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Studs and Duds from Rangers-Kings Stanley Cup Final Game 1

by Photo of Gil Santos

The Rangers blew a two-goal lead and Justin Williams won it for the Kings in OT.

Studs and Duds from Rangers-Kings Stanley Cup Final Game 1

Editor's Note: In my mind, Henrik Lundqvist needs to be included in the "Studs" group. Without his efforts in the third period, the Rangers don't even get to overtime. - Ross

The Stanley Cup Final got off to an exciting start as the Los Angeles Kings took Game 1 in overtime over the New York Rangers, 3-2. Justin Williams notched the game-winner off a Dan Girardi turnover in the zone.

The story heading into the series was the Kings' size and physicality vs. the Rangers' speed. In the early going, the Kings clearly were caught off guard by the Rangers' quickness. The Blue Shirts tallied the first two goals of the game. The first came from a Benoit Pouliot breakaway after a rare turnover by Drew Doughty at the blue line. Almost two minutes after that, the Rangers' fastest player, Carl Hagelin, got behind the Kings' defense and scored on a shorthanded chance.

But the resilient Kings rallied back from the early deficient as they've done all post-season. After a lot of hard work by Jeff Carter in the offensive zone, he found Kyle Clifford near the crease and beat Henrik Lundqvist top shelf to cut it to 2-1. At 6:36 in the second period, Doughty made up for his mistake in the first and scored a beautiful goal to tie up the game.

The Kings dominated the third period, but could not cash in on their chances. They outshot the Rangers by a huge margin of 20-to-3. 

The final period ended wildly as both teams had glorious chances to gain the lead late. Hagelin broke loose again shorthanded, but was stopped by Quick. The Kings rushed quickly back up the ice and Carter nearly put it on wraparound try off Hagelin's skate, but Lundqvist was able to make the save. 

If Game 1 is any indication for what it is to come, buckle your seat belts boy and girls, it's going to be a long and exciting series. 

Here are the studs and duds of Game 1:

Studs:

1. Justin Williams: Game 7's are usually his forte, but Williams decided to make his impact early as he registered the game-winner. Following a failed clearance by Girardi, the puck came to Mike Richards and he found an open Williams near the top of the left circle. Williams then snapped it past Lundqvist top shelf to end the game. 

2. Carl Hagelin: The Kings will certainly keep an eye on Hagelin for the rest of the series as he almost burned them for three goals. The speedster gave the Rangers an early 2-0 lead after he blazed past Slava Voynov for a shorthanded goal.

3. Drew Doughty: Doughty's game-tying goal should be on ESPN's Top 10 Plays. After receiving a pass from Williams, Doughty put the puck between his legs to keep the puck away from incoming defender Derek Dorsett. He then launched a wrist shot to beat Lundqvist. 

4. Jeff Carter: While Carter recorded just an assist on the night, he was the best Kings' forward in my eyes. It seemed every time he was on the ice, the Kings were in the offensive zone, pressuring the Rangers. The stats proved that was the case as the Kings garnered 24 shot attempts and allowed just 11 when Carter was on the ice. 

Duds:

1. Dan Girardi: Girardi committed the biggest mistake of the night as his failed puck clearance led to the game-winner. Not a good start to the Stanley Cup Final for one of the Rangers' top defenseman. 

2. Derek Dorsett: Doughty made Dorsett look like a fool with his between the legs dangle.

3. Kings' Power Play: The Kings' power play was a strength in the Blackhawks' series, but it looked abysmal in Game 1. The power play unit looked out of sync as they struggled to adjust to the aggressiveness of the Rangers' penalty kill. They were even out-shot 5-2 with the man advantage. Not good at all. 

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