Justin Williams buried the winning goal in overtime, giving the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers in Game One of the Stanley Cup Final.
The goal gave Williams eight goals and 20 points, ranking fourth in goals and tied for third in points for the postseason.
Rangers D Dan Girardi wore the goat horns on the winning goal, coughing up a soft clearing attempt after he initially fanned on the puck. Kings C Mike Richards intercepted the puck, sent it to Williams in the slot and that was the game.
While Kings LW Kyle Clifford played fewer minutes (9:03) than any of his teamamtes, the bruising winger contributed a goal -- his first of the playoffs -- and an assist.
Kings D Drew Doughty was, as usual, in the middle of the action. In the first period, Doughty was stripped of the puck in the Rangers' zone, leading straight to Benoit Pouliot's breakaway goal. In the second period, however, Doughty made up for that gaffe, taking a feed from Williams, deftly pulling it up through his legs as he danced around before snapping in the Kings' second goal.
Kings D Willie Mitchell was a possession beast in Game One, on for 25 5-on-5 shot attempts for and 10 against (71.4%), while the Kings only had 42.9% of the 5-on-5 shots when Mitchell was off the ice. In score close situations, the Kings earned 55.4% of unblocked even-strength shots on goal.
Mitchell had five shots on goal, for the first in a game since time since January, 2012.
Kings D Alec Martinez came in on the low end of the possession scale, on for 31% (nine for, 20 against) of the 5-on-5 shot attempts.
On the Rangers' possession chart, D Raphael Diaz led the way, on the ice for 13 shot attempts for and seven against, while the defence pairing of Marc Staal and Anton Stralman was on for 14 shot attempts for and 20 against.
The Rangers' second goal was scored by LW Carl Hagelin, whose speed was very effective throughtout the game, creating chances as he would burst past Kings defencemen that had trouble keeping up. Hagelin, who has seven playoff goals to lead the Rangers, led the Blueshirts with five shots on goal and tied Derick Brassard for the team lead with seven shots attempted. If there is something positive to take from this game for the Rangers it is that their forwards could use their speed to take advantage of the Los Angeles defence.
Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist stopped 40 of 43 shots faced, and his .928 save percentage is best among goaltenders with at least six games played in this year's playoffs.
It was a relatively even affair through the first two periods, but the Kings dominated the third period, outshooting the Rangers 20-3, and asserting territorial control, even if it didn't result in a goal.
This was a tough loss for the Rangers, who surrendered a two-goal lead and kept up with the Kings through two periods before fading late. When you're the underdog, it's all the more difficult to pull off an upset when opportunities like an overtime game fall the other way.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.