Kings vs. Devils: Game 1 Highlights, Twitter Reaction and Analysis
Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final was exactly what you would expect from the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils: low scoring and gritty.
Colin Fraser opened the scoring 9:56 in to the first period on a one-timer that Martin Brodeur probably should have gotten a pad on. Either way, it found the back of the net, slipping past Brodeur's right pad.
Anton Volchenkov sent one into the back of the net to tie the game at one apiece with just over a minute left in the second stanza. Jonathan Quick let up a long rebound he probably should have corralled, which led to the goal. It came when the Devils finally started to put some pressure on, the first time they had done so all game.
Early in the third, the Devils put a puck in the net. Unfortunately, it wasn't with a stick. Zach Parise swiped the puck in with his hand after Quick made a fantastic save, and the refs rightfully waived it off immediately upon review.
The Kings ruled the first two periods of the game but gave way to the Devils for the first half of the third period. It seemed like the Devils' dam was about to break in the final 10 minutes of the last stanza, but Brodeur and the Devils were able to hold.
The final note in this one came at the 8:13 mark when Anze Kopitar ripped a shot past Brodeur on a breakaway that was spurned by a perfect pass from Justin Williams, as the Kings continued their impressive run through the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Tweets of the Night
Actor Wil Wheaton shared his thoughts on the first two periods of the series:
This Kings fan wasn't happy with his team's strategy in the final period:
Are the Kings just waiting for Marty to fall asleep? They should reassess this plan pretty soon.— Jon Lustig (@jonlustig) May 31, 2012
You, sir, are spot on with that evaluation:
If the #Devils lose this game it's not because they didn't get plenty of quality chances this period.— Steve (@TheSteamer) May 31, 2012
Brodeur turned back the clock in the third period:
A 40 year old stackin' pads like he's 20! Batman bless Marty Brodeur! @NHLDevils vs Kings - 1 min left in 3rd period. Tied score 1 -1!— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) May 31, 2012
Grades for Key Kings Players
Jonathan Quick: A
Quick only faced 17 shots in this tilt, but he made some crucial saves at the end of the second and early parts of the third. His back line had a lot of blocked shots and deflections, which made his job easier, but you can't take anything away from the young netminder in this one.
He made a couple great saves in the third, which led to Zach Parise needing to use his hand to put the puck in the back of the net. Quick didn't let up a goal off a shot all night, as Volchenkov's score went off his upper body.
Dustin Brown: C-
Brown was virtually invisible in this one after registering 16 points in the Kings' 14 playoff games. His name was hardly called all night except for his goalie interference on Brodeur 12:19 in the opening period. He could only muster two shots in nearly 20:09 of ice time.
He had a few big hits in the first but did nothing positive for the rest of the game.
Grades for Key Devils Players
Martin Brodeur: B+
Like Quick, Brodeur didn't face all that many shots for most of this one until later in the third. He looked a bit off at the beginning but turned his game up in the second half of the final period. The Prudential Center crowd chanted his name for a bit after he steered away a handful of shots during a murderous Kings forecheck.
He was brilliant for most of this game but stood no chance on the final goal, as Kopitar put the puck where nobody could have guessed he would on that breakaway—under Brodeur's right pad.
Ilya Kovalchuk: D
Kovalchuk didn't have it tonight, as he looked extremely tired all game. What made it worse was the fact that his teammates were looking for him all night too.
He recorded just one shot, one missed shot and a giveaway in 21:13 of ice time. Not a good showing for a player with a contract as big as his. He took a shot wide in overtime when the Devils had a huge opportunity to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Deciding Factor: Anze Kopitar
There's not much else that decided this game other than Kopitar's goal 8:13 into the first overtime period. Drew Doughty moved the puck up to Justin Williams, who made a perfect spinning pass to Kopitar, who was on his own skating into Devils territory.
Kopitar waited, dangled and waited some more before ripping a shot under Brodeur's right pad for the game-winner. He finished with one goal on four shots in just over 22 minutes of ice time.
Game MVP: Jonathan Quick
Quick stopped all but one of the 17 shots that were sent his way in this one, but he was at his best when the Kings needed him to be. He steered aside a prolonged onslaught by the Devils early in the third period, and it paid off, as the Kings were able to win in extra time.
The two teams meet at the Prudential Center on Saturday, June 2, at 8 p.m. ET, as the Kings will be looking to take a stranglehold on the seven-game series. Los Angeles already stole home-ice advantage from New Jersey, and if they are able to win two straight, we could be looking at another easy series for Quick and company.
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