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
Los Angeles @ Chicago, Game 2, CHI leads 1-0, 8:00 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 .
KINGS, BLACKHAWKS FACE OFF IN GAME 2 OF WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
The Kings will try to even the Western Conference Final when they visit the Blackhawks in Game 2 at United Center. Chicago is the only remaining undefeated team at home in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs (7-0) and has won 18 of its past 20 postseason games at United Center dating to 2013. Los Angeles is looking for its first all-time playoff victory in Chicago (0-7) and its first overall win against the Blackhawks since Game 3 of the last year’s Western Conference Final (0-6, including regular season).
* The Blackhawks have a taken a 2-0 series lead in both of their prior playoff meetings with the Kings: the 1974 Quarterfinals (3-0 lead to begin series; won in five games) and the 2013 Western Conference Final (2-0 lead to begin series; won in five games).
* Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has allowed one goal in each of the last three games (all wins) and leads the NHL with a 1.90 goals-against average while ranking second with a .933 save percentage. He also paces all goaltenders with a 1.25 goals-against average and .957 save percentage on home ice (minimum, 4 GP).
* The Blackhawks have not allowed a power-play goal in their last three games (6-for-6) and lead the NHL in penalty-kill efficiency during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs (44-for-48, 91.7%). They have yielded only one power-play goal in 21 times shorthanded on home ice (20-for-21, 95.2%).
* The Kings are 8-4 in their last 12 games, including a 5-2 mark on the road; only the Rangers (with 6) have more wins as visitors this postseason. Los Angeles, however, paces the NHL with 29 road goals.
* The Kings have three of the top four road scorers in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs:Anze Kopitar (3-9—12 in 9 GP), Marian Gaborik (6-4—10 in 9 GP) and Jeff Carter(2-6—8 in 9 GP). Gaborik leads the NHL in overall goals (9) as well as road goals.
* Kopitar has registered at least one point in 13 of the team’s 15 postseason games, pacing the NHL with 14 assists and 19 points. He also has at least one point in 16 of the Kings’ last 18 games dating to the regular season (9-15—24).
RECORD RATINGS CONTINUE ON NBC SPORTS
The Second Round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs ranked as the most-watched second round on cable on record (since 1994). The 25 games that aired on NBCSN and CNBC averaged 1.458 million viewers, up 2 percent versus last year’s second round (1.431 million, 21 games).
* NBCSN delivered four of the network’s top six most-watched second-round games ever: Game 7 of MTL-BOS (2.276 million), Game 7 of NYR-PIT (1.960 million), Game 1 of NYR-PIT (1.951 million) and Game 1 of MTL-BOS (1.925 million).
* Through the first two rounds, the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs rank as the most-watched on cable on record (since 1994). The 65 games have averaged 880,000 combined viewers on NBCSN and CNBC, up 19 percent versus last year (742,000, 63 games).
* The eight games that have aired on NBC through the opening two rounds have averaged 2.141 million viewers, up 10 percent versus last year (1.941 million, 6 games).
* NBC, NBCSN and CNBC have combined to average 1.026 million viewers through the opening two rounds (73 games), up 20 percent versus last year (852,000, 69 games).
NHL A FINALIST IN 3 CATEGORIES AT SPORTS BUSINESS AWARDS
SBJ’s 2014 Sports Business Awards take place tonight at the New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square. The NHL is a finalist in three categories: “Sports Executive of the Year” (Gary Bettman), “Sports League of the Year” and “Sports Event of the Year” (2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic).
Other notable finalists: “Sports Team of the Year” (Chicago Blackhawks), “Sports Facility of the Year” (Madison Square Garden), “Best in Sports Television” (NBC Sports Group) and “Best in Digital Sports Media” (NBC Sports Group).
MAYORS MAKE WAGER ON EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Montreal mayor Denis Coderre and New York mayor Bill de Blasio agreed to a friendly wager based on the outcome of the Eastern Conference Final:
Former NHLer Radek Bonk announced his retirement from hockey. The 38-year-old forward was selected third overall by the Senators in the 1994 NHL Draft and compiled 194-303—497 over 14 seasons (with OTT, MTL and NSH) . . . Former NHLer Miroslav Satan also announced his retirement from hockey. The 39-year-old forward won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2008-09 and posted 363-372—735 in 1,050 career games (with EDM, BUF, NYI, PIT and BOS) . . . ICYMI: E.J. Hradek and Chantel McCabe looked at the X-factors  and key matchups  for Game 2 of the Western Conference Final.
Source: NHL Media