Even though the New Jersey Devils threatened offensively for parts of Game 1, the Kings never trailed. That’s a huge emotional advantage for a team, and in Game 1, Colin Fraser scored 9:56 into the first period and the Kings made it hold up until late in the second period. Regular-season statistics make it clear that the team that scores the first goal puts itself in an outstanding position, in terms of chances (percentage-wise) of winning the game.
In these playoffs, the Kings have scored the first goal in nine of their 15 games, including five of their nine road games. It might be even more important to the Devils. In this postseason, the Devils have an 8-2 record when they score the first goal, compared to a 4-5 record when they allow the first goal. This is nothing groundbreaking, as it is a point of emphasis for every team, but with the Devils seeking some momentum early in Game 2 tomorrow night, Anze Kopitar knows the Kings will have to be mindful of the first goal.
KOPITAR: “We’ve been focusing on starts, and our starts have been pretty good, getting the first goal. It’s easier when you’re not playing catch-up hockey, and obviously everybody knows that. It’s easier with the lead.’’