Justin Williams is Mr. Clutch, and it happened again in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
3 - 2 (OT) Kings LEAD, 1-0
5 things to know
MR. GAME 7 BECOMES MR. GAME 1
Justin Williams is known as Mr. Game 7. He's never lost one in his career, has won three this year alone, and in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, he became Mr. Clutch yet again. Kings lead the Final 1-0 thanks to this goal.
Dan Girardi keeps falling apart
Dan Girardi has not had a particularly good postseason for the Rangers, and things seemed to hit rock bottom for him in overtime of Game 1. It was his turnover directly in front of Henrik Lundqvist that led to Justin Williams' game-winning goal, and while that mistake is going to be the one that is replayed over and over again (especially if the Rangers end up losing the series), the problems started even earlier than that one play. There was also a play in in the third period when he allowed Kings forward Tyler Toffoli to blow past him for a scoring chance that was snuffed out by Henrik Lundqvist, and overall he just seemed to look a step slower than the forwards he was trying to defend, a reoccurring theme in these playoffs. On Wednesday, the Rangers were outshot 17-8 with him on the ice during his 20 minutes of 5-on-5 play.
HENRIK STEALS ONE ... AND LOSES
We all knew that Henrik Lundqvist would have to try to steal a game or two for the Rangers in this series, but we didn't think it'd come so soon and end in a loss. Lundqvist was stellar in a game that the Kings dominated from the opening faceoff, stopping 40 of 43 shots in the overtime defeat. Lundqvist was the only reason the Rangers survived a hectic final minute of regulation and took the game to overtime. But New York can't survive this series if it leaves King Henrik hanging like the Rangers did so often in Game 1. The Kings, with their newfound offensive power, will pick them apart. Game 1 just proved what we all knew before the series: Lundqvist can't win the Stanley Cup by himself.
HOLY CRAP THE END OF THE THIRD PERIOD WAS NUTS
What happened to you, Kings power play?
If there was one aspect of their Game 1 performance that nearly cost the Kings, it had to be their pitiful night on the power play. And really, pitiful might be sugarcoating it. Not only did they finish 0-for-4, they managed to get just two shots on goal, both of them coming on their final power play of the night. Even worse than the lack of shots was the fact they allowed New York's penalty killers to take five shots, including a shorthanded goal from Carl Hagelin that only went in because Kings defenseman Slava Voynov accidentally kicked a rebound in his own net. Needless to say, they could have been better. Usually power play performances like that can spell doom for a team, especially in the playoffs, but the Kings were able to take control of the game in the third period at even-strength and wait for Justin Williams to come through in another big moment.
Stanley Cup Final Schedule
Game 1: Kings 3, Rangers 2 in OT
LA goals: Williams (8), Doughty (5), Clifford (1)NY goals: Hagelin (7), Pouliot (4)
Game 2 on Saturday, June 7 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PTNBC / CBC / RDS Staples Center, Los Angeles
Game 3 on Monday, June 9 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PTNBCSN / CBC / RDS Madison Square Garden, New York
Game 4 on Wednesday, June 11 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PTNBCSN / CBC / RDS Madison Square Garden, New York
Game 5 on Friday, June 13* 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PTNBC / CBC / RDS Staples Center, Los Angeles
Game 6 on Monday, June 16* 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PTNBC / CBC / RDS Madison Square Garden, New York
Game 7 on Wednesday, June 18* 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PTNBC / CBC / RDS Staples Center, Los Angeles