Stanley Cup Playoffs News And Notes

MORNING STANLEY CUP OF JOE – JUNE 8, 2013
FRIDAY’S RESULT

BOSTON 1, PITTSBURGH 0; BOS wins 4-0
Adam McQuaid scored the lone goal at 5:01 of the third period and Tuukka Rask made 26 saves to help the Bruins complete the sweep and book their second trip to the Stanley Cup Final in the last three years.

UNLIKELY HERO
Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid scored the series-clinching goal, his first game-winner in his 48-game postseason career (he has just one game-winner in 190 career regular-season games). A nominee for the 2012-13 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, McQuaid suffered a season-threatening injury in September when his right arm grew increasingly swollen and he was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, a condition that causes dangerous blood clots.

After undergoing two emergency surgeries to remove the blood clots, he was deemed unfit to continue his normal offseason workouts in order to give his body adequate time to heal. McQuaid’s dedication to his rehabilitation efforts hastened his recovery time and he skated alongside his teammates on the opening night of the 2012-13 season. He played in 32 regular-season games, registering 1-3—4 while averaging 14:17 of time on ice.

TUUKKA TIME
Goaltender Tuukka Rask recorded the first two shutouts of his playoff career while stopping 134 of the 136 shots (.985) he faced in Boston’s four-game sweep of the Penguins. Only two other goaltenders in NHL history have recorded all four wins in a playoff sweep while allowing no more than two goals: Detroit’s Terry Sawchuk in the 1952 Stanley Cup Final versus Montreal (two goals allowed) and Anaheim’s Jean-Sebastien Giguere in the 2003 Western Conference Final against Minnesota (one). (Elias)

The last Boston goaltender with two shutouts in a playoff series was Tim Thomas in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final versus Vancouver. The last NHL netminder to record his first two career playoff shutouts in one series was Philadelphia’s Michael Leighton, who had three blank sheets against Montreal in the 2010 Eastern Conference Final. (Elias)

Rask leads the League with a .943 save percentage in the playoffs and ranks second with a 1.75 goals-against average.

NEVER IN DOUBT
The Bruins did not trail in any of the four games of the Eastern Conference Final. They are the 16th team in NHL history to complete a four-game playoff sweep without ever trailing, but only the second since 2001 – the other instance was in the 2009 Western Conference Quarterfinals when Detroit defeated Columbus. Boston’s only previous four-game sweep in which it never trailed was against Toronto in the 1969 Quarterfinals (Elias).

INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The Bruins outscored the Penguins, 12-2, in their four-game series. Pittsburgh managed just one goal over the final 106:28 of the series and never led at any point (tied for 75:02 of the 275:19 of game play).

Entering the Eastern Conference Final, the Penguins led the NHL with an average of 4.27 goals per game and were on pace to become the first team in the last 20 years to average four or more goals in the postseason (1993 Penguins, 4.17). They finished the playoffs with an average of 3.27 goals per game over 15 contests.

Pittsburgh became the fifth team in NHL history to score two or fewer goals in a best-of-seven series (via Elias):

Minnesota Wild: one goal in 2003 Western Conference Final vs. Anaheim (four games)
Philadelphia Flyers: two goals in 2002 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. Ottawa (five games)
Montreal Canadiens: two goals in 1952 Stanley Cup Final vs. Detroit (four games)
Boston Bruins: two goals in 1935 Semifinals vs. Toronto (four games)

SWEPT AWAY
The Penguins were swept for just the third time in franchise history and first time since the 1979 Quarterfinals versus the Bruins. Pittsburgh’s streak of 45 consecutive playoff series without being swept (three best-of-fives, 42 best-of-sevens) was the second-longest such streak in NHL history, behind only Montreal’s run of 56 straight series from 1953 through 1980. The Penguins’ streak of 42 consecutive best-of-seven series without being swept was the third-longest in League history – the Canadiens played 75 straight best-of-sevens without being swept from 1953 to 1992, while the Devils have never been swept in any of their 43 best-of-seven series. (Elias)

FIRING BLANKS
The Penguins had been shut out just twice in their previous 147 games (regular season and playoffs) entering the Eastern Conference Final. The Bruins blanked them twice in the four-game set (also 1-0 in Game 1).

POWER OUTAGE
The Bruins (0-for-13) and Penguins (0-for-15) combined to go 0-for-28 on the power play in the Eastern Conference Final, marking the first playoff series without a power-play goal since the 1988 Adams Division Final between the Bruins and Canadiens. (Elias)

Overall, the League-wide power-play percentage stands at 16.6% (89-for-537) through 79 postseason games. The last time it was that low was in the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when teams converted 14.5% of power-play opportunities. (Elias)

CLUTCH B’S
After combining for the double-overtime winner in Game 3, Boston forwards Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand picked up the two assists on Adam McQuaid’s series-clinching goal in Game 4. Bergeron (2-3—5) and Marchand (1-4—5) have combined for 10 points on Bruins’ winners this postseason. The pair (Bergeron: 5-6—11, Marchand: 2-5—7) has combined for 18 points on game-winning goals in their postseason careers. (Elias)

DID YOU KNOW?
The Penguins have lost four consecutive games (regular season or playoffs) for the first time since a six-game skid from Dec. 29, 2011, through Jan. 11, 2012 (0-6-0).

This also marks just the sixth time in franchise history that the Penguins have lost four straight playoff games. They were swept on two other occasions (1979 Quarterfinals vs. Boston, 1972 Quarterfinals vs. Chicago) and lost the final four games of the 1975 Quarterfinals vs. NY Islanders (led 3-0), 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. New Jersey (led 1-0) and 2000 Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. Philadelphia (led 2-0).

SWEET TWEETS
John Krasinski (‏@johnkrasinski)
Here we go Bs!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/YfwCIUIAmm

David Ortiz (‏@davidortiz)
At the bruins game with the kids “go bruins go!!!! pic.twitter.com/BrzWTVkE3X

Graham Rahal ‏(@GrahamRahal)
Something tells me Boston is bound to win the cup. They are just too #BostonStrong right now. Hawks Bruins will be a great match up.

Denis Leary ‏(@denisleary)
Final score Penguins 2, Tukka Rask 158.

Dane Cook ‏(@DaneCook)
Congrats #Bruins you played incredible hockey. Deserving to move on. #Penguins battled hard too. Stellar hockey guys.

LOOSE PUCKS
The Bruins have won nine of their last 10 games, including five straight. They have outscored their opponents, 33 16, during that stretch, including a 15 3 margin over the last five games . . . The last sweep in the Conference Finals was in 2010 when the Blackhawks defeated the Sharks in four games en route to their first Stanley Cup in 49 years . . . Pittsburgh stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, James Neal and Jarome Iginla combined for zero points in the series . . . Defensemen have scored 15 of Boston’s 50 goals this postseason (30.0%) . . . The Bruins improved to 19-1 all-time when holding a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series, including 14 sweeps . . . Celebrities John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz, Bruins legend Bobby Orr and USA Hockey hero Mike Eruzione were in the crowd for Game 4 . . . Members of the New England Patriots also tweeted their support of the hometown Bruins.

SNEAK PEEK AT SATURDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Los Angeles @ Chicago, Game 5, CHI leads 3-1, 8:00 p.m., NBC, CBC, RDS

MORNING SIPS
* The Blackhawks have won six of their last seven games, including their last four on home ice. They have outscored their opponents, 20-13, in that span.

* The Blackhawks are 8-1 at home this postseason and have outscored their opponents, 29-14, at United Center. The Kings are 1-7 on the road, where they have been outscored, 11-18.

* Chicago forward Bryan Bickell has recorded at least one point in each of the first four games of the Western Conference Final (3-2—5). His eight goals this postseason are tied for second in the League (with teammate Patrick Sharp), while his 11 points rank third on the Blackhawks. Bickell had seven career postseason points (4-3—7 in 15 GP) entering the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

* Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford has allowed two or fewer goals in seven of his last eight games, including five straight. He leads the League with a 1.72 goals-against average and ranks third with a .936 save percentage.

* Los Angeles defenseman Slava Voynov leads all NHL blueliners and is tied for first on the Kings with six goals this postseason (17 games) – that matches his total from the entire regular season (48 games). Voynov also places second among defensemen with 12 points and a +10 rating in the playoffs.

Source: NHL Media

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