Kings Comeback To Take 1-0 Series Lead

LOS ANGELES — The western conference champion Los Angeles Kings know a thing or two about coming back to win. They are 7-0 this postseason when facing elimination, became the fourth team in NHL history to comeback from a 3-0 series deficit, and even overcame a two goal deficit on the road in Chicago Game 7 of the western conference final to reach the Stanley Cup Final.

All their history of coming back would once again be on display, as the New York Rangers, playing in their first Stanley Cup Final since winning it in 1994, got the scoring started early in Game 1 Wednesday night.

It began with a breakaway opportunity from Benoit Pouliot, who used his speed and then got a wrist shot up high over Jonathan Quick at the 13:21 mark of the first period to give New York a 1-0 lead. Just over two minutes later, while shorthanded, Carl Hagelin scored his seventh goal of the postseason on a backhand shot that deflected in, giving the Rangers a quick 2-0 lead and momentum.

But the Kings would not be denied. Kyle Clifford, who hadn’t scored a goal since December, took a pass from Jeff Carter behind the net and beat Henrik Lundqvist to put the Kings back in it, down 2-1.

In the second period, it was Drew Doughty time, who capitalized on a turnover in the Rangers zone with some shifty puck handling to set up a wrist shot that found the back of the net, giving the Kings the tying goal at 2.

The momentum of the game shifted back to Los Angeles and never went back. In the third period, despite not scoring a goal, the Kings only allowed three shots on net to Quick, while accumulating 20 shots and nearly scored in the final 30 seconds of the period with a whip-around goal from behind the net that nearly deflected in the Rangers goal.

Game 1 would head to overtime, marking the first time in NHL history that three straight Stanley Cup Final Game 1′s needed extra hockey. Unlike the three overtimes needed last season, the Kings did not even need five minutes to complete the comeback. A turnover in the Rangers zone created by Mike Richards helped set up Justin Williams, the man known for his heroics in Game 7′s, for a snap shot beating Henrik Lundqvist to give Los Angeles a 3-2 win and a 1-0 series lead.

The Kings, while falling down 2-0 in the first period, had plenty of opportunities to get back in the game. They outshot the Rangers 43-27 in the game, and took advantage of two offensive zone turnovers that resulted in two of the three goals scored. Quick, who has had his struggles at times this postseason, allowed two goals and made a big save late in the third period to keep the Kings tied.

The game also had a physical aspect to it, as there were 45 hits by the Kings and 33 from the Rangers.

Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final will take place Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the Kings will look for their first 2-0 series lead this postseason.



Follow Brandon Boles on Twitter: @BrandonBoles

Twitter: @FullScaleSport

(Photo Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

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