Welcome to the “Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Playoffs Edition,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the NHL.
(Home Team in Caps)
Montreal 5, TAMPA BAY 4 (OT) – MTL leads 1-0
PITTSBURGH 4, Columbus 3 – PIT leads 1-0
ANAHEIM 4, Dallas 3 – ANA leads 1-0
WEISE LIFTS CANADIENS IN OVERTIME
After a back-and-forth three periods that saw neither team hold the lead for more than four minutes (TB – 3:34, MTL – 3:58), Dale Weise scored his first career playoff goal at 18:08 of overtime to lift the Canadiens to a 1-0 series lead over the Lightning.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Weise became the first Canadiens player to record his first career postseason goal in overtime since May 18, 1986, when Brian Skrudland did so nine seconds into the extra period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final versus the Flames. Last year, three NHLers scored their first playoff goal in overtime:Gustav Nyquist, Brooks Orpik and Jason Zucker.
* Four of the five meetings between the Canadiens and Lightning this season (regular season and playoffs) have been decided in extra time. Both clubs have won two of those games (one apiece in overtime and the shootout).
* The Canadiens picked up their first all-time playoff win over the Lightning after suffering a four-game sweep in their only other meeting in the 2004 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Their Game 1 output matched their entire goal total from that series (TB: 14, MTL: 5).
* Daniel Briere earned the primary assist on Weise’s overtime winner and now has 50-60—110 in 109 career postseason games, 19 of which have come on game-winning scores (13-6—19). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Briere also has factored on six of his teams’ 15 playoff overtime goals (3-3—6).
* Making his first postseason appearance since April 26, 2011, Trade Deadline acquisition Thomas Vanek scored his 16th career playoff goal (16-5—21 in 37 GP) and now has 3-2—5 in six total games against the Lightning this season.
* Brian Gionta (1-1—2) netted his 32nd career playoff goal and third shorthanded. His last shorthanded goal in the postseason came on April 29, 2006, when he scored the series-clinching goal for the Devils in Game 4 of the 2006 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals versus the Rangers. Gionta now has 6-4—10 in 12 career playoff games against the Lightning.
* The Canadiens improved to 76-61-3 in 140 all-time postseason overtime games, the most of any team. Their 76 such victories also lead the NHL, 20 more than the next-closest team (TOR: 56-53-1).
There is no greater overtime in sports than overtime in the NHL playoffs.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) April 17, 2014
PENGUINS RALLY FOR SEVENTH STRAIGHT WIN OVER BLUE JACKETS
Trailing 3-1 early in the second period, the Penguins scored three unanswered goals, including Brandon Sutter’s tiebreaking marker at 8:18 of the third period, to earn their seventh consecutive victory over the Blue Jackets (regular season and playoffs) and take a 1-0 series lead.
* Sutter recorded his first career game-winning goal in the postseason (16 GP). He has appeared in 129 regular-season games with the Penguins over the past two campaigns, totaling 24 goals – six of which have been game-winners (25.0%).
* The Penguins went 2-for-3 on the power play, including the tying goals from Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen 45 seconds apart in the second period. Pittsburgh led the League in power-play efficiency during the regular season (65-for-278, 23.4%), including a 12-2-2 record when tallying two or more times with the man-advantage.
* Jussi Jokinen scored his 10th career playoff goal and first as a member of the Penguins. He has now found the back of the net in four consecutive games dating to the regular season.
* Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves in his first postseason start since Game 4 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals versus the Islanders. Since his playoff debut in 2007, Fleury leads all goaltenders in postseason appearances (81) and victories (46).
* Evgeni Malkin collected two assists and is now one point shy of 100 in his playoff career (36-63—99 in 84 GP).
* The Penguins improved to 20-13 all-time in Game 1s at home, including a 10-3 mark in their last 13 such contests (27-29 overall in Game 1s).
DUCKS BUILD BIG LEAD, HOLD ON VERSUS STARS
The Ducks built a 4-0 lead and held on to take a 1-0 series advantage over the Stars behind 32 saves from Frederik Andersen, who was making his postseason debut.
* Andersen (24 years, 196 days) became the youngest goaltender to appear in a playoff game for the Ducks. He also became the third rookie to play in a postseason game for the franchise (Tom Askey in 1999 and Ilya Bryzgalov in 2006) and the first to win his playoff debut. Andersen compiled a 20-5-0 record with a 2.29 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in 28 appearances during the regular season, including six consecutive victories to begin his career.
* Three Ducks players posted multi-point games: Matt Beleskey (1-1—2), Ryan Getzlaf (1-1—2) and Francois Beauchemin (0-2—2).
* Kyle Palmieri scored the opening goal and now has 4-2—6 and a +6 rating in his last seven postseason appearances.
* The Ducks extended their winning streak to five games (dating to the regular season). They also improved to 11-9 all-time in the first game of playoff series.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
Making his postseason debut, Blue Jackets forward Derek MacKenzie scored his first career playoff goal while shorthanded. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the eighth player in NHL history to register a shorthanded goal in his first postseason game and the first to do so since 1998:
SHORTHANDED GOAL IN PLAYOFF DEBUT, NHL HISTORY
John McCormack (TOR): March 28, 1950
Larry Leach (BOS): March 24, 1959
Billy Carroll (NYI): April 8, 1981
Charlie Huddy (EDM): April 7, 1982
Mark Kolesar (TOR): April 21, 1996
Todd Marchant (EDM): April 16, 1997
Brad Werenka (PIT): April 23, 1998
Derek MacKenzie (CBJ): April 16, 2014
DID YOU KNOW?
* Teams that win Game 1 in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series hold an all-time series record of 417-190 (68.7%).
* Home teams went 2-1 on opening night of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Last year, home clubs earned an NHL-record 59 victories (59-27, .686) in the postseason, including a 30-17 mark (.638) in the first round. In 2012, road teams dominated, posting a record 47 wins (47-39, .547) throughout the playoffs, including a 30-18 mark (.625) in the first round.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Ducks forward Teemu Selanne (43 years, 287 days) became the oldest player to appear in a Stanley Cup Playoffs game since Chris Chelios in 2009 (47 years, 122 days: Game 5 of WCF). The only other NHLers to skate in a postseason game at an older age are Gordie Howe (age 52), Johnny Bower (44),Lester Patrick (44) and Jacques Plante (44).
2014 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS BRACKET CHALLENGE
More than a half-million brackets were submitted in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge powered by Can-Am on NHL.com. Among the famous names submitting brackets were actors Jon Hamm, Alyssa Milano and Alan Thicke; broadcaster and former NFL MVP Boomer Esiason; country music singer Martina McBride; director Bobby Farrelly; Olympians Charlie White, Michelle Kwan andKristi Yamaguchi; TV personalities Pat Sajak and Willie Geist; and athletes Graham Rahal, Chris Carpenter and Keith Tkachuk.
Click here to view some of the famous brackets.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos recorded two goals and now has 8-7—15 in 19 career playoff appearances, including 3-3—6 in his past four postseason games dating to 2011 . . . Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson posted 1-1—2 and now has 2-12—14 in 13 career playoff appearances . . . Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn scored for the Stars. They both ranked in the top 10 in the NHL in points this season (Seguin: 37-47—84, Benn: 34-45—79) . . . Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback made 39 saves in his first playoff start, his most stops in any game this season . . . ICYMI: Enterprise’s new commercial featuring Blues forward T.J. Oshie made its national television debut during the Penguins-Blue Jackets game . . . Check out CBC’s opening montage for the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
SNEAK PEEK AT THURSDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Philadelphia @ NY Rangers, Game 1, 7:00 p.m., CNBC, TSN, RDS, CSN-PH, MSG
Chicago @ St. Louis, Game 1, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS2, CSN-CH, FS-MW
Minnesota @ Colorado, Game 1, 9:30 p.m., CNBC, TSN, RDS, FS-N, ALT
Los Angeles @ San Jose, Game 1, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS2, FS-W, CSN-CA
For the third consecutive year, every Stanley Cup Playoffs game is being televised nationally in the United States, on NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and NHL Network. Not sure where to find the game? Use our channel finder: http://nhl.com/channelfinder.
FLYERS, RANGERS MEET FOR 11TH TIME IN POSTSEASON . . .
The Flyers visit the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in the 11th all-time playoff series between these clubs and first since 1997, when Philadelphia defeated New York in five games to earn a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. The Flyers hold a 6-4 edge in their 10 previous postseason meetings, including three straight victories, but the Rangers have won three of their five all-time matchups in the first round. New York also has won eight consecutive regular-season games versus Philadelphia at Madison Square Garden dating to Feb. 20, 2011, outscoring the Flyers 32-9 and holding them to two or fewer goals in each contest. Overall, the Rangers finished the regular season with points in 11 of their last 13 games (9-2-2), while the Flyers went 3-1-1 in their final five outings.
. . . AS DO BLUES AND BLACKHAWKS
The Blues play host to the Blackhawks at Scottrade Center in their 11th all-time playoff meeting and first since 2002, a five-game series victory by St. Louis in the Western Conference Quarterfinals under the direction of current Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville. The Blackhawks are the defending Stanley Cup champions and are looking to become the first repeat winners since the Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. The Blues, meanwhile, set a franchise record with 52 victories this season, including a 3-2-0 mark in five regular-season matchups with the Blackhawks (CHI: 2-1-2).
ROY LEADS AVALANCHE AGAINST WILD
Patrick Roy and the Avalanche welcome the Wild to Pepsi Center in the third all-time playoff meeting between these clubs and first since 2008. No stranger to Minnesota, Roy will be making his postseason coaching debut against his final opponent in a 19-season, Hall of Fame playing career – in the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Andrew Brunettescored at 3:25 of overtime to give the Wild a 3-2 win over Roy and the Avalanche in Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Colorado won the only other postseason matchup between these clubs, decided in six games in the first round of the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
KINGS, SHARKS FACE OFF FOR SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR
Familiar opponents, the Kings and Sharks face off for the second consecutive postseason when they meet at SAP Center. These clubs have battled each other twice before in the playoffs, each earning one series victory: San Jose in the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals (4-2) and Los Angeles in last year’s Western Conference Semifinals (4-3). Eight of the 13 postseason games between these teams have been decided by one goal, including five such contests in 2013’s seven-game thriller. The Kings went 3-1-1 against the Sharks in their five-game, regular-season series (SJ: 2-2-1), with four of the five contests featuring one-goal margins, including two decided in extra time.
TOP-SELLING PLAYER JERSEYS FOR 2013-14
See below for a list of the top-selling player jerseys on shop.NHL.com for the 2013-14 regular season:
Source: NHL Media