Los Angeles Kings Take Game One from New Jersey Devils

Anze Kopitar Completely Undresses Martin Brodeur in OT Thriller

5/31/12 in NHL   |   AJ_88   |   166 respect

The Los Angeles Kings drew first blood. Colin Fraser got it started. Anze Kopitar made certain to finish it. The Kings did what they've been doing all postseason long: winning in their opponents' house. When you play the Kings, there is no sense of security on your home ice. This impressive run by the eighth seeded Kings continues to amaze even those in Los Angeles who would not even call themselves casual hockey fans. 

May 30, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) scores the game-winning goal past New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur (30) and right wing Dainius Zubrus (8) during overtime in game one of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals at the Prudential Center.  The Kings won 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIREThe Devils scored the equalizer late in the second period after the puck rattled off of Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, which did not allow Jonathan Quick to recognize the misdirection of the puck fast enough to deflect it.  After both teams settled into the overtime period, Kopitar found himself one-on-one with the famed Martin Brodeur in net and took his time, slowly undressing the Devils goaltender to send everyone in New Jersey to bed in tears.

"I wanted to make sure I went to the middle," Kopitar noted. "To put it past a goaltender like Marty, is a good feeling."

The Kings have now gone 13-2 thus far in the postseason, however they realize that they have three more games to win in order to call this season a success. They are also a perfect 9-0 on the road, doing it in true underdog fashion by taking it to the home team and demoralizing their opponent. 

May 30, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; Los Angeles Kings players celebrate after the game-winning goal by center Anze Kopitar (not pictured) during overtime in game one of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.  The Kings won 1-0 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRELosing in front of your home crowd hurts more than losing on the road, which is also why winning on the road is that much sweeter -- as you watch the fans file out of the arena in silence. Quick had a relatively easy night making 17 saves, however, he had to work to get to a few of the Devils shots. However, Devils defenseman Mark Fayne will forever look back on this game as a missed opportunity. 

With an open look at the left side of the net and Quick yet to recover, Fayne appeared to have a great look at putting his team up 2-1 with his first career postseason goal. But, he whiffed, fanned, whatever you want to call it. He failed to show up in a clutch moment. Devils fans will be calling for him to warm a bench seat regardless of his performance otherwise. 

The Kings have put themselves in terrific position once again heading into Game Two of a series they began on the road. The LA Live crew began working on a Stanley Cup temporary monument a few weeks back, foreshadowing what most are looking for after Game One. 

It's Cup time in LA!
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6/1/12   |   w_g_walters   |   223 respect

I'm happy for the Kings. I can be neutral, coming from a city where our only team is in the AHL, and I think they deserve it this year. Not only to overcome such odds (#8 beating #1, #2, AND #3 going 12-2???) but to show that being the best in the overall series doesn't mean much when you're playing for survival in several games against one team at a time. Not many bottom seeds play like this--in fact, only two teams come to mind as even coming close, and it's not that close, the '94 Rockets, and Chelsea winning UEFA this year (though I'm not sure if that would count as a "bottom seed").