The Rangers got off to about as good a start as they could’ve hoped for. The end didn’t go nearly as well.
Justin Williams netted a goal 4:36 into overtime to give the Kings a 3-2 Game 1 win and early control of the series in the quest for the Stanley Cup. The winning goal came after a sloppy turnover in the zone by Rangers defeseman Dan Girardi.
Mike Richards fed the puck to Williams, who netted the final goal to Henrik Lundqvist’s right side.
“They’re gonna force you to make mistakes,” Martin St. Louis said. “It’s hockey.”
Things looked much more promising for the Rangers in the first period. They got on the board first on a breakaway by Benoit Pouliot 13:21 into the game.
Less than two minutes later, Carl Hagelin scooped up a turnover, raced down ice and fired a shot on goal before the Kings defender accidentally kicked in the rebound off Jonathan Quick.
But the Kings answered before the period was out, as Kyle Clifford took the puck from Derek Stepan and netted his first goal of the playoffs. Drew Doughty tied the game at 2-2 6:36 into the second period after a nifty, between-the-legs maneuver.
“It’s disappointing but at the same time it’s just one game,” Lundqvist said. “We’ll just have to come back in the next one.”
The Rangers also lost Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in 1994.
Game 2 is Saturday night in Los Angeles at 7 p.m. on NBC.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.