Jimmy Murphy made some excellent points in his “Rangers In 6” prediction on the site earlier today but there was just this growing feeling that the team from Gotham had to steal Game 1. Since they could not do that, the hill just became a bit more steep.
The first game featured a ton of opportunities from the New York Rangers’ side. A prevailing thought was that New York got too cute and it eventually cost them. That much may have been true but, except for that third period, the Rangers looked pretty good. Then the Kings were just very dominant and one had the feeling the end was near once overtime started.
Now it is time for those three stars from Game 1 and they went something like this.
Fantasy Hockey Three Stars
Third Star — Henrik Lundqvist — New York Rangers
Some will argue that Henrik Lundqvist looked a bit shaky in stretches and that’s true. However, he was one of the few reasons why this game went into overtime in the first place. Every prediction I made basically said the Swedish goalie would have to play like he did in the first two rounds for the “Blueshirts” to have a chance. The goalie stopped 40 of 43 shots, facing 20 of those in the third period alone. If Los Angeles is allowed to run wild on New York, it may be a short series even with Lundqvist in net.
Second Star — Kyle Clifford — Los Angeles Kings
Anyone who is anyone has to realize that sometimes those pesky bottom six show up in these types of games more often that superstars at times. Kyle Clifford truly helped save the Kings’ bacon with a huge goal and assist to get Los Angeles back in the game after they went down 2-0. Game 1 tilted to the Kings’ side because of a guy who played less than ten minutes. Simply it was the kick in the pants the Western Conference Champions needed. Players like Clifford could wreak havoc against a Rangers team that relies on their top defensive pairing a bit much.
First Star — Justin Williams — Los Angeles Kings
If you need a goal and it is a crucial situation, apparently call Justin Williams. Williams had an assist along with the game-winning goal in overtime last night in a thrilling 3-2 Kings win. When crunch time calls, the forward just lifts his game to an even higher level. There were several other scoring chances that Williams had as well. Though he only played a bit less than 16 minutes, it was clear the Rangers were having a few issues with the forward. Game 2 may feature more of the same chess match.
Well, we have a couple days off so probably on Friday, a special post will come on three turning points from the playoffs presented with a fantasy hockey twist.