The final minute of regulation in Wednesday night’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final probably was the most exciting minute of hockey this season, especially when you consider the stakes — a 2-2 tie game in the finals with just a minute to play.
The Kings were on the power play in the game’s final 60 seconds, opening up the ice and leading to scoring chances for both teams. First, Kings forward Anze Kopitar had a golden chance with a redirect attempt right in front of the net but missed.
Then, New York forward Carl Hagelin broke free for short-handed breakaway, but Jonathan Quick stepped up with his biggest stop of the night, a left shoulder shrug on the Blueshirt speed demon. The puck popped up and hung in the air for what seemed like a minute before landing at the side of the net, where the Kings eventually cleared it.
Back down the ice went the Kings, as Carter flew across the blue line, circled the cage, and nearly banked a wraparound chance of the skate of a sliding Hagelin before Lundqvist sprawled across the crease.
Skip ahead to the 1:21 mark to see the back-to-back chances from Hagelin and Carter.
With both goalies coming up big, the final horn sounded with the game still tied. The excitement continued into overtime, where Justin Williams’ goal put the Kings up in the series, 1-0.
If these teams can come anywhere close to matching what they showed in that final minute of regulation, this will be a memorable series.