A Day in the NHL, Chase for the Cup: Kings Strike First in Cup Final vs Devils

May 29; Newark, NJ, USA; A general view of the Stanley Cup on display during media day for the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals between the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

The Night that Was:

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals got underway in New Jersey Wednesday when the Devils hosted the Los Angeles Kings as the teams faced off for the first time since October. Neither team looked too sharp off the bat though, as things played out more like they were feeling each other out, although there was some noticeably physical play. The Kings did get on the board in the first period though, as Jordan Nolan found Colin Fraser in front of the net for a one-timer and Fraser’s first of the playoffs. Neither team gained much momentum through the next period and a half, and it took a lucky bounce off of Slava Voynov at 18:48 in the second period for the tying goal to roll in. It was Anton Volchenkov’s first of the playoffs as Jonathan Quick made the initial save but the rebound bounced in off of his defender. While the offense barely showed up for either side during the first two periods (shots were 14-8 in favour of LA), the teams went shot-for-shot in an exciting third period but neither could score as Quick and Martin Brodeur stood tall. Things transitioned into overtime and as the action continued, Justin Williams got the puck in the neutral zone and as two defenders converged on him, he fed Anze Kopitar who pulled off a beautiful move on the breakaway and beat Brodeur to give the Kings a 2-1 win and a 1-0 series lead. Outside of the goal scorers, the Kings got huge contributions from Drew Doughty (1 assist, 28:15 TOI) and Jarret Stoll (16:09 TOI, 9/10 on faceoffs).

Kings 2 vs Devils 1 – Kings lead series 1-0

What’s on Tonight?

The Devils will look to tie the series back up on Saturday when things resume in New Jersey. The Kings and Devils get underway at 8pm Eastern.

The Injury Bug:

-Before the series began, Devils’ defender Henrik Tallinder said that he’s ready to re-enter the lineup, and it’s just a matter of Pete DeBoer putting him in. Tallinder has been out since January due to a blood clot but has medical clearance to play.

News and Notes

-In the news of the day, the Detroit Red Wings announced that Nicklas Lidstrom would be holding a press conference on Thursday, where it’s expected he will announce his retirement. Lidstrom won seven Norris Trophies, four Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe trophy, and had 1,142 career points in 1,564 games. The Red Wings’ captain was drafted in the third round, 53rd overall in 1989.

-Martin Hanzal, Mike Smith, Keith Yandle, and Shane Doan will not be disciplined for their actions following a Game 5 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Hanzal and Smith both made threatening gestures and actions towards officials, while Doan and Yandle were confronted about their remarks on the officiating.

-A number of prospects signed entry-level deals yesterday. Nathan Beaulieu and the Montreal Canadiens came to an agreement on his deal, while the Vancouver Canucks signed Niagara IceDogs (OHL) centre Alex Friesen.

-Some news from the commissioner as Gary Bettman said he expects the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes to be finalized soon, and he expects to begin working on a new CBA with the Players’ Association in the coming weeks.

Playoff 3-Stars

  1. Anze Kopitar, F – LAK: 1 G, 1 GWG, +1, 14/24 on faceoffs
  2. Drew Doughty, D – LAK: 1 A, +2, 28:15 TOI
  3. Jarret Stoll, F – LAK: 16:09 TOI, 9/10 on faceoffs

Tags: Los Angeles Kings New Jersey Devils Playoffs Stanley Cup Finals

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