Last night, the Los Angeles Kings came roaring back to steal game one of the Stanley Cup Final in overtime.
The road team (and underdog) in the series, the New York Rangers got off to a quick start by netting the first two goals of the contest, but couldn’t hold on for the win. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was peppered with shots for most of the night, and the Rangers struggled to clear the net in front of him. It ended up being their downfall.
On the positive side, former Nashville Predators defenseman Kevin Klein is patrolling the blue line for New York in the Final and many of us are cheering him on from the Music City. One of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, Klein (while with the Predators for nearly nine seasons) was known for vehemently agreeing with anything his teammates said during a bench TV interview, it seemed natural to use him as a rating system for hockey’s championship series.
Overall Game: Klein was on the ice for the game’s first tally and helped spring forward Benoit Pouliot on a breakaway by knocking the puck lose in the corner. That’s a major plus (although in the literal sense it’s equal to any other +/plus, I guess). However, Lundqvist (supposedly the toughest goalie the Kings have faced this postseason) wasn’t crisp enough in net to hold on to the early lead. So that’s bad (#analysis). From a viewing perspective, the game was pretty wide open at times (especially in the first period while both teams were getting used to one another), so that was fun to watch. And of course OT is always ideal if you’re watching (if you don’t have too much invested in the outcome). This one’s tough, let’s go three out of five Kleins.
Entertainment Value: Easiest one of the night to decide: five out of five Kleins. The final minute of regulation probably earned this one by itself, but the added bonus of OT sealed it. After the Rangers Carl Hagelin was stopped on a breakaway with 41 seconds left–on the other end of the ice–Kings center Jeff Carter just narrowly missed on a wraparound with under 30 ticks to go.
Random: To the individual who decided to put the Rangers Stanley Cup Final crest on their shoulder, you’ve earned yourself only one out of five Kleins. It would be zero, but it does feature the Stanley Cup, so you’ve been given a slight reprieve. But seriously, what a poor choice to stray from the classic chest placement.
Game two will be in L.A. on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. (CST).
(Special thanks to Gary Lancaster for helping with the graphics)