King Maker: Anze Kopitar Scores OT Winner, L.A. Takes Game 1

The Kings open the Stanley Cup Finals with a 2-1 overtime win over New Jersey.

Also: Kings, Devils meet the media Tuesday

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Stanley Cup Finals TV Ratings: Game 1 Ratings Down 25 Percent Despite OT Finish

An overtime in Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals was not enough to drive ratings near last year's levels.

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Los Angeles Kings Dodge Bullet In Stanley Cup Finals Game 1

Although the Kings generally had the better of play, Jonathan Quick was caught scrambling and the Devils had several choice opportunities that could have turned Game 1 the other way.

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New Jersey Devils To Make Line Changes In Game 2?

The Devils were outworked by the Kings for much of Game 1 on Wednesday night, and it was especially obvious when the trio of Ilya Kovalchuk, Adam Henrique and Alexei Ponikarovsky stepped on the ice. Devils blog In Lou We Trust explains, noting that they expect some changes in Peter DeBoer's lineup come Saturday night.

I'm anticipating DeBoer changing lines for Game 2 because the ones used tonight were just not good. The unit of Adam Henrique, Kovalchuk, and Alexei Ponikarovsky were particularly bad. Henrique was invisible at times, Kovalchuk was just poor with the puck, and Ponikarovsky was either panicking or completely lost on plays.

All three combined for three shots on net tonight and two came from Henrique. Kovalchuk needs to get more than just one shot on net; and Ponikarovsky needs to relax and play anything he resembled during the regular season. It was hard watching them at times.

Stick with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub for full Stanley Cup finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles.

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Stanley Cup Finals 2012: Kings Outworked Devils For Much Of Game 1

Both teams in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals are there because of their aggressive play. They get in hard on the puck in the offensive end of the ice, pinch their defensemen and play a forward-thinking style. According to Kings blog Jewels From The Crown, Los Angeles had its forecheck working stronger than the Devils did for much of Game 1.

The Kings had their active forecheck working much better than the Devils throughout, but it didn't lead to very many chances. After the Devils scored, the Kings started to activate their defensemen a little more in order to generate more shots. This lead to the game opening up in the 3rd period. The Devils were able to effectively counter and out-pressured the Kings for the first time.

The game may have opened up in the third, and it did feel like the tide had turned in New Jersey's favor by the latter half of the period and overtime, but Jonathan Quick was great for Los Angeles down the stretch. In the end, it was that active forecheck of the Devils that ultimately did them in on Anze Kopitar's game-winning goal as two players collapsed on the puck carrier, leaving the Kings' best offensive threat wide open for a breakaway opportunity.

The Kings credited that to simple hard work.

"I think we've out-worked teams," Quick said. "I think whoever wins this series is going to be the team that out-works the other."

"Yeah, I mean, every time you get on the road you need a team effort," Kopitar said. "It showed again tonight. We had four lines going, six D. Jonathan was great at net for us again. We've got to continue doing that."

Stick with SB Nation's NHL hub for full Stanley Cup finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles.

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New Jersey Devils Leave With Nothing But Missed Opportunities In Game 1

The New Jersey Devils had the game on their sticks more than a few times Wednesday night in Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals but, aside from a lucky bounce off of Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, they had little to show for it in a 2-1 overtime loss marred by a clumsy defensive mix-up and a bunch of missed nets.

However, head coach Peter DeBoer was not acting as though his team deserved to win. Quite the opposite.

"You know, it would have been nice to get a bounce. But I don't believe we deserved to win tonight. That's the bottom line."

He added that, while the defensive mix-up that caused the game was not his team's best moment.

"We're playing to win the game. I don't make any apologies for that. You know, we made a mistake. They capitalized."

The problem, of course, was that the Devils made a lot of key mistakes throughout this game that they very well could have stolen from Los Angeles Wednesday night. Considering L.A. remains an undefeated 9-0 on the road this post-season, every win you can get against them is a steal at this point. The Devils had a chance to get the winning goal at a few points throughout the third and overtime, as well as a myriad of mistakes early on.

David Clarkson missed the net on two clear chances in the first period on solid passing plays. Zach Parise, in a desperation move, swept the puck into the net with his glove while prone in the third period. Mark Fayne missed a golden rebound opportunity in overtime with what was almost a sure thing had he gotten the shot off cleanly. Ilya Kovalchuk had open chances in overtime and went for deflections and rebounds instead of attempting a straight shot of the puck.

The winner of Game 1 in the Stanley Cup Finals has won 55 of the last 72 Stanley Cups. Despite two of the last three winners having lost the opener (Pittsburgh, 2009; Boston, 2011), that's still a 76.4 percent efficiency rating up against New Jersey.

Coach DeBoer remains optimistic, however, and he has a little bit of recent history to back it up.

"The good news is we started in the same hole against Philly, we started in the same hole against the Rangers. We responded to the situation in the right way the last two rounds, and I expect the same.

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Stanley Cup Finals 2012: Devils Coach Says Game 1 Loss Deserved

If there's anything that the New Jersey Devils can be happy about after their 2-1 overtime loss in Game 1, it's that they had their chances to win the game. They were the better team in the overtime period and for spurts in the latter period of the game but, when all was said and done, they just weren't the better hockey team.

As head coach Pete DeBoer put it, they didn't deserve to win the game.

"You know, it would have been nice to get a bounce," DeBoer said. "But I don't believe we deserved to win tonight. That's the bottom line. That's what happened. If we had have won, we would have been sneaking one out."

It's certainly true. While the Devils controlled the tempo in overtime, they were brutally outworked in the second period, and DeBoer blames part of that on a slow, tentative start -- to be expected in the Cup Finals against a team you're unfamiliar with, but not ideal.

"They were good. They were off for a while. We knew they'd be good. I thought we were a little tentative early. Once we got comfortable, I thought we started to play better. We've got to be better than we were tonight."

Stick with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub for full Stanley Cup finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles.

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VIDEO: Anze Kopitar's OT Goal Gives Kings 1-0 Series Lead In Stanley Cup Finals

If you're the Los Angeles Kings and faced with a one-on-one situation -- just your forward and the opposing goaltender -- in overtime during the Stanley Cup Finals, one guy on your team would be the unanimous choice.

His name is Anze Kopitar, and that's exactly the situation he found himself in Wednesday night in Game 1. He beat Martin Brodeur with a forehand shot to end the game and put Los Angeles one step closer to the Stanley Cup.

Justin Williams made the play along the wall. The Devils got a bit aggressive along the wall with both Dainius Zubrus and Bryce Salvador overcommitting a bit, leaving Kopitar all alone to receive a gorgeous pass from Williams.

Devils coach Pete DeBoer said after the game that he doesn't apologize for playing that aggressive brand of hockey -- "We're in it to win the hockey game," he said -- and he shouldn't, because it's that style that allowed them to reach these Cup Finals. But at least for one night, it hurt them.

Stick with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub for full Stanley Cup finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles .

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Zach Parise Goal Waved Off Because You Can't Score With Your Hands

The fans aren't happy here in Newark, but this is absolutely the right call by the officials. Zach Parise knocked a loose puck into his own net with his hand, and ... well, that's not allowed. The goal was waved off by the officials and we're still tied at 1-1 in the third period.

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Parise never should have had the chance to knock the puck in with his hand. A first-shot attempt by the Devils should have beaten Jonathan Quick, but miraculously it stayed out of the net as Parise just couldn't get a firm handle on the shot.

Stick with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub for full Stanley Cup finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles .

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Devils Vs. Kings, Game 1: Patrik Elias Gets Lucky Bounce To Tie Game 2

Patrik Elias has probably had one of the more forgettable post-seasons of his career on an individual level. However, he's gotten himself some luck of late. He went six games between goals until his lucky skate-bounce goal in Game 5 against the Rangers. Now, toward the end of period two, he's gotten another bit of luck, with a goal off his body to tie up Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals. The goal was credited to Anton Volchenkov but would surely would not have happened without Elias' deflection.

The goal ended what was actually a mediocre period for New Jersey. They didn't get a shot for nearly 15 minutes in the second, but they've finally broke through. Goals like these almost convince a team to think it can't waste puck-luck while they still have it. Either way, the next goal may do it here in Newark.

Stick with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub for full Stanley Cup finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles .

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Dainius Zubrus Hits Jeff Carter As Devils Dial Up Physical Play

The New Jersey Devils have certainly been more physical in the opening few minutes of the second period, but it’s not really getting them anywhere. Through the first 6:14 of the period, New Jersey has zero shots on goal, while the Los Angeles Kings have created several scoring chances of their own.

But, hey, at least they’re playing tough. Dainius Zubrus leads all players in the hits department, and this one on Jeff Carter is certainly worthy of the highlight reel.

Legal? It looks as though Zubrus left his feet, so perhaps not. Still kind of awesome, though. Another look:

Stick with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub for full Stanley Cup finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles.

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CBC's Stanley Cup Finals Video Montage Is Awesome, As Predicted

CBC always knocks it out of the park with their playoff video montages, and this year's edition was no different. They showed a fantastic, chill-inducing montage prior to Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup finals between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night, and you'll want to watch it.

If you're a fan of this game, these videos will always get your blood flowing. You don't have to be a fan of the Kings or Devils, either, to appreciate the awesome comparisons made between the past and the present on each team. Or, in Martin Brodeur's case, both wrapped into one.

The best part? We get another one of these at the end of the postseason.

Stick with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub for full Stanley Cup finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles .

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Stanley Cup Finals 2012: Colin Fraser's Goal Gives Los Angeles Kings 1-0 Lead

The Los Angeles Kings have scored the first goal of the 2012 Stanley Cup finals. Colin Fraser's first goal of the playoffs has given the road team the 1-0 lead after a tentative start for both teams. Perhaps now that we have a goal scored, the clubs will be able to settle in a bit and focus on playing hockey.

The goal was all thanks to the phenomenal work of Jordan Nolan along the boards. He got in hard on the forecheck, forced the puck away from Andy Greene along the end boards and ultimately got it out in front, where Fraser was able to bury it behind Martin Brodeur.

Stick with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub for full Stanley Cup finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles .

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Prudential Center Crowd Amped Up Prior To Stanley Cup Finals Game 1

According to lifelong New Jersey Devils fan and fellow live-blogger Steve Lepore, this is the loudest he's ever heard the Prudential Center. That makes sense, of course, since it's also the building's first Stanley Cup finals game, but it's really impressive.

Fans in the upper reaches of the building -- the ones essentially touching the ceiling -- were given red glow sticks, creating a look that makes it seem like there's a fire burning. It's a cool idea and it absolutely works.

The rest of the crowd is equally as impressive. The red jerseys (on most) mixed with the white rally towels make for a very cool look, and of course, the building is just plain loud. See for yourself with a quick video shot from our vantage point inside the building:

Stick with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub for full Stanley Cup finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles .

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Stanley Cup Finals 2012: For Jonathan Quick, Playing Against Martin Brodeur Is Special

Jonathan Quick is a great goaltender, and he's firmly established himself as one of the best young goalies in the league over his last several seasons with the Los Angeles Kings. But playing against Martin Brodeur, a future Hall of Famer, in the Stanley Cup Finals? That still has to be pretty awesome for the 26-year-old Connecticut native.

"Probably pretty special for Quicky to have a matchup against somebody like Martin Brodeur, considering his career and what he's done in this league," Kings forward Dustin Brown said. "Goaltender is an interesting position because it's probably the one one‑on‑one matchup you can really isolate. I'm sure it's special for Quicky."

Quick doesn't necessarily agree with the one-on-one focus thing, but he does agree that facing one of the most successful goalies to play the game is fun.

"You know, obviously it's pretty cool playing against him," Quick said. "But, like I said earlier, it's about the teams. It's the Kings versus the Devils. It's not an individual sport, obviously."

Stick with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub for full Stanley Cup Finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles.

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Jonathan Quick's Reputation Not Affecting New Jersey Devils' Game 1 Prep

In their last series, the New Jersey Devils faced a Vezina Trophy-nominated goaltender with a sterling reputation in the midst of a fantastic regular season and post-season. That goalie shut them out in two of the first three games before New Jersey eventually got to him, taking four of the last five to win the Eastern Conference Final over Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers.

Heading into the Stanley Cup Finals, the Devils now will do battle against Jonathan Quick, a goaltender who has developed a sterling reputation of his own, after going 12-2 on the Kings' way to the Finals. However, the Devils took on Lundqvist six times and constantly spent the regular season and playoffs hearing about him in the New York media.

New Jersey hasn't faced Quick since October, and with the Kings out on the west coast, playing most of their games past 10 p.m. ET, are the Devils maybe not as affected by the Los Angeles netminder's reputation as they would have been with Lundqvist?

"He's pretty much been the talk of the last couple days" Devils captain Zach Parise said. "So if we didn't know much about him before, we do now."

Parise, however, doesn't deny that there are some resemblances between Quick and his counterpart in New York.

"Similar to Lundqvist, they both have had great seasons, and you gotta' make it hard on them."

Still, the fact remains: The Devils scored three goals in the first three games against the long-heralded Lundqvist and were shutout twice in that span. In the final three games of the series, they scored 10 on Lundqvist and won all three games. The Kings are a little more aggressive than the Rangers in terms of forecheck, and it might not be so easy to climb out of holes as it was against New York.

"When you get to the Conference Finals, every team has a great goalie," said forward Patrik Elias. "These guys have been playing great hockey, and they don't get scored on much."

On Quick in particular, Elias is impressed but feels the Devils can beat him.

"He's been solid for them. We know that some of the things that maybe we can exploit. Anytime you can have traffic in front of a goalie that's gonna' make it difficult for them."

Head coach Pete DeBoer echoed these sentiments and compared New Jersey's efforts to get to Quick to how they ended up beating Lundqvist.

"You have to get traffic, bodies, shots," DeBoer said. "You can't get frustrated. Lundqvist shut us out the first two [out of three] games of that series despite, I thought, a pretty significant territorial edge on our part. We stuck with it. We got rewarded for taking that approach against Lundqvist. We have to do the same thing here."

Stick with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub for full Stanley Cup Finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles.

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Stanley Cup Finals 2012: Stop Asking Darryl Sutter About Simon Gagne

Simon Gagne is healthy for the first time in months, fully recovered from a concussion that forced him out of the Los Angeles Kings lineup for most of the season. He's with the team and was available on Media Day Tuesday, but the questions have lingered about his return to the lineup.

Will the Kings let him go, or would they rather stick with the lineup that's helped them roll through the Western Conference playoffs so far? Well, frankly, head coach Darryl Sutter is sick of talking about it.

"I think we talked about it yesterday," Sutter said Wednesday morning before Game 1. "It's what we said two weeks ago. There's zero chance. Now there's a chance, right? I'm not answering that question again about Simon. Cleared for contact, cleared for practice, traveling with the team. So there won't be any further update on that one because, quite honestly, the answer is the same and I don't know how to answer it, right? You tell the truth or say nothing."

So ... yeah, we're not sure if Simon Gagne's going to play in this series, then.

Stick with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub for full Stanley Cup Finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles.

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Stanley Cup Finals 2012: Kings Don't Believe Familiarity Helps Them Vs. Devils

Los Angeles Kings assistant coach John Stevens knows the New Jersey Devils. As the former head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, Stevens has seen those red and black jerseys often, and there are players on his roster that have as well.

Former Flyers Simon Gagne, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter are quite familiar with New Jersey, of course, both while playing under Stevens in Philly and after Stevens was fired in late 2009. But Stevens doesn't think that familiarity really gives the Kings much of an advantage in facing the Devils in these Stanley Cup Finals.

"I don't know, it's only a few guys," Stevens said. "Yes and no. We were kind of astonished when you look over the career records, both regular season and playoffs, how few games these guys have played against each other. It's really astonishing, and if you look at playoff games against each other, there's pretty much no one on the Devils other than [Steve] Bernier. Then obviously with [Jeff] Carter and [Mike] Richards and [Simon] Gagne and [Rob] Scuderi obviously.

"But there's not a lot of history in terms of these teams playing against each other, but I do think that in this day and age we all have people watching each other. We have access to video. I think all coaches do a great job of pre-scouting their opponent. Even though you don't play them, you really familiarize yourself with your opponent and by the time you get down to business, you're pretty familiar with your opponent."

Stick with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub for full Stanley Cup Finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles.

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Stanley Cup Finals 2012: Devils Unsure Of Kings Size, Speed

Devils coach Pete DeBoer doesn't know exactly what to expect Tuesday night when his team opens the Stanley Cup Finals at home against the Los Angeles Kings. You can watch all the tape you'd like when preparing to face an opponent , but when it comes down to it, it's tough to know what a team will bring until they actually get on the ice.

"I don't believe you get a real appreciation for what we're dealing with watching them on tape" DeBoer said Wednesday morning. "Their speed and their size. I won't know that until tonight.

"I can tell you, you look at Philadelphia's forwards, that was a pretty good group. Florida's forwards maybe didn't have the high-end skill, but they were four lines deep. We've dealt with some good forecheck this year. Are these teams in a different league? I don't know. We'll know at 8 tonight."

These teams haven't played since a pair of games in October, when DeBoer was the fresh-faced new coach in New Jersey and the Kings were a completely different hockey team. We'd expect a bit of a feeling out period to start Game 1.

Stick with SBNation's dedicated NHL hub for full Stanley Cup Finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles.

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Kings, Devils Set For Stanley Cup Finals 2 Years After Ilya Kovalchuk Battle

It's been two years since the Devils and Kings battled for free agent Ilya Kovalchuk's services. Now, New Jersey will try to beat L.A. with No. 17's help.

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Stanley Cup Finals 2012: New Jersey Devils Claim The Redemption Cup

By beating the New York Rangers in overtime in Game 6 exactly 18 years after Mark Messier's famous guarantee, the New Jersey Devils relieved a pain that has hurt Devils fans repeatedly despite three Cup wins since 1994. Even if the Devils fall in the finals, they've accomplished something not even those Cup wins could.

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