By Larry Fine
NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - New Jersey Devils netminder Martin Brodeur would give anything to relive the final moments of Wednesday's Stanley Cup Finals opener but accepts that Anze Kopitar beat him fair and square to secure a 2-1 overtime win for the Los Angeles Kings.
"It's a breakaway," the 40-year-old Brodeur, the NHL's all-time leader in wins, said after his 200th playoff game. "Every goalie would like to have that back. If I knew what he was thinking, it would have been a lot easier.
"All losses at this time of the year are hard to take, because slowly your dream is shutting down."
Brodeur has won three Stanley Cup rings with the Devils and is not one to dwell on a defeat. He and his team mates came from behind to win each of the first three rounds of the National Hockey League playoffs to claim the Eastern Conference title.
"You know, it's one game. It's disappointing. I think it was right within our reach. We just got to be a little bit better next game," he said looking forward to Game Two of the best-of-seven series.
"When you play the Western Conference you don't know a lot about them. That was a feel-out game for both clubs and we have two days to change or tweak or try and get better and be better on Saturday."
Kopitar was wide open in the middle of the ice after the Kings won a battle along the boards and Justin Williams chipped a perfect pass across ice to the surging Slovenian.
Showing great patience, Kopitar faked to his right and shifted the puck to his left side and skated out wide before slipping it under Brodeur's pads into the net for the Game One winner.
"He had so much time," Brodeur lamented.
Devils coach Peter DeBoer acknowledged a breakdown on the play.
"We made a little bit of a bad read," DeBoer said. "But we're playing to win the game. I don't make any apologies for that. You know, we made a mistake. They capitalized."
Brodeur was philosophical.
"Well every series has its own story," he said. "It was a little chess match, who's going to make the mistake and we made the bigger one.
"There's six games left in the series, we need to win four they need to three. It's definitely disappointing but we're fine. We didn't play our best game and we competed with them."
(Editing by John O'Brien)