Welcome to the “Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Playoffs Edition,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the NHL.
SNEAK PEEK AT WEDNESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Montreal @ Boston, Game 7, series tied 3-3, 7:00 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS
Anaheim @ Los Angeles, Game 6, ANA leads 3-2, 9:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN, RDS
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.
BRUINS, CANADIENS SET FOR NINTH GAME 7 IN STORIED RIVALRY
The Bruins and Canadiens will play a Game 7 for the ninth time in their 34 all-time playoff series when they face off at TD Garden. Six of the last nine postseason meetings between these clubs now have required a Game 7, including their most recent matchup in the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. In that game, P.K. Subban scored the tying goal with just 1:57 remaining in regulation before Nathan Horton potted the series winner at 5:43 of overtime, securing Boston’s ninth all-time series victory over Montreal.
* No rivalry in major professional sports has featured as many Game 7s as the Bruins and Canadiens. The next-closest: other longtime “Original Six” rivals the Red Wings and Maple Leafs as well as the NBA’s Celtics and 76ers, who both have met in six Game 7s.
* Montreal is 5-3 in its eight prior Game 7s against Boston, but the Bruins are 3-2 in their five such games at home.
* Boston will be skating in a Game 7 for the seventh consecutive season, establishing an NHL record. The Bruins had been tied with the Avalanche, participants in six consecutive years from 1998 through 2003. Of the eight Game 7s Boston has contested since the streak began in 2008, six have been decided by one goal, including four in overtime.
* Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara will be making his 11th career Game 7 appearance, passing Martin Brodeur, Andrew Ference and Scott Gomez (10) for the most among active players. Boston’s Claude Julien will be behind the bench for his 10th Game 7, tying Mike Keenan for the most in NHL history among head coaches.
MORE GAME 7 NOTES
* Home teams are 91-62 (.595) all-time in Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* The team that scores first is 113-40 (.739).
* Thirty-eight Game 7s have required overtime (38-of-153, 24.8%). Home and road teams both are 19-19 in those contests.
* The Bruins are 13-11 all-time in Game 7s, including a 12-7 mark at home.
* The Canadiens are 13-9 all-time in Game 7s, including a 5-6 mark on the road.
(Home Team in Caps)
NY Rangers 2, PITTSBURGH 1 – NYR wins series 4-3
Chicago 2, MINNESOTA 1 (OT) – CHI wins series 4-2
LUNDQVIST, RANGERS WIN FIFTH CONSECUTIVE GAME 7
Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves, including 13 in the third period, to backstop the Rangers to their fifth consecutive Game 7 victory.
* The Rangers now have won five Game 7s over the last three playoff seasons, an unprecedented feat in NHL history (according to the Elias Sports Bureau). They also became the third team in League history to win five consecutive Game 7s, following the Red Wings (1949-64) and Bruins (1983-94).
* The Rangers improved to 8-1 in their last nine Game 7s dating to the 1992 Patrick Division Semifinals vs. NJ. Seven of those nine games have been decided by one goal; five of the last six have featured 2-1 margins.
* The Rangers now hold an 8-5 all-time record in Game 7s, including a 2-5 mark on the road. Their other Game 7 victory on the road came exactly one year prior, in the 2013 CQF at WSH (5-0 win).
* The Rangers also improved to 10-2 in their last 12 playoff games when facing elimination (dating to Game 6 of CQF at OTT), including a 4-0 mark in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* The Rangers overcame a 3-1 series deficit for the first time in franchise history, a comeback with a historical success rate of less than 10% in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (27-246, .099). The only other time they forced a Game 7 in that situation: the 1939 SF, which they lost to the Bruins in triple-overtime of Game 7 (trailed 3-0 to begin series).
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers became the fourth team in NHL history to win a playoff series in which it suffered consecutive shutout losses (Games 2 and 3). The others to do so: the Maple Leafs in 1945 F vs. DET, the Avalanche in 2001 CSF vs. LA and the Canucks in 2007 CQF vs. DAL.
* Lundqvist set an NHL record with his fifth consecutive Game 7 victory, breaking the previous mark shared with Ed Belfour, Patrick Roy and Cam Ward. In those five games, Lundqvist has a 0.80 goals-against average, .973 save percentage and one shutout – he is the first goaltender in NHL history to allow one or fewer goals in five straight Game 7s.
* Lundqvist now owns a 5-1 record with a 1.00 goals-against average, .965 save percentage and one shutout in six career Game 7s. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is tied with Johnny Bower (3-0, 1.00 GAA) and Dwayne Roloson (2-1, 1.00 GAA) for the lowest career goals-against average in Game 7s (minimum, 3 GP).
* Lundqvist became the fourth goaltender in NHL history to win five or more Game 7s, joining Martin Brodeur (6), Roy (6) and Belfour (5). His 35 saves against the Penguins matched his highest total in a Game 7, following a 35-save shutout in the 2013 CQF at WSH.
* Lundqvist also improved to 10-2 with a 1.32 goals-against average, .957 save percentage and two shutouts in the last 12 games in which the Rangers have faced elimination.
* Lundqvist made his 80th straight playoff start, becoming the third goalie in NHL history to start 80 or more consecutive postseason games for one team. Brodeur holds the League record (194 with NJ), while Roy ranks second (133 with COL).
* Brad Richards scored the tiebreaking goal at 7:56 of the second period, the ninth game-winning goal of his playoff career and his first in a Game 7. His nine such goals are tied for ninth among active skaters (with Evgeni Malkin and teammate Martin St. Louis). Richards set an NHL record with seven game-winning goals in 2004 en route to capturing the Conn Smythe Trophy and winning the Stanley Cup (with TB).
* Richards improved to 7-0 in seven career Game 7s, including five with the Rangers (2-3—5 in 7 GP). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the second player in NHL history to win seven consecutive Game 7s (at any point in a career). The other to do so: Red Kelly, who posted a perfect 7-0 mark in seven career Game 7s. The only players to earn more career Game 7 victories: Glenn Anderson and Ray Bourque, who each had eight.
* Dominic Moore picked up the primary assist on Brian Boyle’s opening goal and now owns a 5-1 record in six career Game 7s, including three such wins at Pittsburgh since 2010 – all with a different club. Moore scored once and logged a +2 rating in Montreal’s 5-2 win in the 2010 CSF (the final game played at Mellon Arena) and earned the primary assist on the game-winner by Sean Bergenheim in Tampa Bay’s 1-0 victory in the 2011 CQF (the first Game 7 contested at CONSOL Energy Center).
* ICYMI: Lundqvist was awarded the team’s “Broadway Hat” and gave a postgame speech following the Rangers’ Game 7 victory.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Rangers will play in the Eastern Conference Final for the second time in the last three seasons (lost to NJ in six games in 2012). Since the NHL expanded to a four-round playoff format in 1974-75, this marks only the second time that the Rangers have reached the Conference Finals twice in a three-
season span (also 1979-81: advanced to F in 1979 and SF in 1981).
KANE POTS SERIES-CLINCHING OVERTIME GOAL (AGAIN)
Patrick Kane scored at 9:42 of overtime to lead the Blackhawks to the Western Conference Final for the fourth time in the past six seasons.
* The Blackhawks improved to 12-2 in potential series-clinching games since 2009, including a 6-1 mark on the road. Kane (3) and Jonathan Toews (3) have combined for six of the team’s 12 game-winning goals in those contests.
* Since 2009, the Blackhawks now are 14-0 in Games 5 and 6 of playoff series that were tied after four games.
* The Blackhawks also improved to 11-0 in Games 5-7 dating to the start of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs (six total series).
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Game 6 marked the eighth time in franchise history the Blackhawks have clinched a best-of-seven series in overtime, including the sixth such instance on the road.
* Kane now has scored three career series-clinching goals in overtime: also in Game 6 of the 2010 F at PHI and in Game 5 of the 2013 CF vs. LA. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became just the second player in NHL history to record three series-clinching goals in overtime. The other: Martin Gelinas, who potted one such goal for the Hurricanes in 2002 and two for the Flames in 2004.
* Kane also now has four career playoff overtime goals, tied for fourth in NHL history (according to the Elias Sports Bureau). The three ahead of him: Joe Sakic (8), Maurice Richard (6) and Glenn Anderson (5).
* Kane’s four postseason overtime goals rank first in Blackhawks history, one ahead ofJeremy Roenick. He now has 11 career goals, including two hat tricks and three game-winners, in potential series-clinching games.
* “It’s exciting to get that opportunity,” Kane said afterward. “Whatever it is – if luck finds me, the heavens above give me some blessings in overtime, I’ll keep taking it.”
* Kane (3) and Toews (4) have combined for seven of the team’s eight game-winning goals in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The only other Blackhawks player to score one:Brandon Saad in Game 2 vs. MIN.
* Corey Crawford made 34 saves, including 12 in the third period and overtime, to improve to 11-8 in 19 career postseason overtime games. He ranks second in the NHL with a 1.97 goals-against average and third with a .931 save percentage in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* The Blackhawks now have played at least one overtime game in 10 consecutive series dating to the 2010 CF vs. SJ, tied for the second-longest active streak in the NHL (with NJ). The Sharks hold the current record with 12 straight series with at least one overtime game.
* ICYMI: Kane was mic’d up during his overtime goal and the handshake line.
Nineteen of the 72 games (26.4%) contested thus far in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs have required overtime. Road teams improved to 12-7 (.632) in those games, including seven consecutive victories (5-0 in Second Round) . . . The Rangers earned their first series victory over the Penguins (1-4) . . . The Blackhawks improved to 2-0 in their two all-time series versus the Wild . . . Penguins forward Jussi Jokinen recorded his seventh goal of the postseason to move into sole possession of second place in the NHL. His seven goals also match a career high for one playoff year, set in 2009 with the Hurricanes . . . Wild forward Erik Haula potted his fourth goal of the postseason, first among rookies. He registered one point in five of the team’s last six games, totaling 3-2—5 in that span . . . Celebrating his 28th birthday, Blackhawks forward Kris Versteegscored his 15th career playoff goal and first since April 24, 2012 . . . The Penguins allowed 15 total goals versus the Rangers, a franchise record for fewest goals allowed in a seven-game series . . . Wild captain Mikko Koivu played in his 29th career postseason game, tying Marian Gaborik for the most in franchise history . . . The Blues hired Kirk Muller as an assistant coach . . . ICYMI: ESPN The Magazine profiled 12-year-old Liam Traynor, who has cerebral palsy, and his friendship with Predators defenseman Michael Del Zotto.
Source: NHL Media