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Kings Stay Perfect on the Road

It took Overtime to get it done but the Kings continue to do the improbable, winning Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals halfway through the overtime period on a breakaway goal by Anze Kopitar. With the 2-1 OT victory the Kings continue to dominate on the road, winning 9 straight this postseason and 11 dating back to last years’ postseason.


This was a surprisingly cleanly played game (6 penalty minutes total between the two teams), however the Kings outworked the Devils in just about every important statistical category. The Kings outshot the Devils 25-18, gave up fewer turnovers 6-11, won more faceoffs 31-25 and killed both penalties assessed against them.


In what little scoring there was with two phenomenal goalies in net for tonight’s matchup, the Kings took an early lead halfway through the first on a goal by Colin Fraser, his first career postseason goal. You couldn’t pick a grander stage to nail your first postseason marker, eh, Colin? Late in the second,  Devils’ defenseman Anton Volchenkov tied the game with his first goal of the postseason, fourth overall in his 8 years in the league.


There the score remained throughout the remainder of regulation. Midway through the OT period, Kopitar took a pass from Justin Williams, skated in alone, worked the puck to draw veteran goalie Martin Brodeur out and down as Kopitar first faked a backhand then flicked a forehand under Brodeur’s right pad as he was splayed out in the crease. No matter which side of the rink you were rooting for, this Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals was a spectacular nail-biter. Which brings me to a gripe I’ve had that’s grown over the past few days…


For those who have riddled blogosphere, talk radio and TV with nonsense about this Stanley Cup featuring two of the worst teams to reach the big stage, a bit of perspective is needed. I understand where they were seeded when the playoffs were locked in. I get that. However, both of these ‘bad’ teams obviously played better than the ‘good’ teams they faced. This is an undeniable fact. They’re here, you’re watching (or not watching) them play for the Stanley Cup.


If the Blues or the Flyers, Canucks or the Pens were supposed to be here just because they finished the regular season in a better spot, there’d be no need for a playoff. Hence, the argument is circular, self defeating and you essentially suggest an elimination of playoff hockey by saying bad teams got here and by default, #1 Eastern and #1 Western should ALWAYS play for the cup. No one would watch the sport if that happened. Some of the most exciting hockey you’ll ever see is playoff hockey!


In short, quit your whining because your favorite #1 or #2 seed couldn’t put together a proper post season and advance. Your team lost. Your team did not grind out overtime games or slog through six and seven game series’ the way the Devils did. Your team did not find a way to win consistently on the road as the Kings have. In my opinion, the two best teams are currently playing for the right to hoist the cup. They’ve earned their spot on this stage and they’ll play Game Two on Saturday Night at 5pm PDT

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