NYR Suffer Two Turnovers, One Held Stick and A Loss

LAK OT WINNER

Justin Williams celebrates OT winner.

Justin Williams celebrates OT winner.

There was a lot of anticipation of the first game of the series with the Kings playing 21 games to get here and the Rangers playing 20. Not to mention Wayne Gretzky, a former player of both teams, was present to drop the first puck.

The Rangers dictated the pace from the very first faceoff. But the Kings also came out hard, putting up big hits. Although the Rangers went up 2-0, the Kings came back easily to take the lead in the series. The team that has won Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals has gone on to win the Cup 77% of the time since 1939.

LOS ANGELES KINGS 3 VS NEW YORK RANGERS 2 (OT)

The Rangers scored the first goal of the game when Benoit Pouliot knocked the puck away from LA all-star defender Drew Doughty and created a breakaway situation which allowed him to then beat Quick.

14:34 into the first period Mats Zuccarello took the Rangers first penalty and about 30 seconds later Carl Hagelin had the teams first short handed goal of the series. Hagelin was able to create a one-on-one situation and get a shot off that was originally saved by Quick, but then knocked into the net when Slava Vovnov’s momentum carried him into the puck.

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO8z4jG32Qw”]Game Seven Highlights – [/su_youtube]

A few minutes later the Kings answered off a Derek Stepan turnover. A Jeff Carter pass from behind the net was deflected beautifully by Clifford. It was Clifford’s first playoff goal since April 2011. The Rangers finished the period with 13 shots and the Kings had 14.

From the beginning of the second period it was clear the momentum of the game had shifted and the Kings were now dictating the pace. Doughty, looking to make up for his defensive mistake in the first period, scored just 4 minutes into the second.  Take nothing away from the incredible individual effort by him as he had a nice toe drag move around  Dorsett.  But he would’ve never got the shot off if Kings forward Mike Richards doesn’t hold Stralman’s stick to his body.

Both teams had power play chances during the second period, but neither team could make it count. Shots at the end of the period: Rangers 9, LA 7.

The Kings dominated the third period outshooting the Rangers 20-3. Much of the period was played in the Rangers zone, causing Lundqvist to come up with numerous saves, keeping the Rangers in the game. Ten minutes went by without the Rangers even getting a shot off. Each aspect of the two teams has been compared and while many believe that the netminders of each team is ultimately a wash, Lundqvist proved otherwise during the third period. Boyle took a penalty that would end up carrying over into OT as the Kings couldn’t find the back of the net.

However, 4:36 into overtime, Justin Williams, a player familiar with the pressure of OT shot one past Lundqvist. The puck bounced magically over Girardi’s stick who panicked. In haste he tried to play it off the boards only to turn it over and watch Justin Williams come in alone on Lundqvist. No mistake was made as he Williams picked a corner and ended it for the Kings.

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6w0brGHl74″]Game Seven Highlights – [/su_youtube]

INJURY NEWS

Cam Talbot did not dress for the first game tonight. His injury is undisclosed, but Vigneault says he is day to day.

Robyn Regehr has been out with a knee injury since game one against Anaheim and is close to returning. He was actually cleared but Kings coach Darryl Sutter wants him to get in more practice.

PREVIEW GAME 2

Game 2 takes place at 7PM EST at the Staples Center. This is an important game for the Rangers, as they want to leave LA with a win and so they will come out gunning. Their mistakes in Game 1 are not unfixable.

Maybe it was too much time off, but they need to play a 60 minute game and as Vigneault said at the beginning of the game “one shift at a time.” Goal scoring has been an issue for the Rangers throughout the season and as much as Lundqvist can stop shots on the other end, you cannot win a hockey game without scoring. This includes making the power play count.

The Kings have proved they are a good team from behind and a good team under pressure. However, that is a  dangerous way to play. Fatigue could become an issue for the Kings as they have played 3 seven game series, with OT games in both Game 7 of their last series and Game 1 of this series.

The Kings will look to score the first goal on Saturday to get a lead and maintain it. This is the Stanley Cup Finals so no team is giving up easily. I expect this series to go at least 6 games, if not the full 7.