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Emotional Doughty sets tone for Kings in Game 1

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- Drew Doughty was incensed midway through Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Kings defenseman was butt-ended by New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider against the half wall late in the second period and Doughty was outraged that a penalty wasn't called. It didn't help that teammate Mike Richards was penalized for slashing Rangers center Derick Brassard a moment later to give the Rangers a power play.

Doughty was seen on the bench shouting at the referee and pointing to the end of his stick.

"Yeah, I didn't really control my emotions too well at that point," Doughty said. "It's just part of the game. Stuff happens by accident. It was just heat of the moment. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, stuff like that is going to go down."

Doughty was very much like rest of the Kings in what ended as a 3-2 overtime win at Staples Center: He started slow and made a big miscue but got stronger as the game progressed and turned in another stunning goal that shows why many think he is the best defenseman in the NHL.

Doughty admits that his rare mistakes fuel him, as was the case in the first period when he had the puck poked away from him by Benoit Pouliot, who then scored on a breakaway at 13:21 for a 1-0 lead. It snowballed some when Carl Hagelin scored shorthanded to make it 2-0. Doughty was a minus-2 after the first period.

"When I get angry I kind of turn it on," Doughty said. "I try to control my emotions the right way, which sometimes, I don't. It was a bad turnover [on the Pouliot goal]. I wasn't happy myself. 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 play."

Doughty scored on probably the most impressive play of the game when he took a backhand pass from Justin Williams, dragged the puck between his skates and past Derek Dorsett and beat goalie Henrik Lundqvist short side, off Lundqvist's chest, at 6:36 of the second period to make it 2-2.

The goal broke his team record, set in 2012, for points (17) by a Kings defenseman in the playoffs. He has eight points in the past seven games.

Of course, his emotion cannot be measured by any statistical means, although it might have been quantified when Jeff Carter appeared to have to calm Doughty down on the bench after the penalty on Richards.

"I think a lot of players play better with a little emotion and adversity," Kings forward Kyle Clifford said. "And Doughty's one of those guys that wants the game on his stick and he's able to make those plays. And he's a special player."

Doughty remains the most candid voice in a Kings locker room largely devoid of personality, something which is accepted given his world-class ability.

He echoed a common theme by the Kings, that this game wasn't one for their scrapbook. But that's easier to swallow when you're brought to the podium afterward.

"We won," Doughty said. "I guess that's the best thing about it. We have to definitely look over some of the things we did. We didn't do a lot of things right; gave up opportunities, made [goalie] Jonathan [Quick] make big saves … we got a lot to clean up. But we're happy with the win. Happy the guys never gave up and won the game in the end."

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