MORNING SKATE: STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS EDITION – MAY 20, 2014
(Home Team in Caps)
NY Rangers 3, MONTREAL 1 – NYR lead series 2-0
LUNDQVIST BACKSTOPS RANGERS TO 2-0 SERIES LEAD
Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves, including 19 in the third period, to backstop the Rangers to a 2-0 series lead over the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Final.
* The Rangers picked up their fifth consecutive victory, their longest postseason winning streak since a seven-game run in 1994, the year they last captured the Stanley Cup (April 17-May 5, 1994).
* The Rangers also earned their fourth consecutive road victory, their longest such streak in the playoffs since a five-game run from May 9, 1972-April 12, 1973.
* The Rangers improved to 6-3 as visitors in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, their most road victories in a single postseason since 1994, when they had seven such wins. During the regular season, the Rangers led the Eastern Conference and established a franchise record for road victories in one season (25) and became the only team to win at least 24 road games in three of the last four seasons.
* The Rangers now have won six consecutive playoff games versus the Canadiens, including five straight on the road, dating to Game 3 of the 1996 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. They became just the second visiting team in NHL history to win five consecutive playoff games in Montreal (CAR: May 9, 2002-May 2, 2006). They also became the fourth team in League history to win six straight playoff games versus the Canadiens (following BUF, BOS and PHI).
* No team in NHL history has won more than six straight postseason games against the Canadiens or more than five consecutive playoff games in Montreal (as visitors).
* The Rangers went 1-for-3 with the man-advantage. After going nine consecutive games without a power-play goal from April 22-May 7, the Rangers are 7-for-21 (33.3%) with the man-advantage during their five-game winning streak.
* Lundqvist earned his 40th career postseason victory, becoming the 19th goaltender in NHL history to win 40 playoff games with one franchise. He now sits two wins shy of passing Mike Richter for the most in Rangers postseason history.
* Lundqvist has a 1.20 goals-against average and .964 save percentage during the team’s five-game winning streak, his longest in the postseason. His 40 saves also were a playoff career high for a game that did not require overtime.
* Lundqvist now leads the NHL with a .934 save percentage and ranks second with a 1.93 goals-against average in 16 appearances during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* Ryan McDonagh (1-1—2) scored the tying goal just 17 seconds after the Canadiens took a 1-0 lead early in the first period. He now has 2-4—6 in the series, becoming the first Rangers player to record at least six points in the opening two games of a postseason series since Bernie Nicholls registered 3-3—6 in Games 1 and 2 of the 1990 Patrick Division Final vs. WSH.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, McDonagh also became the first Rangers defenseman to earn six points in a two-game span of the playoffs since Brian Leetch did so in Games 3 and 4 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. QUE (1-2—3 in both contests).
* McDonagh, who did not record a point in his first 10 games of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, now has career highs in goals (3), assists (6) and points (9). He also set career highs in goals (14), assists (29) and points (43) in 77 games during the regular season; his 14 goals were the most by a Rangers defenseman since 2000-01, when Leetch found the back of the net 21 times.
* Rick Nash scored his first career playoff game-winning goal, finding the back of the net for the second consecutive game after snapping a 17-game postseason goal drought in Game 1 (dating to 2013).
* Martin St. Louis netted the insurance marker midway through the second period to extend his point streak to four games (3-2—5). He now has 5-6—11 in the playoffs, tied for the team lead in goals (with Brad Richards) and points (with Mats Zuccarello).
* ICYMI: McDonagh was awarded the team’s Broadway hat following the victory.
TOKARSKI FILLS IN FOR PRICE, MAKES POSTSEASON DEBUT
Dustin Tokarski started in net for the Canadiens after it was announced Carey Price will miss the remainder of the Eastern Conference Final due to injury. Making his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut and first NHL appearance since March 16, Tokarski stopped 27 shots in defeat.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tokarski became the first goaltender to make his playoff debut with a start in the Conference Finals or Stanley Cup Final since the NHL expanded to the four-round postseason format in 1975.
* Elias also says that since 1975, only six goaltenders have even made their playoff debut with a relief appearance in the Conference Finals or Stanley Cup Final: Dominic Roussel (1995 with PHI), Brent Johnson (2001 with STL), Ty Conklin (2006 with EDM), Corey Crawford (2009 with CHI), Mike Smith (2011 with TB) and Jonathan Bernier (2013 with LA). Of those six, Conklin is the only one who made his first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final (Game 1 at CAR).
More on Tokarski:
* The 24-year-old goaltender hails from Humboldt, Sask., a city with a population of 5,678. Humboldt has produced several NHL players, including Hall-of-Fame goaltender Glenn Hall.
* Originally selected by the Lightning in the fifth round (122nd overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft, Tokarski was acquired by the Canadiens on Feb. 14, 2013, in exchange for goaltender Cédrick Desjardins.
* He made his debut with the Canadiens on March 5, stopping a career-high 39 shots in a 4-3 shootout victory at ANA.
* NHL totals (all in regular season): 3-3-1 with a 2.93 GAA, .902 SV% and 1 SO in 10 GP
* Tokarski won the Ed Chynoweth Cup with Spokane (WHL) in 2008. He went 16-5 in the playoffs with a 1.38 GAA, .944 SV% and 3 SO.
* Tokarski also backstopped Spokane to the Memorial Cup in 2008. He was named the MVP and top goaltender of the tournament after posting a 4-0 record with a 1.72 GAA and .953 SV%.
* Tokarksi won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2009 World Junior Championship. He compiled a 4-0 record with a 2.65 GAA and .906 SV% in that tournament.
* Tokarski won the Calder Cup with Norfolk (AHL) in 2012. He led the league with 32 wins during the regular season and then went 12-2 with a 1.46 GAA, .944 SV% and 3 SO in the playoffs.
* In 41 appearances with Hamilton (AHL) in 2013-14, Tokarski posted a 20-16-3 record with a 2.38 GAA, .919 SV% and 1 SO.
NHL debut: Jan. 16, 2010 at FLA (with TB; 5 saves in ND)
First NHL start: March 8, 2012 at WSH (with TB; 29 saves in 3-2 OT loss)
First NHL win: March 13, 2012 vs. BOS (with TB; 33 saves in 6-1 victory)
First NHL shutout: March 16, 2014 at BUF (with MTL; 29 saves in 2-0 win)
EA SPORTS NHL 15 COVER VOTE SEMIFINALS
EA SPORTS and NHL.com unveiled the semifinal matchups for the EA SPORTS NHL 15 Cover Vote. The second round pits Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron against Blues forward T.J. Oshie, while Kings defenseman Drew Doughty faces Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban. Voting is open now through Sunday, May 25; fans can vote online at NHL.com/covervote or via Twitter using player-specific hashtags (#NHL15Bergeron, #NHL15Doughty, #NHL15Oshie or #NHL15Subban).
Game 1 of the Western Conference Final between the Blackhawks and Kings delivered a 1.9 overnight rating on NBC, up 90% from the comparable game two years ago (PHX-LA, 1.0; there was no comparable game last year) . . . The Rangers snapped a 13-game losing streak when holding a series lead, the longest such streak in North American professional sports history . . . The Rangers became just the second team since the start of the Second Round to earn a victory when allowing the first goal (2-28, .067) . . . Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty found the back of the net for the third time in the past four games and now has 3-2—5 over his last five outings . . . Rangers forward Derek Stepan collected two helpers to extend his assist/point streak to four games (1-5—6) . . . Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi skated in his 80th career playoff game, passing Rod Gilbert for fifth in franchise history . . . The Blues re-signed goaltender Brian Elliott to a three-year contract . . . The Ducks signed executive vice president and general manager Bob Murray to a four-year contract extension . . . ICYMI: Prime minister Stephen Harper attended Game 2 with former Canadiens coach Jacques Demers and minister Denis Lebel.
SNEAK PEEK AT WEDNESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Los Angeles @ Chicago, Game 2, CHI leads 1-0, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, TSN, RDS