LOS ANGELES — Right winger Justin Williams scored 4:36 into overtime, lifting the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals before a sellout crowd of 18,399 at the Staples Center on Wednesday night.
After a turnover by New York defenseman Dan Girardi in his own end, Williams fielded a pass from center Mike Richards and converted the game-winner with a blast over the shoulder of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist just inside the near post.
Goalie Jonathan Quick stopped 25 shots for the Kings, while Lundqvist finished with 40 saves for the Rangers.
Game 2 is Saturday at the Staples Center.
With the game tied at 2, Los Angeles dictated the third period, but couldn’t seal the win. The Kings attempted the first 12 shots of the third period but failed to score. They also had a power play during the final 1:36 of regulation after New York center Brian Boyle was sent to the box for slashing, but again came up empty.
The Kings outshot the Rangers 20-3 in the third. Left winger Benoit Pouliot gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead on an unassisted goal with 6:39 remaining in the first period.
New York got a gift less than two minutes later when left winger Carl Hagelin fired a shot that bounced off Quick and then hit the stick of Kings defenseman Slava Voynov for a short-handed goal and a 2-0 Rangers’ advantage with 4:57 left in the first.
The Kings rallied, however. Forward Jeff Carter fed left winger Kyle Clifford, who banged the puck pass Lundqvist to cut the margin to 2-1 with 2:27 remaining in the first. It was Clifford’s first goal of the postseason.
Defenseman Drew Doughty tied the score at 2, ripping a wrist shot past Lundqvist at 6:36 of the second period for his fifth goal of the playoffs. Doughty also set a club record for points in the postseason, breaking his own mark set 2012.
NOTES: Former King and NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The Rangers outshot the Kings 14-13 in the first period and 22-21 through two. … Kings RW Dustin Brown scored (two goals, four assists) in the previous four playoff games. … Los Angeles RW Justin Williams led the club with a plus-11 rating entering the Stanley Cup finals. … New York G Henrik Lundqvist entered the series with playoff-best .928 save percentage as well as a 2.03 goals-against average, which ranked second. … The two teams split their regular season meetings, with the Rangers capturing a 3-1 decision Oct. 7 at Staples Center, while the Kings prevailed 1-0 on Nov. 17 at Madison Square Garden.