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)
Los Angeles 5, CHICAGO 4 (OT) – LA wins series 4-3
MARTINEZ, KINGS EDGE BLACKHAWKS IN GAME 7 OVERTIME THRILLER . . .
Trailing 4-3 late in the third period, Marian Gaborik scored the tying goal with 7:17 remaining in regulation and Alec Martinez potted the series-clinching marker at 5:47 of overtime to lift the Kings to their second appearance in the Stanley Cup Final in the past three years.
* The Kings battled back from 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3 deficits. They became the second team this postseason to win a Game 7 without ever leading in the contest; the Wild also accomplished that feat in the First Round at COL (5-4 OT victory). Prior to 2014, the last time a team won a Game 7 without ever leading in the contest was in the 2003 Western Conference Quarterfinals, also an overtime triumph by the Wild at COL (3-2).
* With the victory, the Kings became the first team in NHL history to win three Game 7s en route to reaching the Stanley Cup Final. They also won Game 7s in the First Round at SJ (5-1) and in the Second Round at ANA (6-2). Only two other teams in Stanley Cup Playoffs history have played the maximum 21 games through the opening three rounds: the 1993 Maple Leafs and 2002 Avalanche, who both lost in the Conference Finals.
* The Kings also became the second team in NHL history to win three Game 7s in one playoff year, following the 2011 Bruins (who won the Stanley Cup). The Kings, however, are the first to win three Game 7s on the road.
* The Kings improved to 7-0 when facing elimination in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Only one team in NHL history has posted more such wins in a single postseason: the 1975 Islanders (8).
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Kings became the sixth team in NHL history to advance to the Stanley Cup Final with a Game 7 overtime victory and the first to do so on the road. The others: the 1939 Bruins (Mel Hill), 1950 Red Wings (Leo Reise Jr.), 1968 Blues (Ron Schock), 1979 Canadiens (Yvon Lambert) and 1994 Rangers (Stephane Matteau). Of those five teams, four went on to win the Stanley Cup (lone exception: 1968 Blues).
* Justin Williams posted 1-1—2, including the primary assist on Martinez’s winner. He now has 7-7—14 in seven career Game 7s, all victories. With his performance, Williams passed Doug Gilmour (13) for the most points in Game 7 history and also tied Glenn Anderson for the most goals in Game 7s.
* Martinez scored his third career playoff game-winning goal and first in overtime (54 GP); he has two game-winning goals in 203 regular-season contests (both in 2013-14). Martinez also now has 4-5—9 this postseason (21 GP); he had 1-5—6 in his playoff career prior to 2014 (33 GP).
* Gaborik recorded his League-leading 12th goal of the postseason (21 GP). He only had 11 goals during the regular season (41 GP), five of which came with the Kings following his acquisition at the Trade Deadline (19 GP).
* Gaborik now is tied with Luc Robitaille (12 goals in 1991) for the second-most goals in one playoff year in Kings history. Only Wayne Gretzky (15 in 1993) has scored more goals for the Kings in a single postseason.
* Anze Kopitar (0-1—1) found the scoresheet for the 17th time in the Kings’ 21 playoff games, posting his League-leading 19th assist and 24th point. He has been held pointless in consecutive games just once since Dec. 21, a span of 67 outings (23-42—65).
* Kopitar now is one point shy of tying Tomas Sandstrom (8-17—25 in 1993) for the second-most points in one playoff year in Kings history. Gretzky holds the franchise record (15-25—40 in 1993).
* Jonathan Quick turned aside 37 shots, including 33 of the 34 he saw after the first period. He improved to 4-0 in Game 7s with a 2.00 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.
* Tyler Toffoli registered 1-1—2 and now leads all rookies with 7-6—13 in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He also set a franchise rookie record for goals in one playoff year and tied a club rookie mark for points in a single postseason (Daryl Evans: 5-8—13 in 1982; Warren Rychel: 6-7—13 in 1993).
. . . WILL FACE RANGERS IN STANLEY CUP FINAL
The Kings will face the Rangers in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. These clubs have met twice before in the playoffs, with the Rangers winning both series: in the 1979 Preliminary Round (2-0) and 1981 Preliminary Round (3-1). In their six total postseason games, the Rangers have outscored the Kings 32-14.
* The Kings are making their third appearance in the Stanley Cup Final (1993, 2012). They are 1-1 all-time, with their lone championship coming in 2012.
* The Rangers are making their 11th appearance in the Stanley Cup Final (1928, 1929, 1932, 1933, 1937, 1940, 1950, 1972, 1979, 1994). They are 4-6 all-time, with their most recent championship coming in 1994.
* The Kings will have home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history. They also will have home-ice advantage for just the second time overall since 1992 (23 total series).
* The Kings and Rangers both played the maximum 14 games in the opening two rounds of the postseason; they are the first teams in NHL history to reach the Stanley Cup Final when doing so.
* There will be a new Stanley Cup champion for the 15th consecutive season. The last team to repeat: the Red Wings in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
DID YOU KNOW?
* The Kings posted the 13th multi-goal comeback victory of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. There only were eight such wins in last year’s postseason.
* Per NBC, the Kings became the first team to overcome a two-goal deficit in Game 7 of the Conference Finals or Semifinals since 1979, when the Canadiens rallied to defeat the Bruins 5-4 (OT).
* The Kings improved to 9-1 in their last 10 playoff series dating to 2012. They have played 59 postseason games in that span, tops in the NHL.
* The Kings have scored at least one goal in 15 of the their last 17 regulation periods dating to Game 2 of the Western Conference Final.
* There now have been 23 total overtime games in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs (out of 88 contests, 26.1%). Road teams improved to 14-9 (.609) in those games.
MORE GAME 7 NOTES
* The Blackhawks (3) and Kings (2) set a Game 7 record with five combined goals in the first period.
* Along with Justin Williams, Marian Gaborik and Mike Richards also improved to 7-0 in Game 7s. The Kings now have a combined 97 games of Game 7 experience, with a record of 90-7.
* Darryl Sutter recorded his seventh Game 7 victory behind the bench (7-3), passingScotty Bowman and Pat Burns for the most in NHL history. He also tied a Stanley Cup Playoffs record by coaching his 10th career Game 7 (a distinction shared with Claude Julien and Mike Keenan).
* Seven Game 7s have been contested in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, matching a single-year record set in 1994 and equaled in 2011.
* Road teams improved to 6-1 in Game 7s this postseason. They are 65-91 (.417) all-time.
* The team that scores first fell to 4-3 in Game 7s this postseason. They are 115-41 (.737) all-time.
* This marked the 39th Game 7 in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to extend to overtime (39-of-156, 25.0%). Road teams improved to 20-19 (.513) in those contests.
* The Kings played overtime in a Game 7 for the first time in franchise history. They improved to 7-4 overall in Game 7s (5-3 on the road), including four consecutive victories.
* The Blackhawks played their third consecutive overtime in a Game 7, falling to 1-2 in those contests. They now are 6-6 all-time in Game 7s (5-3 at home); Chicago hadn’t lost a Game 7 at home since the 1971 Stanley Cup Final vs. MTL.
2014 STANLEY CUP FINAL SCHEDULE
The NHL announced further schedule details, including starting times and television information, for the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, which begins Wednesday, June 4, at STAPLES Center. Click here for the full schedule.
Media Day in advance of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final will be held Tuesday, June 3, at STAPLES Center. Interview opportunities will be available with the general manager, head coach and entire roster of both clubs participating in the Stanley Cup Final. A full schedule of events for Media Day will be released later today.
AROUND THE TWITTERVERSE
Ken Campbell @THNKenCampbell
I was eight years old when the Canadiens beat the Blackhawks in 7. That was previously best I’d ever seen. This one is making me reconsider.
Bob McKenzie @TSNBobMcKenzie
Fitting conclusion to NHL heavyweight battle between LAK and CHI. Going to overtime in G7. Great game. Great series. Great playoff year.
Adam Proteau @Proteautype
Kings win. What a game. What a series. What a sport.
Eric Stephens @icemancometh
#LAKings. Can’t kill ‘em. Just can’t do it.
David Pagnotta @TheFourthPeriod
Holy cow. What a way to end it… Crazy bounces all game. Congrats to the Blackhawks on a great season.
Chris Johnston @reporterchris
Make it another Game 7 goal, assist and WIN for Justin Williams. Unreal.
Dan Rosen @drosennhl
What a series. That was insanely good.
Steve Lepore @stevelepore
I’ve been watching hockey since 1995. For all that’s worth, I’ve never seen a better series. I feel drained.
Liz Mullen @SBJLizMullen
Tremendous, intense, valiant @NHLBlackhawks / @LAKings game. What fantastic athletes they all are.
Damien Cox @DamoSpin
And the insanity continues. What fun!
Rich Eisen @richeisen
Every rush of the puck. Few sports moments like this.
Jimmy Kimmel @jimmykimmel
Congrats to the @NHLBlackhawks on a great game/series – but there is too much magic in these @LAKings 7-7-7! #StanleyCupFinal
Ellen DeGeneres @TheEllenShow
Congrats to my hometown @lakings on making it to the Stanley cup finals!
Eric Stonestreet @ericstonestreet
What a great series!
Chicago Blackhawks are awesome
but I love those gritty @LAKings! #GKG
Michael Chiklis @MichaelChiklis
Both these teams need to be congratulated. I have to say, the level of play throughout the whole playoffs has been crazy great! @NHL pride!
Jerry Bruckheimer @BRUCKHEIMERJB
Stanley Cup Finals!! Congratulations @LAKings!! #GoKingsGo
Ralph Macchio @ralphmacchio
Goldie Hawn @goldiehawn
“@LAKings: CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!?!! IT’S OVER!!! THE #LAKINGS ARE GOING TO THE STANLEY CUP FINALS!!!” Stoked!!
Stephen Amell @amellywood
The #Kings winning Game 7’s on the road is the only thing my daughter has ever known.
Chicago Blackhawks @NHLBlackhawks
.@LAKings: Great series. Good luck in the next round.
LA Kings @LAKings
@NHLBlackhawks thanks guys, one heck of a series. We’ll see you next year, same place.
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 47,558 (9%) predicted the Kings would advance to the Stanley Cup Final. Just 2,731 brackets (less than 1%) correctly predicted the Kings would face the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final.
YOUPPI!, CANADIENS HONOR WAGER WITH FALLON
Famed Canadiens mascot Youppi! fulfilled the terms of the team’s wager with late-night host Jimmy Fallon, posing in a Rangers jersey in 10 locations throughout Montreal.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) June 1, 2014
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) June 1, 2014
Los Angeles (4.8) and Chicago (22.7) both delivered their best-ever NHL ratings on NBCSN . . . The Kings earned their first playoff series victory against the Blackhawks (1-2) . . . The Blackhawks suffered their first loss in Games 5-7 over the last two postseasons (13-1) . . . Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane collected 0-2—2, finishing the series with 2-7—9 over the last three games – all multi-point performances. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is a Stanley Cup Playoffs record for points in one series when facing elimination. The previous record holder: Mario Lemieux, who posted 3-5—8 for the Penguins in Games 5-7 of the 1992 Patrick Division Semifinals vs. WSH . . . Kings forward Jeff Carter and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews both scored their ninth goal of the playoffs, tied for second in the NHL. Toews finished the postseason on a five-game point streak (3-3—6) . . . Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad (1-1—2) registered his fifth multi-point game of the playoffs. He finished the postseason with 6-10—16 in 19 outings; Saad had 1-6—7 in 25 career playoff games prior to 2014 . . . Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp (2-0—2) recorded his seventh career multi-goal postseason game and first since Game 4 of the 2013 Western Conference Quarterfinals at MIN . . . Dustin Brown, Matt Greene and Dwight King all collected two assists for the Kings . . . ICYMI: Former NBA player and current TV analyst Charles Barkley was among those in attendance for Game 7 of the Western Conference Final.
SNEAK PEEK AT WEDNESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
NY Rangers @ Los Angeles, Game 1, 8:00 p.m., NBC, CBC, RDS
In the U.S., NBC will broadcast Games 1 and 2 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final and, if necessary, Games 5-7. NBCSN will telecast Games 3 and 4. In Canada, CBC and RDS will televise the entire series. Not sure where to find the game? Use our channel finder:http://nhl.com/channelfinder.
Source: NHL Media