NEWARK, N.J. -- When you reach the Stanley Cup Final, you've been the fortunate recipient of at least few bounces and breaks along the way. In their 2-1 overtime victory over the New Jersey Devils in Game 1 on Wednesday night the Los Angeles Kings were found themselves the victim of such bounces and breaks until they were given a golden opportunity of their own.
As with the opening to any series, both teams spent the opening half of the first period feeling each other out. It was system going up against system seeing which one would give in first. New Jersey was frustrating the Kings offense by limiting their chances early on, but one play swung the momentum to Los Angeles' favor.
Jordan Nolan's work to knock Andy Greene off the puck behind the New Jersey net midway through the first period forced a turnover and allowed the rookie to feed Colin Fraser out in front to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
That momentum held until the Devils caught the first bounce of the game late in the second period. After going the first 15 minutes without a shot, Anton Volchenkov's low wrister from the point was kick-saved by Jonathan Quick, but the rebound deflected off Slava Voynov's shoulder and into the net to even the game 1-1.
Like with Fraser's goal for the Kings, Volchenkov's tally energized New Jersey entering the third period. That's when Zach Parise tried to earn his team a break by gloving a loose puck in the Kings' crease into the net. After being waived off on the ice, the ruling was upheld by the NHL's Situation Room upon review. Minutes later a rebound from a Ryan Carter squirted to Mark Fayne, but the defenseman couldn't handle the bouncing puck and put his attempt wide of an empty cage.
Now the fortunate bounces were back in the Kings' corner and they had one final break fall their way.
In overtime, Marek Zidlick became tied up with Dustin Brown in the Los Angeles zone allowing Anze Kopitar to move proceed up ice unmarked with David Clarkson and Bryce Salvador unaware, allowing him to net the game winning goal:
Game 1 was the 24th overtime game of this postseason and the Los Angeles win gave road teams a 15-9 record in the extra frame(s), according to the NHL. The Kings continued their road dominance improving to 9-0 away from Staples Center this postseason. And of the past 72 Stanley Cup winners, 55 have won the opening game of the series.
Those 55 champions likely enjoyed the same bounces and breaks going in the favor the Kings right now.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy