It was not the start the New Jersey Devils wanted.
On home ice to start the Stanley Cup finals, the Devils were tentative in the first period and overwhelmed in the second, with the Los Angeles Kings dominating on the shot clock but unable to put more than one puck past netminder Martin Brodeur in regulation.
Ultimately the better team in the game won in overtime, with Anze Kopitar benefitting from a rare breakaway.
Looking closely at the data from Game 1, there's was a clear trend in the second period where New Jersey rarely had the puck and had difficulty generating even an attempted shot on goal, let alone an quality shot.
The Devils' only goal in the game, meanwhile, came on a lucky bounce off of a Kings defenceman.
Below is a chart of the combined shots - including those that were blocked or missed the net - as a way of highlighting puck possession in the game.
In all, the Devils managed to put only 17 shots on Jonathan Quick in the Kings goal, which is the lowest of any team facing Los Angeles so far in these playoffs. (They allowed only 19 in Game 3 against Phoenix.)
All season, the stingy Kings had just three games where they allowed 17 or fewer shots.
"The game starts in your own end breaking out clean, getting through the neutral zone with speed, putting the puck in the right place, running good forecheck routes, keeping pucks alive with pinches," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said on Thursday. "There's no clean answer to it. We've got to be a little sharper in all our areas.
"We had a lot of different issues. Some of them you give credit to them for what they did. Some of them were self-inflicted. We've got to fix them all up."
The shot attempt gap narrowed later in Game 1, with the Devils coming from down 29-11 at one point midway through the second period to 54-34 by game's end.
Teams that dominate on puck possession like the Kings did in Game 1 don't always win games, as a good or bad goaltending performance is the great equalizer.
As long as Quick and Brodeur both play to a similar level, however, this is a troubling trend for New Jersey.
The Devils were a very strong puck possession team against the Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers and need to get back to that in order to win in Game 2.Report Typo/Error