Justin Williams doesn't save all of his goals for Game 7s. He can also score them early in a series.
Los Angeles' big game hero struck again in overtime of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final when he took advantage of a Dan Girardi turnover and beat Henrik Lundqvist to give the Kings a 3-2 win and an early 1-0 series lead.
For Williams, it was his eighth goal of the postseason and his first career playoff overtime goal. None of this is going to do anything to slow down the legend of his postseason performances.
But once the third period started Los Angeles seemed to flip the switch and started to play like the team that entered the series as a heavy favorite. Over the final 20 minutes of regulation the Kings completely tilted the ice in their favor, owning a 20-3 shots on goal advantage and were relentlessly coming at the Rangers in waves. The only thing that kept the game tied and allowed it to get to overtime was the brilliant play of Lundqvist in net.
But not even he could bail the Rangers out in overtime when Williams found himself wide open in the slot with the puck on his stick.
For the Rangers, this is going to be a tough one to swallow.
Not only because they allowed a 2-0 lead to slip away, but also because they actually did some really good things at times in this game. Winning one of these first two games in Los Angeles seems like it would be a necessity if they have any hope of winning the series, and this one at seemed to be there for the taking.
Lundqvist, as he's been for the entire postseason for New York, was sensational in net and did everything he could to put the team on his back and carry it. The third line, which has been so dominant this postseason for the Rangers, scored another goal to get things started. And perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Rangers' showing was how they completely shut down the Kings' power play. New York was a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill and not only scored a shorthanded goal, it ended the game with a seemingly-impossible 5-2 shots advantage when playing down a man.
Usually a night like that on the power play spells doom for a team. But the Kings were able to do their thing at even strength and wear the Rangers down.
And New York didn't have an answer for it over the final 25 minutes.