s absence. The 28-year-old finished the season with a 21-9-4 record to go along with a 2.21 G.A.A. and a .926 save percentage.

Off-season recap

It was a busy off-season for the Rangers.

After 15 years as the general manager of the Rangers, Glen Sather stepped down in July and handed the duties to Jeff Gorton.

On the ice, the Rangers dealt Talbot to the Edmonton Oilers and filled his spot with Antti Raanta.

New York also acquired Emerson Etem from the Ducks for Carl Hagelin on the second day of the NHL Draft.

Earlier this month the Rangers added depth at center inking free agent Jarret Stoll to a one-year deal.

The Rangers also took care of their own.

Restricted free agents J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast got new deals and Derek Stepan avoided arbitration signing a new six-year $39 million contract.

James Sheppard, who scored two goals and registered nine penalty minutes in 14 games after being acquired from the San Jose Sharks, remains unsigned.

Several Rangers are still recovering from injuries suffered last season.

Brassard had wrist surgery in late June and was expected to require four-to-six weeks of recovery time. Captain Ryan McDonagh, who led all Rangers’ blue liners with 33 points in 71 games last season, is still recovering from a broken foot suffered in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Mats Zuccarello has been cleared to resume skating and have contact after taking a shot to the head from McDonagh in Game 5 of the Rangers’ first round series against the Penguins.

Mackenzie Skapski is still recovering from off-season hip surgery.

Stoll’s felony drug charge reduced to pair of misdemeanors (Updated)

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Just days after being charged with felony drug possession of cocaine, Kings forward Jarret Stoll has seen his charge reduced to two misdemeanors, according to ESPN.

More:

Stoll was arrested April 17 in Las Vegas after attempting to enter the pool area at the MGM Grand.

In addition to cocaine possession, Stoll was also arrested on MDMA possession. However, there was reportedly only mention of the cocaine possession in the complaint filed by Clark County’s district attorney.

The 33-year-old veteran just wrapped the final year of his contract in Los Angeles, and is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Kings are reportedly unlikely to re-sign him.

Update: Per ESPN, Stoll’s community service will be with the Salvation Army, organizing hockey programs for at-risk youths in the Las Vegas area.

“My focus remains on hockey and I am looking forward to getting back on the ice next season,” he said in a statement. “I am grateful for the chance to offer guidance and share positive life lessons to kids as part of the resolution of this matter.”

Stoll charged with cocaine possession, but not MDMA possession

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Kings forward Jarret Stoll faces up to four years in prison after being charged with felony drug possession of cocaine.

If convicted, it is very unlikely that Stoll will spend four years in jail. He may only get probation. That’s up to the discretion of the judge, according to the Orange County Register.

Stoll was arrested April 17 in Las Vegas after attempting to enter the pool area at the MGM Grand.

In addition to cocaine possession, Stoll was also arrested on MDMA possession. However, there is reportedly only mention of the cocaine possession in the complaint filed today by Clark County’s district attorney.

That may be good news for Stoll. From an ESPN.com article dated June 11:

One Las Vegas-based criminal drug attorney said the possession of cocaine, a class E felony, is less concerning than that of the MDMA, a class B felony and a non-probation offense. Under Nevada penal code, any amount of a schedule 1 substance over 4 grams triggers state drug-trafficking laws.

Stoll, 32, is to appear in court on July 1.

Coincidentally, that is the same day he is set to become an unrestricted free agent.