Jonathan Quick was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy, the second year in a row an American goalie has been named playoff MVP (Tim Thomas, 2011).
Monday’s game will be remembered for the major penalty that Devils forward Steve Bernier was assessed at 10:10 of the first period after hitting L.A. defenseman Rob Scuderi from behind into the end boards. Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter and Trevor Lewis scored for the Kings on the resultant power play, and the game was all but over.
For Los Angeles, it’s been a dream playoff run after qualifying as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. The Kings lost just four times in 20 postseason games and became the first team since the 2007 Anaheim Ducks to clinch the Cup on home ice.
Since entering the NHL in 1967, the Kings have suffered through numerous trying seasons. Up until this year, they’d managed to make the Cup finals just once, losing to Montreal in 1993.
The 2011-12 season wasn’t without its trying moments either. Head coach Terry Murray was fired in December after the team got off to a slow start and struggled badly offensively. John Stevens took over on an interim basis before Darryl Sutter was hired by embattled Kings general manager Dean Lombardi.
Lombardi also swung a major deal prior to the trade deadline, acquiring Carter from Columbus for Jack Johnson and a first-round draft pick.
The Devils did well to get back into the series after falling behind 3-0. However, with no margin for error, Bernier’s penalty proved to be the back-breaker.
Keep an eye on Oilers’ Slepyshev (the Ducks certainly should)
The breaks and breakaways frequently went the Edmonton Oilers’ way as they eliminated the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of their first-round series. Those results have been more of a mixed bag for Edmonton against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 1 tonight, though.
And, one break really went Edmonton’s way: a Ducks defender broke his stick on the Oilers’ 5-on-3 opportunity, opening the door for a crucial Mark Letestu goal:
The end result is a 1-1 tie, but give the Oilers credit for not getting rattled. If Slepyshev can keep up his efforts, his speed could be a factor in a series that looks like it could be a real tug-o-war.
Jake Allen takes blame for Predators’ game-winner vs. Blues
Let’s be honest: the St. Louis Blues owe a lot to Jake Allen‘s work against the Minnesota Wild in that first-round series.
He probably bought himself a significant amount of goodwill for that outstanding work, but Allen isn’t resting on his laurels. He admitted that “a little mistake by me cost” the Blues the 4-3 decision against the Predators, leaving St. Louis down 1-0 to Nashville.
The goal in question was Vernon Fiddler‘s unlikely 4-3 tally, which came after an unsuccessful poke check attempt by Allen:
Now, to be fair, that wasn’t even the only failed poke check that turned into a goal, as Pekka Rinne also got beat after making such an attempt:
Then again, Allen is wise to score points with teammates for taking the blame. As far as his team, head coach Mike Yeo believes that it was the second period that really made the difference.
Yeo: "The second period was not good enough. Ultimately it cost us." #stlblues
The Nashville Predators’ 4-3 Game 1 win against the St. Louis Blues makes it difficult to use “perfect.”
You could get away with using that word, mind you, as the Predators followed up their surprising sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks by going up 1-0 against the Blues in St. Louis. Still, the ride was so bumpy in the third period, it’s probably wiser to focus on the fact that Nashville is unbeaten.
Because, yikes, that third period was a roller coaster for Nashville.
Ultimately, the Predators received a game-winner from an unlikely source in Vernon Fiddler, gaining a 1-0 series edge.
Even so, few will talk about “mystique” after that shaky finish.
For one thing, both Rinne and Jake Allen allowed goals that they’d like to forget. Also, both squads experienced lopsided periods; Nashville dominated shots in the second (15-8) while the Blues almost doubled-up the Preds in the third (11-6).
It was a weird and often wild – sometimes nasty – contest, with the Predators ultimately coming out on top. There’s plenty of intrigue heading into Game 2, which airs on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on Friday. (You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App; here’s the livestream link.)
WATCH LIVE: Second round begins with Predators – Blues, Oilers – Ducks