The Devils lost Game 1s against the Flyers and Rangers. What’s one more against the Kings?
Anze Kopitar potted the winner 8:13 into overtime to give the Kings a 2-1 win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final last night at the Prudential Center. The Kings lead the best-of-seven series one game to none.
“It’s just one game in a long series,” Ilya Kovalchuk said.
Kopitar scored the game-winner following a bad line change by the Devils. The Kings center broke in alone on Martin Brodeur (23 saves) then beat the future Hall of Famer with a deke.
“He got a loose puck at the blue line and made a pretty good effort,” Brodeur said. “I thought he was going to go to his backhand. He had so much time he was able to [see] me not move to his forehand.”
The teams entered the third deadlocked, 1-1, after unlikely goal scorers Colin Fraser and Anton Volchenkov traded scores during the first two periods.
Fraser opened the scoring for the Kings 9:56 into the series with his first career playoff goal. The play began with Andy Greene committing a turnover behind the net. Jordan Nolan found the loose puck and moved it to Fraser for a shot that skimmed along the ice and eluded goaltender Martin Brodeur.
Volchenkov equalized it with 1:12 remaining in the second with a shot off the half wall that ricocheted off Kings defenseman Slava Voynov into a half-empty net. The goal was Volchenkov’s first of this playoff season and his first playoff goal since scoring the game-winner against Pittsburgh in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on April 27, 2007.
The Devils were tentative early and became more aggressive as the game progressed, the opposite of how they played throughout the Eastern Conference finals. Despite being outshot 8-7 in the third, it was the Devils who had the better of play.
“We got better as the game went on,” Devils head coach Pete DeBoer said. “[The Kings are a] team you have to play 60 minutes against.”
Zach Parise had an apparent goal disallowed 3:58 into the third when it was ruled — and upheld by officials — that he threw the puck into net during a pileup in the crease.
The league explained the ruling on Parise’s disallowed goal in a statement:
“At 3:58 of the third period in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, video review confirmed the referee’s call on the ice that New Jersey’s Zach Parise directed the puck into the Los Angeles net with his glove. No goal New Jersey. According to NHL Rule 67.6, ‘A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who bats or directs the puck with his hand into the net. A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who bats or directs the puck ?and it is deflected into the net off any player, goalkeeper or official. When the puck enters the net on a clear deflection off a glove, the goal shall be allowed.’”
A flurry six minutes into overtime nearly produced Adam Henrique’s third overtime win, but the rookie pushed a shot wide.
“Would have been nice to get a bounce,” DeBoer said.
Follow NHL beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman for more Stanley Cup news.