After 13 years, Marian Gaborik finally got his chance to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Gaborik, who was traded away by the Rangers a little more than a year ago, scored the game-tying goal in the third period against his former team in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals Friday night. He later leapt over the boards to celebrate with his teammates after defenseman Alec Martinez collected the rebound of Tyler Toffoli’s shot on Henrik Lundqvist and slammed it home with 5:17 remaining in double overtime to end the series and give the Kings their second Cup in three years.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Gaborik said with an ear-to-ear grin on the ice afterward while wearing a hat that read “Stanley Cup Champions” and with the Cup being hoisted by team personnel just a few feet away. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Gaborik was the last King in the handshake line after the game, making a point of hugging each and every one of his teammates and coaches before finally getting in line and slowly shaking the hands of his opponents — many of whom were his former teammates before Gaborik was traded by the Rangers to Columbus in a deadline-day move in April 2013.

“Quite frankly, it was a special series, and to play against those guys was very difficult,” Gaborik said. “They have a great team, but we were confident we could pull it out, and here we are.”
Once captain Dustin Brown began the celebration by lifting the Cup over his head for the second time in three seasons, he then passed it to defenseman Robyn Regehr — who won his first Cup— who in turn passed it to Gaborik.