City of Angels Tops Devils in Game 1
I would imagine that when a young kid is growing up and playing hockey, he would fantasize about having a breakaway to win a game in the Stanley Cup Finals. For Anze Kopitar, that fantasy became reality last night as he found the puck on his stick 8 minutes into the extra frame, looked up and had only the goalie to beat. The thing about this scenario for Kopitar was that he didn’t have to beat any old goaltender, but he had Martin Brodeur, possibly the greatest goalie in NHL history, standing in his way. Kopitar faked right, took the puck to his backhand and waited for Brodeur to make a move as he slid the puck under Marty’s right pad. Game over, LA is up 1-0 and Kopitar realized a dream.
Oh yeah, I should have probably started this article by reminding everyone that the NHL Stanley Cup Finals actually started last night. I’m assuming that the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics Game 2 destroyed the Devs-Kings in the national ratings, but all the true hockey fans who tuned in were treated to a great game. Both teams played fundamental hockey, and each goalie made plays to keep their teams in the game. Brodeur made an awesome play in the third, stacking the pads to stop Drew Doughty on the doorstep, and Jonathan Quick played shutout hockey for the most part, as the Devil’s lone goal was a flukey deflection off a King defenseman. The King’s looked like they pushed the play a little more than New Jersey, and the road warriors were able to capitalize in OT and capture Game 1.
The NHL was certainly rooting for a Rangers and Kings finals, as facing LA and New York City off against each other in the finals would have been marketing heaven for a league that sorely needs the coverage. Instead, the Devils forced the NHL to sell a product that is not as appealing, lacking the marquee power a Ranger-King matchup would have produced. However, for the true hockey fans like myself, this series will provide great hockey, defensive battles and a true appreciation for the forecheck. Even if I am in the minority, and I know that I am, I can’t wait for Game 2!