NHL: Kings Win Game 1 Of Cup Final in Overtime
Los Angeles proved yet again that they are the comeback team this postseason, even after New York came out guns firing in the first period.
The Rangers were much quicker than the Kings in the first, which seemed to support the popular idea that the Rangers’ extra days off would give them an advantage. While New York was extremely physical and quick, Los Angeles managed to escape its two-goal deficit to win the game 3-2 in overtime.
Wednesday night marked the third straight game one of the Stanley Cup Final to go to overtime. The team’s that went on to win the previous game one’s went on to win the series, those teams including the Chicago Blackhawks, and this years Western Conference champions, the Los Angeles Kings.
Benoit Pouliot was the first to score in this year’s Stanley Cup Final with a wrist shot, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the first period with 6:39 remaining. Shortly after, Carl Hagelin gave New York its second goal and a 2-0 lead. Hagelin used his speed to make a short-handed goal, which took a bounce off of Slava Voynov’s skate and landed in the net.
Although the Kings seemed sluggish toward the beginning of the game, they slowly started to gain momentum as the game progressed. Los Angeles’ first goal of the game was a wrist shot by Kyle Clifford, assisted by Jeff Carter, in the first period.
“We got back to our game plan after they scored their second goal,” Clifford explained. “They have a great goal tender, and he’s one of their best players so we have to challenge him.”
The second period started with a 2-1 Rangers lead, but it didn’t last long and Doughty used his great stick handling to keep the puck away from New York and score. He was able to keep the puck in his possession by keeping it between his legs, and tied the game at 2.
Los Angeles out-shot the Rangers 20-3 in the third period, but both goalies made outstanding saves in the third, resulting in a scoreless period and overtime. Justin Williams’ scored after a turnover by Dan Girardi, and his snap shot made the game-winning goal to give the Kings a 1-0 series lead.
“It’s definitely not the start we wanted,” Williams described the first period. “But it was the final result we wanted”.
A sports matchup between two of the country’s largest cities, New York and Los Angeles, has not been seen since the 1981 World Series. Staples center was packed with fans hoping to see the Kings take home their second Stanley Cup in three years, and Bryant Park was packed with Rangers fans hoping to see New York take home its first Stanley Cup in 20 years.
The second contest of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final will be played Saturday at Staples Center.