Kings beat Rangers, 3-2, in OT of Stanley Cup Final opener
LOS ANGELES -- It wasn't Game 7, but it will do for the Los Angeles Kings' Justin Williams.
Williams flicked a shot 4 minutes 36 seconds into overtime past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to give the Kings a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on Wednesday night. Game 2 will be Saturday at Staples Center.
Williams has made a career out of Game 7 heroics. He has seven goals and 14 points, winning all seven series finales. He was there in overtime for the Kings.
A turnover by Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi left the puck with Kings center Mike Richards near the blue line. He found Williams slipping down the slot. Williams had a clear shot at the net.
It prevented the Kings from wondering what might have been.
Kyle Clifford and Drew Doughty also scored for the Kings. Clifford also had an assist. Benoit Pouliot and Carl Hagelin scored for the Rangers.
The Kings dominated the third period, but couldn't solve Lundqvist. He stopped all 20 shots in the third period to keep the Stanley Cup Final opener score tied, 2-2, after three periods.
The Rangers had only three shots in the third period. The last nearly won the game.
The Kings were on a power play, with Rangers center Brian Boyle sent off for slashing. But left wing Carl Hagelin picked up a puck and burst up ice on a breakaway. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick managed to get his glove on the shot, sending the puck over the net with 30 seconds left.
It put the Kings in overtime for the third time in their last four games.
The Rangers did not have a shot for 12 minutes in the third period. Then right wing Martin St. Louis came in alone, lined up a shot, and flicked the puck on net. Quick extended himself to get his left shoulder on the puck.
Lundqvist, meanwhile, was overworked. He stopped 20 shots in the third period and 40 of 43 for the game. Quick finished with 25 saves.
The Rangers jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Left wing Benoit Pouliot picked the puck off defenseman Drew Doughty's stick near the Rangers' blue line and raced up ice and beat Quick high for a 1-0 lead 13 minutes 21 seconds into the game.
Hagelin made it 2-0 less than two minutes later, but he had some help from Kings defenseman Slava Voynov. First Voynov let Hagelin by him at the blue. Hagelin got off a backhand shot that Quick stopped, but the puck caromed off Voynov and into the net for a short-handed goal.
A little hard work cut the lead in half. Jeff Carter chased down a turnover behind the Rangers' net. He then flipped it toward the crease. Kyle Clifford nearly fanned on the shot, but got enough of the puck to knock it over Lundqvist's shoulder and into the net.
The goal was Clifford's first since Dec. 11 and ended a playoff scoring drought at 37 games. His last playoff goal was against San Jose on April 23, 2011.
Doughty tied the score, 2-2, 6:36 into the second period. He danced around one defender and pushed toward the net. He then deked Lundqvist to the ice and flipped a shot that glanced off the goalie's shoulder and into the net.
It was Doughty's 17th point in the playoffs, breaking his own team record for defensemen.