The Stanley Cup Finals began tonight with the L.A. Kings taking Game 1 in overtime. (LA Kings Facebook)
We shouldn’t be surprised anymore. The Kings found themselves in yet another overtime game and came out with a win.
Justin Williams was the hero yet again, as the Rangers failed to clear the puck from their defensive zone and Williams took advantage, slotting it past Henrik Lundqvist to send L.A. into a state of ecstasy.
The New York Rangers left the Staples Center tonight disheartened. They took an early 2-0 lead, but seemed to be outmatched heading into the later stages of the game, including only three shots in the third period. The Kings had 20.
The Rangers got off to a quick start, when Benoit Pouliot and Carl Hagelin combined for a two-minute salvo late in the first. The Kings found themselves in a familiar place, but being down 2-0 was something they’ve overcame plenty of times this postseason.
Kyle Clifford would score his first goal of these playoffs for the Kings to cut the deficit to one before the first intermission.
Then, Drew Doughty scored a wonder-goal in the second period, as he slid the puck through his legs to dodge a defender and then through Lundqvists’ arm into the net to bring the game level.
The Kings stayed on top of the Rangers for the rest of the game, applying tons of pressure to the Rangers’ zone. Lundqvist denied the Kings all night long, keeping the smaller Rangers in the game.
The Rangers’ speed was always a threat to the Kings’ defense, as they looked like they were unable to cope at times. The speed of New York could be a potential danger area for the rest of the series, and is an area the Rangers will look to exploit.
Jonathan Quick, who was brilliant throughout, had a crucial save on a one-on-one late in the third period to send it into overtime. With the game heading into overtime, the L.A. faithful had to be confident that the Kings would continue to be the Kings and come through.
And come through they did. Williams scored 4:36 into overtime after the Rangers failed to clear the puck out of their zone. Williams sent the puck to the top left and the buzzer immediately followed.
With the goal, Williams now has a total of 73 points in 111 career playoff games, and the Kings are three wins away from being Stanley Cup champions.
Game 1 winners are 57-17 in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Kings look to use that statistic to fuel them on to bringing home their second Stanley Cup in three years.
With two world-class goalies between the sticks, you can be assured this will be a low-scoring series with clear-cut chances at a minimum. The Kings found themselves a bit sluggish in the early going; they need to shake that off if they are to avoid falling behind early yet again.
It would be a lot easier on themselves and their fans if they were to play with a lead, for once.
Game 2 is Saturday at 4 p.m. at Staples Center.