Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings is in the books, and if the other games play out like last night, we are in for an exciting series. With this post we will take a look at what we learned about both teams after the first game in Los Angeles.
- Justin Williams Is Captain Clutch: Okay, maybe this isn’t something we all just learned last night. Kings forward, Kyle Clifford said it best in his post game comments: “We’ve always known he’s ‘Captain Clutch’”. Williams scored the game winning goal 4:36 into the overtime period, his second game winning goal of the post-season. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty had this to say about Williams after the game:
I’ve said this many times: Justin is the most underrated player on our team by a mile, he doesn’t get enough credit for what he does. There are two guys on this team that I want to give the puck to, and that’s him and [Anze Kopitar]. When they have the puck plays happen.
-Courtesy of NHL.com
- Power Play Woes: Both teams had some difficulty on the power play. The Rangers went 0-4 on the man advantage and the Kings went one worse by going 0-5. The Kings also surrendered a short handed goal 15 minutes in the first to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. Los Angeles was sloppy early in the game and could not contain the Rangers speedy play.
- Luck Can Change: All of the luck was with the New York Rangers in the first period: Benoit Pouliot found himself in the perfect position for a breakaway goal to give New York a 1-0 lead. Carl Hagelin‘s goal was at first a Jonathan Quick save, but the rebound bounced off defenseman Slava Voynov and into the net. In the third period, it was the Los Angeles Kings who had luck on their side. Hagelin found himself on a breakaway and took the best shot he could with a rolling puck. Jonathan Quick was able to make what he himself deemed a “lucky save”.
- The Rangers Got Smothered In The Third: While the Kings did all they could to get the go ahead goal in the third, the New York Rangers were completely shut down in the third period. The Rangers went nearly 12 minutes without a shot on goal in the third, and the Kings ended up out shooting New York in the third by a count of 20-3. Hagelin nearly made the shot count irrelevant, but the Rangers cannot allow the Kings to dictate the game in the third period of a tie game.
- Don’t Count The Rangers Out: Los Angeles has won six consecutive series when taking the 1-0 lead, and they still remain the favorite to win the Stanley Cup. However, the Rangers had the Kings on the ropes last night. Los Angeles got the win, but we have yet to see the Kings play the quality game they are capable of. As long as the Kings are making sloppy mistakes, the Rangers have a chance to extend this series.