Seven Los Angeles Kings
made their Stanley Cup Playoff debuts Thursday night, and for most of them it was a game that lived up to expectations.
Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals was also game 1 in the postseason careers of Anze Kopitar
, Drew Doughty
, Jonathan Quick
, Dustin Brown
, Jack Johnson
, Wayne Simmonds
and Alexander Frolov
. It's hard to call a crushing 3-2 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks
a dream come true, but they all enjoyed the experience as a whole.
"It was pretty unbelievable," said Doughty, who received a rude welcome when Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler
delivered a crushing hit on him during the third period. "Going out there right before the puck dropped, the crowd was going nuts and I'm sure everyone had goose bumps going down their body. It was a pretty unbelievable atmosphere, and hopefully the second game will be like that as well."
Kopitar confirmed the goose bumps.
"I knew this place was going to be loud and the fans got into it early," he said of the raucous atmosphere at GM Place. "I admit, I had a couple goose bumps when we walked onto the ice. It was definitely a great feeling. It's a lot of fun and those are the types of games you want to play."
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"Obviously it's a great crowd here and it's really exciting to play here," said Quick, who didn't look nervous during his flawless first period. "You're really excited going into the game. As far as extra nerves, it's the playoffs so you're going to have to expect that. As soon as you make a save or a guy makes a hit, I think it kind of goes away and you just play hockey.
Brown was all business when asked what it felt like to play in his first playoff game, saying, "It was what I thought it would be."
Overall, everyone was happy to get it out of the way so they can turn their attention to Game 2. The time for soaking in the atmosphere is done, and the players realize that.
"It felt good," said Doughty about getting Game 1 over with. "I'm sure some of the guys were pretty nervous before the game yesterday, but that first period was a lot of fun, some of the most fun hockey I've ever played. Hopefully the second game will kind of be the same thing just hopefully we win."
"There's a lot of guys in here that this was their first playoff game," Brown said. "To have that under their belt, now they kind of know what to expect, now we can go after it in Game 2."
Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter at: @DLozoNHL