NEWARK, NJ Here are 15 thoughts from the Stanley Cup Finals with the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils tied at a 1-1 score and headed to overtime at the Prudential Center in Game 1 of the Finals.
FIRST PERIOD1) Very passive period of hockey from the New Jersey Devils where they looked a little tentative and very nervous. Too much passing in the offensive zone with nobody looking to take their shot and then David Clarkson zinged a shot high and wide when he had a golden scoring chance on Jonathan Quick.2) Colin Fraser, on the other hand, buried the one-timer from the slot for the Kings at the other end of the ice, and became the 16th Kings player to score a goal during the playoffs. It was a meaningful goal for Fraser, who has to feel a healthy Simon Gagne breathing at his neck to replace him in the lineup if hes not producing.3) Ten total shots on goal for both teams in the period. Not exactly VancouverBoston with up and down chances and Alex Burrows taking a bit out of Patrice Bergeron at the very end of the first period in Game 1.4) The Kings won 12 out of 17 face-offs in the first period and looked like the better team in just about every aspect. Pretty amazing considering that Los Angeles was coming off a seven day layoff following their Game 5 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.5) Two good chances for David Clarkson. Hit a post and missed wide. The Devils need to bury those if theyre hoping to take down the Kings.
1) The Devils didnt have a shot on goal in the first 10 minutes of the second period, and then completely caught fire in the second half of the period. It looked like they finally shook off the Cup Finals nerves and started playing aggressively. Zach Parise crashed the net and got tangled up with Jonathan Quick in a move that stirred the crowd and the emotional pace, and minutes later New Jersey had tied things up.2) Five hits for Dainius Zubrus through two periods. He looks like a bowling ball on the ice smashing into everything around. While many of his teammates were slow starters Zubrus was off the hop from the games beginning.3) Los Angeles Kings could have been winning much bigger after dominating the large portion of the second period. They may come to regret being unable to put New Jersey away before they snapped out of it.4) A couple of interesting numbers: Anze Kopitar leads both teams with three shots on goal and Jarret Stoll has won six out of seven face-offs.5) The Los Angeles Kings power play is making me have flashbacks of the Boston Bruins power play last year. Its that brutal. They were having trouble simply setting up and keeping the puck in their own zone. Not a recipe for success even if the Bruins won it all last year.
1) Martin Brodeur with an amazing double-stacked pad save on Drew Doughty with less than 10 minutes to go in a tied game in the third period. Yeah, this guy has been here before.2) Dainius Zubrus is flopping, hitting and getting involved all over the ice physically for the Devils in the first game against the Kings. Hell need to take a nibble out of somebodys finger to truly go over into the dark side of Stanley Cup Finals villains, however. A game-high seven hits for Zubrus in Game 1.3) Mark Fayne fanned on a wide open rebound attempt midway through the third period that could have iced the game for Jersey. Fayne grew up in the New England area. Its a cinch Fayne would understand why the name Glen Wesley comes to mind when he couldnt bury the bouncing puck.4) Ilya Kovalchuk has been a non-factor in his first Stanley Cup Finals game. No shots on goal, no hits and really no involvement for the New Jersey Devils in any productive way.5) Of course Game 1 is headed to overtime. This is the season of overtime after all. Loved the Kings willingness to stick with their system despite what was going on around them, and was impressed by the emotion and intensity New Jersey picked up midway through the game.