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Stu Grimson's Stanley Cup Finals Blog: Post-Game 1

Thursday, 06.5.2014 / 3:22 PM CT
By Stu Grimson - TV Analyst / Stu Grimson's Blog
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There’s enough commentary out there providing the all-encompassing account of each game as it’s played. So instead, I offer you random thoughts and observations from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

First Period

For the first half of the opening period New York is dictating the pace. LA is spending long stretches of play hemmed in its own end. Interesting though, half way through the first; the Rangers have a team total of three hits and Dustin Brown himself has four. In four shifts. It’s hard to spot but this is how the Kings’ captain leads. Never mind that contact creates turnovers and that turnovers can become chances; when Brown collides with the opposition, it creates energy in the Kings’ camp. And that energy can turn momentum. I suggest that this is part of the explanation why the Kings come back as routinely as they do.

Hagelin’s shorthanded goal makes it 2-0 Rangers. A goal like this should mark the turning point in a Rangers’ win. Instead Carter follows up on a great chance of his own and continues to forecheck deep in the Rangers’ end. Clifford lifts the Carter pass up and over Lundqvist on a play in tight. Now we’re 2-1. The Kings head into the room after one period with a foothold rather than down 2-0. Can’t you already feel it coming?

Second Period

Trevor Lewis is in two on one with Gaborik early in the period. Note to Lewis: if you’re not going to slide it over to the hottest player on any continent, you’ll wanna hit the net at a minimum.

Muzzin goes off for interference at 3:54. There’s a lot to like in the Rangers’ power play. They don’t ultimately convert, but they are moving it exceptionally well and creating promising looks. Good chances for St. Louis and Zuccarello both. LA is on its heels for most of the two minute minor. Keep an eye on this going forward.

Doughty’s fifth of the playoffs comes off a filthy little pick up thrown behind him. Then he pulls this double-clutch thing in the low slot to get Lundqvist moving. We’re tied at twos. Can you believe how routinely LA comes back from a two-goal deficit? At this time of year? For most teams that’s a hill that just cannot be climbed.

Third Period

Past the halfway point of the period and the shots are 13-0 in LA’s favor. Waiting and watching for the moment the Rangers break down.

If you’re New York, on the one hand you’ve got to be thrilled you’re locked in a 2-2 tie this late while facing a team that’s been vastly superior offensively through the first three rounds. On the other hand, the determination of the group at the other end has to be leaving an impression on you.

Overtime

Williams unassisted, four and a half minutes into the fourth period. Wow. Kings win and justice is served. With the exception of a flat start, LA outplayed New York in most every area of Game 1.

If New York intends to make a series of this, in Game 2 they’re going to need to do something dynamic. But what and how? LA defends well, they are producing offensively at a feverish clip, they’re physical and they are far and away the most driven team in recent memory. Toughest task yet for coach Vigneault and his Rangers. Wondering if that New York power play couldn’t provide something to rally around?

See you around the rink.

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Wilson 14 5 8 8 13
R. Josi 14 1 8 -6 9
R. Johansen 14 4 4 0 8
J. Neal 14 4 4 1 8
M. Fisher 14 5 2 -1 7
M. Ekholm 14 3 4 2 7
S. Weber 14 3 4 -7 7
R. Ellis 14 0 6 0 6
F. Forsberg 14 2 2 -11 4
M. Salomaki 14 1 1 2 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 7 7 0 .906 2.63
C. Hutton 0 0 0 .667 3.00