Kopitar, Williams relive overtime game-winner - LA Kings Insider

Tonight, the Kings will face the New Jersey Devils and return to the Prudential Center for the first time since the teams vied for the Stanley Cup two seasons ago. Overtime game-winning goals by Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter allowed the Kings to surge out to a two-to-nothing series lead after a pair of games in Newark opened the franchise’s second trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

Though Jeff Carter isn’t available to talk about his Game Two overtime goal, I spoke with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams to describe the setup of the breakaway game-winner in Game One, and whether there are any raised emotions heading into tonight’s game.

Anze Kopitar on how the breakaway developed:
We were in our zone, and the puck came around to the bench side. It was Drew that chipped it in, and Willie was just outside our zone, and I wanted to make sure I was in the middle and nobody was over top of me, so I yelled for the puck and Willie gave it to me right on the dot. It was actually funny, because I almost lost the puck going into their zone. I regrouped there and was able to put it in.

Kopitar, on the thought process of trying to score on an overtime breakaway:
You’re really just trying to finish the game. It was really hot, I remember. I talked to a couple guys on the bench. They were not feeling great. The cramps were coming in, so I just wanted to really finish it. This was the play that you don’t get too often, especially not in OT. I wanted to make sure I made it count.

Kopitar, on what he remembers about the celebration:
I think I jumped into the glass, and then Willie came and gave me a big bear hug. I remember Drew saying when he was skating up the ice he cramped up. But it was fun. It was definitely fun. Everybody came and we had a nice couple tunes going in the locker room. It was a good start.

Kopitar, on whether there’s any excitement to return to the Prudential Center:
Well, we lost the last game there. But it turned out good for us. It will be good memories, but we understand it’s a totally different position going in there right now, and we’ve got to play accordingly.

Justin Williams, on how the game-winner developed:
I remember being very tired, to be honest with you, in the overtime period. Late in the third, overtime, it was hot. So we were obviously trying to get a goal as quickly as possible. It’s what you do in overtime. The puck came up my boards, I remember, kind of on a broken play, and I felt the weak side D-man come over to me, so I took a chance to see if Kopi would be in that area. Fortunately he was. As a result, he got a huge goal for us.

Williams, on whether he remembered seeing Kopitar before passing him the puck:
I don’t remember seeing him, no, but sometimes as a hockey player you can just feel when people should be in a certain area. He wasn’t behind me when I was looking back at the net, so I took a chance that he would be in the middle of the ice. We’ve played with each other for a few years, so he knows that sometimes I’m going to make a play where I’m not exactly looking at him, and vice versa as well. That helps when you play with each other every now and then.

Williams, on whether it’s special to return to the Prudential Center:
I wouldn’t say any more so than any other arena. We won it at home, so maybe if we had won it at the Prudential Center it would have been more unique to come back. But I think it’s just another arena on the schedule, to be honest.

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.