Kopitar gives Kings 1-0 series lead
Anze Kopitar received a pass from Justin Williams at the blue line and glided towards the Devils' goal. With no defensemen near him it was obvious something exciting was about to happen. The full capacity crowd at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey rose from their seats hoping Martin Brodeur could make one more amazing save.
Kopitar came down went forehand-backhand-forehand and pushed the puck just below Brodeur's slightly elevated right leg. The Kings' forward jumped into the boards - a combination of relief and thrill - as his teammates made their way off the bench onto the ice. The goal came with 11:47 left in overtime.
The Kings 2-1 victory over the Devils gave them a 1-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. Los Angeles is now a perfect 9-0 on the road in the playoffs and 3-0 when games go past regulation.
Colin Fraser scored his first career postseason goal after receiving a Jordan Nolan pass and one-timed it between Brodeur's legs at the 9:54 mark in the first period. The Kings fourth line of Nolan-Fraser-and Brad Richardson gave Los Angeles a boost throughout the game with an aggressive forecheck and consistent speed.
The Devils looked off-kilter the first 30 minutes of the game but gained momentum with big hits from Dainius Zubrus, Steve Bernier, and David Clarkson. Patrick Elias received credit for the lone Devils goal with 72 seconds left in the second period. A deflection bounced of Slava Voynov's shoulder and sputtered past Quick.
The third period lacked scoring but contained plenty of excitement. Clarkson and Mark Fayne missed several opportunities that could have given the Devils the lead. Jonathan Quick continues to play well finishing with 17 saves and third-star honors.
Series previews highlighted the goaltending for both teams. It was a difficult game for the goalies because of the limited amount of shots they faced. Stretches with no action were followed by sudden bursts. Brodeur finished with 23 saves and second-star honors.
The Kings will continue to be well rested after another two off days with the series picking back up Saturday night, 8 eastern.
- Have to give credit to the officials who initially made the correct call and were positioned perfectly on Parise's push in during the third period.
- I don't agree with Brodeur receiving the second star and Quick getting the third. Marty faced a little more pressure and made some great saves but not significant enough to be positioned higher in a losing effort.
- Kovalchuk? Kovalchuk? Bueller? ... Expect Ilya to come out Saturday with his hair on fire.
- Glad to see only three penalties called in a physical game. Let the players determine the outcome. Brown's call was iffy but predictable considering it was with Brodeur.