Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Kings take Game 1

Kopitar helps L.A. top New Jersey in OT


New Jersey Devils' goalie Martin Brodeur gets up from the ice after as the Los Angeles Kings celebrate their winning goal during the overtime period of Game 1.


NEWARK -- Anze Kopitar scored a spectacular goal on a breakaway with 11:47 left in overtime Wednesday night and the Los Angeles Kings beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Kopitar faked a backhand shot, put the puck on his forehand, and beat a prone Martin Brodeur.

Los Angeles has won all nine of its road games in the playoffs.

Colin Fraser scored in the first period for the Kings, the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference who beat the top three teams to get to their first Stanley Cup Finals since 1993.

Anton Volchenkov tied it late in the second period for New Jersey, the East's sixth seed.

GAGNE CLEARED: Simon Gagne is finally healthy enough to play for the Los Angeles Kings. But with as well as the Western Conference champions have been playing, it is tough for the former all-star forward to get back into a loaded lineup.

Gagne has been medically cleared to return to the ice, following a concussion that sidelined him on Dec. 26. It will likely take another injury or perhaps a loss to prompt coach Darryl Sutter to shake up his personnel and put Gagne into action.

"It's going to take something for me to get in," Gagne said. "If we win four in a row, it might not happen."

Gagne was held out of the lineup on Wednesday night for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals against the New Jersey Devils, and Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter has quickly grown impatient with questions about the left wing's status.

NEW YEAR'S DAY: What a difference a year makes.

Back in 2011, when the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks squared off in the Stanley Cup finals, Peter DeBoer was unemployed and hoping to get another chance to coach in the NHL. The call from Lou Lamoriello, the New Jersey Devils president and general manager, came shortly after, and one year later, DeBoer has led his new team to the finals.

DeBoer and the Devils had something negative in common: he had failed to get the Florida Panthers to the playoffs in his three seasons as their coach, and the Devils missed the postseason in 2011 for the first time since 1996.

"Like most unemployed guys, you're sitting at home wondering where you're going to work next," DeBoer said.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: For the first time, both teams in the Stanley Cup finals have an American-born captain: Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings, and the New Jersey Devils' Zach Parise.

"It's great for the game in the U.S.," said Parise, a native of Minneapolis.

And they already know each other quite well.

They were teammates on the 2010 Olympic hockey squad that captured the silver at Vancouver, and played on the same team in the World Junior championship.

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