Newark, NJ — The Kings road streak is still alive as the Kings defeated the Devils in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals in New Jersey Wednesday night. The Kings are now three wins away from winning their first Stanley Cup since their inception in 1967.
Anze Kopitar scored the prettiest goal of the night 8:13 into the first overtime to give the Kings a 2-1 victory. Kopitar got behind the Devils defense , and he had a breakaway on Martin Brodeur. Kopitar deked Brodeur slidding the puck underneath Brodeur’s pads. Kopitar was going to be a factor for the Kings in this series, but the team did not figure he would make such an impact in Game 1.
The Kings opened the scoring early on in the first period, when Colin Fraser put the puck past Martin Brodeur. Fraser’s goal was his first of the playoffs. The goal happened when Andy Greene of the Devils coughed the puck up behind his net. This allowed Jordan Nolan to pass it to Fraser for the goal. The Kings were dominating all aspects of the game.
However, things changed with about 1:12 left in the second period. The Devils were starting to assert themselves on the ice. Defenseman Anton Volchenkov took a shot from the point and it deflected off Kings Defenseman Slava Voynov’s chest and past Quick to tie the game. From that point in the game the Devils were the better team.
The sellout crowd of 17,625 that filled Prudential Center was electricity prior to puck drop. However, they did not have much to cheer for on the ice prior to the Devils scoring late in the second period. The game overall was very sloppy and neither team put in a good performance in the anxious with their team as the Devils only mustered three shots on Jonathan Quick in the second period. The Devils fore-check disappeared at times during the game. The Devils inconsistent play did not allow their fans to get into the game. In the previous three rounds , the crowd at the Prudential Center was energetic during every game played at home. While there is a feeling out process between the team, the fans should be into the game because it is the Stanley cup .
Both teams know heading into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals they need to play better. Devils captain Zach Parise in a post game press conference said, “We have to play better in all aspects of the game. We made it way too easy for them. We turned the puck over at the blue line. We didn’t dump it right. It wasn’t our best game.”
Patrik Elias echoed similar comments by saying, “Honestly, we didn’t deserve to win tonight. This honestly was our worst game of the playoffs.” The Devils know they need to capitalize on their chances in the next game. Devils coach Peter DeBoer knows his team can find another level in their play.
Also, The Kings were not satisfied with their play. Even though they won the game, they know as a team they can improve. The hero of Game 1 Anze Kopitar felt his team came out slower than normal, but credited the fourth line for energizing the Kings. The Kings know they can improve in several aspects of their game going into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Kings all season long grind out victories and Game 1 was no exception. As Jarrett Stoll put it after the game, “You just find a way to win the game any way possible. “A big goal, a big save, whatever the case may be. Whether it’s a road win or a home win, it doesn’t matter, they’re all you need 16 of them.”
The Kings extended their winning streak to 9-0 on the road. If the Kings win on Saturday night they would tie a record for most road wins in a single postseason. Jonathan Quick has recorded his 11th consecutive victory on the road passing the mark set by Islanders goalie Billy Smith in 1979-80.
The Kings improve their record to 3-0 in overtime this postseason. The Devils fall to a mark of 4-2 in overtime. This game marked the 24th overtime game of the 2012 playoffs. The most overtime games played in one post season was in 1993, when 28 games were contested in overtime.
This was the first Game 1 overtime since the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals, when the visiting Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. Teams winning game one of the finals have gone on to win the Cup 76 percent of the time since the league went to the best of seven format in 1939.
However Boston, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Detroit went on to win the Cup after dropping the first game of the final.
Game 2 is set for Saturday Night at 8pm from Prudential Center in New Jersey. Look for this series to be a battle as both teams matchup well.