Few things in sports are more enjoyable than playoff hockey. The only thing that could possibly be better is overtime playoff hockey, and that’s exactly what we got in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The Los Angeles Kings managed to prevail over the New York Rangers, 3-2, thanks to a Justin Williams goal four minutes and 36 seconds into overtime in what was an incredibly exciting series opener.
Game 1 saw the Rangers take a quick 2-0 lead, an ideal situation for a team with the playoffs' best goalie in Henrik Lundqvist in front of the net. Yet the Kings proved their resilience once again, battling back with three unanswered goals to take the series lead.
Lundqvist knows his team missed out on a great opportunity to steal Game 1 on the road, but he quickly moved on to Game 2, telling the Associated Press, via Sports Illustrated, “We were looking to get the first win here, but we'll try it again in the next one.”
Hockey fans can only hope Game 2 is equally thrilling. Here's all the essential information for Game 2.
Series: 1-0 Kings
When: Saturday, June 7, at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Heading into Game 2, the Kings have to feel good about their chances. They came back from a two-goal deficit on a goalie who doesn’t give up many goals and managed to win despite Lundqvist’s 40 saves.
They proved that fatigue wasn’t a factor after playing three consecutive Game 7s. Jonathan Quick was shaky to start the game but didn’t allow a goal after the first period. If the Kings can squeeze a couple of goals past Lundqvist on Saturday, a commanding 2-0 series lead could be in their sights.
Who will win Game 2?
But perception works both ways, and the Rangers can draw a lot of positives from Game 1. New York was outshot 41-25 in regulation, including 20-3 in the third period alone, but only lost by one in overtime. The Rangers aren’t going to lose many games when Lundqvist saves 40 shots, and the team should expect a similar performance from the goalie in Game 2 because, well, that’s what he’s done all postseason.
New York should take comfort in the fact that it scored two quick and early goals against the Kings. It was Los Angeles’ offense, not New York's attack, that was praised in the days leading up to the series. But the Rangers know they can put the puck in the net, so expect them to do so in Game 2 against Quick, who has had his troubles in the 2014 playoffs.
The Rangers were in a similar situation when they won the Stanley Cup in 1994, as ESPN Stats & Info points out:
A good omen for the @NYRangers? The Rangers lost Game 1 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final 3-2 in OT as well.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 5, 2014
Only time will tell how this year's Final will end after the Rangers dropped Game 1.
Up 2-0 with Lundqvist in goal, the Rangers should have won Game 1. But they will have no trouble putting the series opener behind them. Lundqvist won’t let the puck into the net, and the Rangers offense will score one goal in the second period. That will be all they need for a Game 2 victory and a series knotted at 1-1.
Final Score: Rangers 1, Kings 0
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