NEWARK, N.J. Colin Fraser likes to joke around with his L.A. Kings teammates about his goal-scoring ability. The former Blackhawks forwards timing on getting his first postseason one couldnt have been better.
Fraser scored the first goal of his NHL playoff career on Wednesday night, and Anze Kopitar had the breakaway winner in overtime as the Kings beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night. It was another road victory for the Kings, who are a perfect 9-0 away from home during these playoffs.
And it was a chance for Fraser, who was with the Blackhawks organization from 2004 to 2010, to score that infrequent goal at a critical time.
It feels like it was a long time coming, Fraser said afterward. Its not my No.-1 role but we all want to chip in when we can. Im not going to change the way I play but hopefully Ill get another one.
Frasers first was a big one, a wrister he tallied after Jordan Nolan forced a turnover to give the Kings a 1-0 lead midway through the first period.
I just tried to find an open area high, Fraser said. He hit me high and I was just trying to get it off as fast as I could. Nolan was the guy who forced the turnover and did the work.
Fraser got the finish but he didnt get the puck. Still, the work he and fellow fourth liners Nolan and Brad Richardson did boosted the Kings in the early going.
They probably had one of the best games in the playoffs so far, said Kopitar. They had some good ones before, but tonight they capped it off with a nice goal and that definitely got us going in the first period. We came out slower than we wanted to, and the way they established the forecheck gave us a huge boost.
Jonathan Quick did the rest for the Kings, stopping 17 of 18. But it wasnt a night of big shots for either team. The Devils had just five shots in the first period, didnt get their first of the second period until about halfway through it. Yet they tied the game at 1-1 when Anton Volchenkovs shot went off Kings defenseman Slava Voynov and past Quick.
Martin Brodeur showed his vintage side a few times in Game 1, including on a stellar pad save late in the third period. But the Kings were relentless in their pursuit, and it paid off in overtime. Justin Williams backhanded a pass to Kopitar, who skated wide open down the middle and wristed one off a sprawling Brodeur to clinch Game 1.
I saw (Williams) on the boards battling and I wanted to make sure I went through the middle, Kopitar said. I yelled for the puck and he threw it perfect, right on my tape. I was able to finish it off.
The Kings have gotten to this point for a few reasons, Quicks work throughout certainly being one of them. But its also about everyone contributing. Scoring isnt Frasers strong suit. But it suited him just fine in Game 1.
I always joke around, Fraser said. Its not my No. 1 thing, (scoring), but I always give it to the boys about how Im going to score one tonight. I was lucky to get one tonight. Hopefully Ill get more in the future.