Stanley Cup Finals Game One: Rangers 2 – Kings 3 OT
If the rest of the Stanley Cup Finals are going to be anything like Game One, we are in for a treat. After the 3-2 OT win for the Kings, they now have the 1-0 series lead and have maintained their home-ice advantage. Not to bad considering the Kings haven’t won a playoff overtime game at home since 2001.
The Rangers started things off and got on the board twice in the opening period. Benoit Pouliot scored his fourth goal of the postseason with six minutes left on the clock and Carl Hagelin scored just two minutes later on a shorthanded goal. But with just two and a half left in the first, Kyle Clifford would score his first goal of the playoffs, bringing the Kings a goal closer at the end of one.
After Drew Doughty scored his fifth goal of the playoffs just six minutes into the second, we wouldn’t see another goal for the remainder or regular time.
Justin Williams has continually been there for the Kings when they need a goal late. After tallying two points in Game Seven against Chicago, it was again Williams who scored in overtime on Wednesday to give the Kings the win.
The Rangers started off hot, scoring the first two goals of the game. However, this is the Kings third game in the 2014 where they have come back from a two-goal deficit. The other two were in the conference finals against the Blackhawks, including that Game Seven when Williams was the hero.
Despite the early success for the Rangers, things slowed down for them throughout the remainder of the game as the Kings kicked it up on defense. New York had 27 shots on goal, but 13 of them were in the first period. The Kings, on the other hand, had 42 total shots on goal, including a 20 in the third. Even though he walked away with the loss, Henrik Lundqvist had 40 saves and a .930 save percentage. Jonathon Quick was nearly as effective, stopping 25 shots with a .926 save percentage.
The teams will now get ready for Game Two on Saturday night. Staples Center was packed with 18,399 fans on Wednesday, which is great for one of the biggest markets in the nation that isn’t typically known for it’s hockey success. The irony might just be that the only market larger is New York, where fans will certainly fill up MSG for Game Three on Monday. The question is, will that game pit two teams against one another at 1-1, or will the Kings have a commanding 2-0 lead? Before the puck drops in any of these future games, check back with sportspicks.com for handicapper insight into the series.
After their Game One win, the Kings are favored to win the Stanley Cup at 10/17 odds. You can’t count the Rangers out just yet, as they sit at 3/2.