MORNING SKATE: STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS EDITION – MAY 15, 2014
(Home Team in Caps)
Montreal 3, BOSTON 1 – MTL wins series 4-3
LOS ANGELES 2, Anaheim 1 – series tied 3-3
PRICE, CANADIENS EDGE BRUINS TO ADVANCE TO CONFERENCE FINAL . . .
Carey Price made 29 saves to backstop the Canadiens to the Eastern Conference Final for the second time in the past five seasons (lost to PHI in 2010).
* The Canadiens improved to 14-9 all-time in Game 7s, including a 6-6 mark on the road. They also improved to 6-3 in nine Game 7s versus the Bruins (3-3 in Boston); no rivalry in major professional sports has featured as many Game 7s.
* Price improved to 2-1 with a 1.62 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and one shutout in three career Game 7s, all against the Bruins. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became just the second goaltender in NHL history to win two Game 7s against the Bruins. The other: former Canadien Ken Dryden (in 1971 and 1979).
* Price now holds a 5-0 record and has allowed two total goals in five elimination games in 2014, including three such contests for Team Canada at the Olympic Winter Games: a 2-1 win in Olympic QF vs. LAT (15 saves), a 1-0 win in Olympic SF vs. USA (31 saves), a 3-0 win in Olympic F vs. SWE (24 saves), a 4-0 win in Game 6 of Second Round vs. BOS (26 saves) and a 3-1 win in Game 7 of Second Round at BOS (29 saves).
* Max Pacioretty scored midway through the second period for what proved to be the game-winning goal. He has found the back of the net in each of the past two contests after totaling one goal in the first 13 games of his playoff career.
* Dale Weise opened the scoring 2:18 into the first period, helping the Canadiens improve to 7-0 when recording the first goal this postseason. Weise now has three goals in the playoffs (11 GP) after totaling six goals during the regular season (61 GP).
* Daniel Briere registered 1-1—2, including the insurance marker with 2:53 remaining in regulation, to improve to 4-1 in five career Game 7s (3-4—7 in those outings). He now has 52-63—115 in 118 career playoff games, which ranks fifth among active players.
* ICYMI: Briere was mic’d up while making his way through the postgame handshake line . . . An excited P.K. Subban planted a kiss on analyst Pierre McGuire following the victory . . . A sellout crowd of more than 21,000 fans packed Bell Centre in Montreal to watch Game 7 on the arena scoreboard.
. . . WHERE THEY WILL FACE THE RANGERS
The Canadiens now will face the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final. These teams have met 14 previous times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with each club posting a 7-7 record. Their last encounter was in the 1996 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, a 4-2 series victory by the Rangers. They have not faced each other in the Eastern Conference Final since 1986, when the Canadiens won in five games en route to capturing the Stanley Cup.
2014 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS BRACKET CHALLENGE
Among the more than half-million entries for the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge powered by Can-Am Spyder on NHL.com, only 2% predicted the Canadiens would face the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final.
KINGS HOLD OFF DUCKS, FORCE GAME 7
Jonathan Quick made 21 saves, including 10 in the third period, to help the Kings hold off the Ducks and force a second consecutive Game 7.
* The Kings improved to 7-2 in elimination games since 2011, including a 5-0 mark in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only five other teams in NHL history have won at least five elimination games in a single postseason: the 1975 Islanders (8 times), 1987 Islanders (5), 1994 Canucks (5), 2003 Wild (6) and 2010 Canadiens (5).
* Quick improved to 5-0 with a 1.20 goals-against average, .962 save percentage and one shutout in the five games in which the Kings have faced elimination this postseason. He has allowed one or fewer goals in four of those five contests.
* The Kings forced a Game 7 for the eighth time in franchise history when trailing a series 3-2. They have gone on to win four of those series: the 1969 QF vs. OAK, 1989 DSF vs. EDM, 1993 CF vs. TOR and 2014 First Round vs. SJ.
* Trevor Lewis scored what proved to be the game-winning goal, the second of his postseason career (also May 16, 2013 vs. SJ). He now has four goals in the playoffs (13 GP) after totaling six goals during the regular season (73 GP).
* Anze Kopitar picked up an assist and now has registered at least one point in 12 of the team’s 13 postseason games. He leads the League in both assists (13) and points (17).
* Marian Gaborik also collected an assist and now has 8-5—13 in his last 11 outings.
DID YOU KNOW?
Three of the four Second Round series will be decided in a Game 7 (NYR-PIT, MTL-BOS, LA-ANA). Since 1988, there only have been two other years when three or more second-round series have required a Game 7: 2001 and 2009:
2001 Conference Semifinals
New Jersey over Toronto in seven games
Pittsburgh over Buffalo in seven games
Colorado over Los Angeles in seven games
St. Louis over Detroit in four games
2009 Conference Semifinals
Carolina over Boston in seven games
Pittsburgh over Washington in seven games
Detroit over Anaheim in seven games
Chicago over Vancouver in six games
CONFERENCE FINALS TO BEGIN THIS WEEKEND
The NHL announced the dates and starting times for Game 1 of the Conference Finals:
* Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Canadiens and Rangers will take place on Saturday, May 17, at 1:00 p.m. ET at Bell Centre in Montreal. In the U.S., the game will be seen on NBC. In Canada, the game will be televised on CBC and RDS.
* Game 1 of the Western Conference Final between the Blackhawks and Ducks/Kings will take place on Sunday, May 18, at 3:00 p.m. ET (location to be determined). In the U.S., the game will be seen on NBC. In Canada, the game will be televised on TSN and RDS.
TUESDAY’S GAMES DRAW BIG RATINGS ON NBC SPORTS
* Tuesday’s Game 7 between the Rangers and Penguins averaged 1.96 million viewers, making it the third-most-watched second-round game ever on NBCSN (trailing only last year’s Games 6 and 7 between the Blackhawks and Red Wings).
* Locally, Game 7 between the Rangers and Penguins delivered a 5.8 household rating in New York – the highest-ever in the market for a second-round Rangers game on NBCSN – and a 19.3 household rating in Pittsburgh. NBCSN was the No. 1 network in both markets during the game.
* Tuesday’s Game 6 between the Blackhawks and Wild averaged 1.815 million viewers, making it the most-watched NHL playoff game ever on CNBC.
* Locally, Game 6 between the Blackhawks and Wild delivered a 15.6 household rating in Minnesota – the best-ever for a Wild game in the market on any NBC network (NBC, NBCSN or CNBC) – and a 14.5 household rating in Chicago – the second-highest rating for a second-round Blackhawks game in the market on either NBCSN or CNBC. CNBC was the No. 1 network in both markets during the game.
* During both games, NBCSN (7:00 – 9:45 p.m. ET) and CNBC (9:00 p.m. – 12:15 a.m. ET) ranked as the No. 2 network on cable across all key demographics within their respective time periods.
* Both games also set streaming records. The Rangers-Penguins game scored the best authenticated NHL game ever in uniques (71,459) and visits (79,122), and also was the best non-Stanley Cup game ever, regardless of authentication, in these metrics. The Blackhawks-Wild game delivered the best authenticated NHL game ever in live starts (204,798) and minutes consumed (3.876 million), and also was the best non-Stanley Cup game ever, regardless of authentication, in these metrics.
Teams that score first improved to 25-1 (.962) in the Second Round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs . . . The Canadiens improved to 25-9 in 34 all-time postseason meetings with the Bruins, including wins in four of the last six series . . . Bruins forward Jarome Iginla scored his fifth goal of the postseason (12 GP), his most in one playoff year since 2006 (5 in 7 GP) . . . Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher posted two assists and now is tied for second on team with 4-5—9 in the postseason . . . Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban led all players with 4-3—7 in the series. Torey Krug and Carl Soderberg paced the Bruins with 1-4—5 . . . Bruins captain Zdeno Chara skated in his 11th career Game 7 (4-7), the most among active players . . . Bruins head coach Claude Julien was behind the bench for his 10th career Game 7 (5-5), tying Mike Keenan for the most in NHL history (among head coaches) . . . The Bruins played in a Game 7 for the seventh consecutive season, establishing an NHL record . . . ICYMI: Actors Jason Bateman, Colin Hanks, Eric Stonestreet, Ryan Hansen and Retta were in attendance for the Kings-Ducks game.
SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Los Angeles @ Anaheim, Game 7, series tied 3-3, 9:00 p.m., NBCSN, TSN, RDS