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.