NHL gives Game 1 to pair of veteran refs; stats favour Game 1 winner

NEWARK, N.J. – Dan O’Halloran and Brad Watson, who have worked a combined nine Stanley Cup finals, have been given the assignment to referee Game 1 of the championship series between the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings.

Referees Chris Rooney, making his first final appearance, and Dan O’Rourke (second final) will also work the final series.

Linesmen Derek Amell (second) and Jonny Murray (first) were picked to help officiate Game 1. The other linesmen in the series are Pierre Racicot (sixth) and Jean Morin (eighth).

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By The Numbers—Teams winning Game 1 of the final have gone on to win 76 per cent of the time (55 of 72) since the best-of-seven format was introduced in 1939. The last Game 1 loser to buck that trend was last year’s Boston Bruins.

Around The Globe—The two finalists draw on players from eight countries: Canada, U.S., Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Slovenia and Ukraine.