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Justin (over) time: Williams the OT hero as Kings take Game 1

Jun 4, 2014, 11:27 PM EDT

On Wednesday night, Mr. Game 7 was Mr. Game 1.

Justin Williams, the NHL’s all-time leader in Game 7 scoring, netted the overtime winner to give the L.A. Kings a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center.

The goal came just 4:36 into the extra frame and is one Rangers alternate captain Dan Girardi will want to forget. His defensive-zone turnover landed ended up on the stick of Williams, who made no mistake sniping past Henrik Lundqvist for his eighth goal of the postseason.

Williams’ winner came after an entertaining regulation period loaded with scoring chances.

The Rangers took a 2-0 lead late in the first period, capitalizing on a pair of L.A. mistakes in less than two minutes. The first came when Benoit Pouliot took advantage of a Drew Doughty turnover and buried his breakaway chance past Jonathan Quick; 102 seconds later, Carl Hagelin scored in a somewhat similar fashion when he sped past Slava Voynov for a breakaway chance that was saved by Quick, but deflected in off the Kings blueliner.

Undeterred, the Kings clawed back and cut the lead to one when Kyle Clifford scored his first goal of the playoffs with 2:30 left in the first. That gave L.A. life, and it carried the momentum into the second period when Drew Doughty knotted the score at two, with a nifty individual effort.

It was almost fitting tonight’s game went to OT. It was the 24th overtime game of this postseason, and the second consecutive Stanley Cup Final to open with overtime after Chicago and Boston went to triple-OT in Game 1 last year. It was also the third time in four games Los Angeles went to an extra session.

For the Rangers, tonight’s loss will be disheartening. They had a tremendous chance to gain a split of the games in Los Angeles and won’t be happy about blowing a two-goal lead. The Blueshirts also squandered a solid effort from Lundqvist, who stopped 40 of 43 shots.

For the Kings, the win continued their postseason resiliency narrative. A team that trailed in both of its first two series and three times in Game 7 against Chicago once again found a way to rally and emerge the victor, and is now just three wins away from its second Stanley Cup in three seasons.

  1. ntvd7 - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    Kings in 5

    They looked great out there

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      Way to tune in halfway through the game.

    • hrudey - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:35 PM

      Third straight game one in the Finals to go to OT (Kopitar’s game winner on the breakway).

      Terrible start from the Kings, and game effort from the Rangers, but this postseason the Kings going down two goals is almost meaningless. Both teams had their chances and that’s about all you can ask for. Can’t wait for game two!

    • nightfireop - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:54 PM

      rangers were alot closer than experts imagined. balanced game.

      • aldog83 - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:57 AM

        Let’s see how Rangers react to adversity.

        This game was the Rangers to win.

        Lundqvist lived up to his name of the KING.

        But the “KINGS” continue to be amazingly (Historically) resilient.

        Rangers looked good.

        But the KINGS closed when it counted.

        I’ll take 3 more wins like that!!!

        GKG!!!!!!!!

  2. steelcity333 - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    Who else would score it?

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:33 PM

      Is he legitimately infallible in the postseason? Drug test him for Ziggy’s stardust or something.

  3. joey4id - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    Lundqvist played well, but not good enough. He wasn’t able to shut the door with a 2 goal lead, whereas Quick was able to do it with a 2 goal deficit. I’ll say it again. Lundqvist will have to be great during every minute of every game if the Rangers want a chance to win the SC.

    • stakex - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      I don’t agree with you often Joey, but that’s dead on.

      Lundqvist looked stellar late in the game, but both of the Kings goals in regulation were stoppable pucks…. especially the second one. Stoppable pucks can’t go in if the Rangers are going to win.

    • hrudey - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      He shut the door for a long time, kind of like Quick in ’12. But the Rangers weren’t able to get that third goal they needed, either when it was 2-0 or late after it was tied. At some point, though, even the greatest goalies in the world will be overwhelmed at some point if they can’t get some goal support. Hasek may have been the closest example of a goalie who singlehandedly almost won a Cup, and who knows what happens if the Hull skate in the crease goes differently, but in the end even that’s not enough. The question will be whether the Rangers can get enough offense without sacrificing their defense, and can they find a way to not get worn down as the games and series go on.

  4. jamesmfitzpatrick - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    Biggest sequence of the game was the pass by St. Louis that Moore couldn’t handle with a wide open net that would have made it 3-0 followed immediately by the first LA goal.

  5. stakex - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:42 PM

    The worst thing that happened to the Rangers was getting an early 2-0 lead. They looked very good in the first period when they were pushing the attack and using their speed to pressure the Kings. Once they were up 2-0 though, they clearly backed off a bit… and when they needed to kick it back in later in the game, they were doing it against a very good team with all the momentum going against them.

    Still though, despite the Kings control of the play later in the game, the Rangers looked very good at times and generated a lot of chances. We also saw that, despite a lot of pressure, the Kings didn’t score with the same ease they did most of the playoffs. That’s a good sign for the Rangers, although the first two goals Lundqvist allowed were a bit questionable….

    Now as a bit of an aside, I REALLY wish the Rangers didn’t throw a long and expensive contract extension at Girardi. That’s not a reflex based on him throwing this game away single handedly either…. I was very much against it at the time as well. He can be very solid on defense, but he is not nearly as good under AV as he was Torts. Not to mention his puck moving ability lags far behind his defensive ability, and has made him into a turn over machine in the playoffs. That’s a HUGE problem when you are on the ice against the other teams top players more time than not.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:16 AM

      AV likes to play defense whenever his team gets a lead. He’d always put the Canucks on a leash when they got a lead and sometimes that came back to bite the team in the butt, like when they lost two series to the Hawks. Better to the let the team keep pushing and get the 3rd and 4th goals and really put away a team than just let them hang around only down 2….

      AV is already being outcoached by Sutter. No surprise there.

  6. idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    If only Henry’s pads were bigger or if there were 5 teammates turtled in front of him … there’s NO WAY that goes in the net!

  7. Professor Fate - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    Kardiac Kings are at it again, determined to put me in a coma. I’m breaking out my late brother-in-law’s old oxygen tanks. That stuff should still be good, right? On to game two. If this keeps up I might be dead before the series is over. Go, Kings, go!

  8. dubblelznhell - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    K, shouldn’t talk about Lundkvist holding his own. He stopped 93 percent of 43 shots. His save percentage was slightly higher than Quick’s. And while I do hope the Rangers lose this series (since they best my Habs), he arguably played better than Quick who wasn’t tested nearly as often. Was a good game, but if NY can score more on fewer chances with Henrik playing like he did tonight, this series will go 7.

    • hrudey - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      On the other hand, all three Kings goals were scored by Kings players on shots that beat Lundqvist cleanly. The Rangers beat Quick once, and his defenseman beat him once. That’s one of those goals that you credit the Rangers for creating the opportunity and taking it to the net, but there’s no way you hold that one against Quick.

  9. phillyphanatic77 - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:02 AM

    The Kings just have so many clutch playoff performers, it’s almost unfair. The Rangers were impressive at times but they can’t let LA control play like they did in the 3rd and OT. Lundqvist can only do so much.

    Thank you so much Bobby Clarke for dealing Justin Williams… he’s only gone on to be one of the best playoff performers of all time. And Danny Markov was such an integral addition.

  10. blomfeld - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    HAPPINESS = BEING A FAN OF THE LA KINGS !!! :) :) :)

    Friends, just like when you’re on a blind date, it was a given tonight that we Kings would be ‘tentative’ at first eh ? … heck we haven’t seen these people since November ! Regardless, after just a ‘little’ conversation, the dye was already cast for that which would be …

    HAPPINESS “3” vs RANGERS 2 !!!!

    you’ve just gotta love it man !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :)

  11. dolphincult - Jun 5, 2014 at 1:10 AM

    Well its been a great season of reading comments and articles on the site but I am done for the season. Enjoy the games and idiot joey’s daily editorial after every article as well as blomfeld’s completely retarded and useless videos. I have had my fill.

  12. 311sucks - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:23 AM

    there where way too many breakaways in this game :o

  13. billiam55 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    king fans can thank Girardi. what a stupid stupid turnover. still cant believe he did that

  14. sportsfan69 - Jun 6, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    Herr Blomfeld,

    The Rangers will make the proper adjustments around Kharkov (AV-Mannstein), encircle your Kings for a game two victory. The key goal will from Tiger Company C- Nash/Whittman. The big guy will crash through LA’s defense with his huge frame. Let’s Go Rangers!

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