LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings took Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, beating the New York Rangers in a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory sealed by clutch performer Justin Williams' winning goal Wednesday night at Staples Center. Now, with two days to bask in their series-opening victory, the Kings aim to hold off a Blueshirts squad that came out buzzing in the first period. Meanwhile, the Rangers hope to tie the series 1-1 and give the hometown Kings all they can handle Saturday night before the best-of-seven set shifts back to New York. If there was a game for the Rangers to steal, Wednesday night seemed like the perfect opportunity. They’ll anticipate an even sharper Kings team in Game 2 after L.A. vowed to clean up some aspects in their game, despite their Game 1 win.
Marquee matchup: Rangers coach Alain Vigneault called the Kings the best opponent the Rangers have faced thus far, and it was evident Wednesday night that they have earned that top billing. Despite a sloppy opening frame, in which they were reckless with the puck and fell behind 2-0, the Kings recovered in the final 40 minutes, exploiting their speed, size and skill to rally for the victory. The Kings will certainly put a point of emphasis on limiting turnovers in Game 2, while the Rangers need to step up their play in pretty much every facet. In fact, Vigneault called out his team in the wake of Wednesday’s loss and challenged them to bring their "A" game Saturday night. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who made 40 saves even though he was saddled with the loss, put his best on display in Game 1. Will his teammates heed that message and follow suit in Game 2?
Robyn returns: Veteran defenseman Robyn Regehr, who has missed more than a month sitting out with a knee injury, is expected to return to the lineup for the Kings on Saturday night. The 34-year-old blueliner, who suffered the injury during the team’s second-round series against the Anaheim Ducks, was medically cleared to play before Game 1, but Kings coach Darryl Sutter erred on the side of caution in reinserting him into the lineup. Regehr told reporters Friday he feels ready to play, but that it will be a coach’s decision.
Back from ban: With Regehr returning to reinforce the Kings' blue line, 23-year-old defenseman John Moore is expected to draw back into the Rangers' lineup after serving a two-game suspension for his hit on Dale Weise in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Montreal Canadiens. Moore had a tough time watching the last pair of games from the press box and said he is "pumped" for the chance to play in the finals, a dream he has harbored since he was a young kid. Speaking of youngsters, 21-year-old J.T. Miller, who suffered a shoulder injury in Game 3 against the Habs, is now available should Vigneault choose to use him, though no immediate lineup changes at forward are anticipated for Game 2.