Drew Doughty goes from low to high in Kings’ 3-2 win over Rangers
That wasn’t Drew Doughty. No way.
Not the guy who established himself as the NHL’s best two-way defenseman in these playoffs.
But there he was in the first period, trying to work his way around the New York Rangers’ defense at the point.
Instead, he got worked when Benoit Pouliot stripped him of the puck, skated in alone and beat goaltender Jonathan Quick for a 1-0 lead Wednesday in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Kings fans were stunned at Staples Center. So was Doughty.
“I kind of got us off on the wrong foot, which wasn’t a good thing,” he said.
He atoned, of course.
He took a pass from Justin Williams while cutting through the slot, stopped short near the net and wristed the puck past Henrik Lundqvist to tie the score, 2-2, at 6 minutes 36 seconds of the second period.
Doughty was immediately animated, throwing himself into the glass behind the net and screaming jubilantly at fans in the expensive seats.
“I didn’t want to do too much to try to make up for it, but I knew that I had to be a lot better player than I was on that [first-period] play,” Doughty said.
The Kings won in overtime, 3-2, and it didn’t come without flashes of anger.
Doughty flared near the end of the second period, yelling to referees that he had been hit in the face with the butt end of a New York player’s stick. TV cameras caught him as he stood and screamed on the Kings’ bench.
“Yeah, I didn’t really control my emotions too well at that point,” Doughty said, failing to suppress a smile. “Stuff happens by accident and it was just the heat of the moment. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, stuff like that’s going to go down.”
This is for sure: Nobody will say Doughty is emotionless.
After the Kings eliminated Chicago in overtime Sunday, Doughty turned from the Kings bench toward the Blackhawks bench, pounded euphorically on the glass and promptly fell while jumping onto the ice to join his teammates’ celebration.
After Wednesday’s game, taking into account the good Doughty and the bad in the span of the previous 60 minutes, Coach Darryl Sutter decided to lightly admonish him. Sutter didn’t acknowledge the reversal of fortune from the first to the second period.
“You don’t trade chances with the New York Rangers,” he said.
Lundqvist was backed up Wednesday by a 31-year-old who hadn’t played in the NHL since the 2010-11 season.
David LeNeveu closed the regular season with the Rangers’ minor league roster in Hartford, Conn. He replaced New York backup goalie Cam Talbot, who was sidelined because of an undisclosed injury.
Coach Alain Vigneault said Talbot was day to day and declined to reveal how he suffered the injury.
LeNeveu was 8-1 with a 1.19 goals-against average and .963 save percentage with Hartford, including a three-game shutout streak. His minor league season ended April 18.
“He’s an experienced guy, practicing with our team throughout the playoffs. Good goaltender,” Vigneault said.
Lundqvist had shined in the postseason, going 12-7 with a 2.03 goals-against average and .928 save percentage before Wednesday.
After playing last year in Austria, LeNeveu spent time this season with the South Carolina Stingrays before being signed by the Rangers on Jan. 21.
But he hasn’t played in the NHL since April 3, 2011, when he was in net for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He played two games that season after appearing in 59 with the Phoenix Coyotes from 2005 to 2007.
Selanne in the game
Retired Ducks forward Teemu Selanne’s dream of ending his career in the Stanley Cup Final was realized Wednesday — in the Staples Center broadcast booth.
Selanne is working Games 1 and 2 for Finnish television and is planning to return to his native country Tuesday for a “couple months … take it easy, relax.”
Selanne, 43, joked that he was going to be the next Don Cherry, the colorful “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcaster, but asked what he planned to do next season, Selanne said, “I don’t know yet.
“It’s good not to do anything for a while, to see what I want to do.”
After the Ducks lost to the Kings in a seven-game Western Conference semifinal series, Selanne said that viewing the Kings-Blackhawks conference final was “tough, but fun to watch. Great games, but at the same time, it would’ve been nice to be there.”
Selanne said “home advantage” favored the Kings in this series.
He said he hasn’t entertained any offers to continue his playing career, and is done.
“I don’t even think about that,” he said.
The start for Game 2 is about 4:15 p.m. PDT on Saturday, the only game in the series not scheduled for 5 p.m.
It will immediately follow NBC’s coverage of the Belmont Stakes.
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.