Kopitar, Kings Sneak A Win
By Stephen London
To the very end, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils was close. The Devils seemed to have the momentum leading into the overtime period, but Anze Kopitar scored the game-winning goal for the Kings, making Game 1 a 2-1 overtime final.
With each side taking only five shots during the first period, neither team really captured the momentum until Kings fourth liner Colin Fraser received a pass from Jordan Nolan and took a one-touch shot for the first goal of the game.
The Kings outshot the Devils, 9-3, during the second period, but did not score again during regulation. Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov fired a puck toward the net late during the period. At first review, the goal was awarded to Patrik Elias for a deflection, but later changed because the puck hit a Kings defenseman and went into the net.
The Devils scored another goal within the first four minutes of the third period, but it was waived off because of a hand-swiping motion on the part of Zach Parise. If Parise was not so deliberate in his movement with his arm, the puck would have most likely have trickled into the net anyway.
Each team had a few scoring chances during the third period, but neither could break the tie, forcing the 24th period of overtime of this year's playoffs. The Kings' best line last night was composed of Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams. Brown hit the puck carrier in the neutral zone, jarring the puck loose; Williams made a no-look backhanded pass across the ice to a waiting Kopitar; and Kopitar faked a shot before going top shelf and beating Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur.
The Devils actually beat the Kings, 8-4, on takeaways and 15-6 in blocked shots. Both goaltenders played well -- Brodeur had a save percentage of 92 and the Kings' Jon Quick saved 94.1 percent of the shots he faced.
New Jersey had plenty of scoring chances during the latter part of the game. Mark Fayne, a rookie defenseman for the Devils, had a wide-open net, but his shot went wide during the third period.
In order for the Devils to even up the series before heading to Los Angeles for Game 3, they need to take high shots to beat Jon Quick. The Kings did get the win, but did not look like the team that swept the Blues and beat the President's Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks. Although the Kings' road record during the playoffs has improved to 9-0, they need to play better on Saturday if they want to keep their undefeated road record.
Posted May 31, 2012