Stanley Cup Playoffs News and Notes
2013 STANLEY CUP FINAL
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS VS. BOSTON BRUINS
How They Got Here:
The top-seeded Blackhawks advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in the last four years by defeating the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in five games in the Western Conference Final. Chicago forward Bryan Bickell recorded at least one point in each contest (three goals, four assists), including two assists in the series-clinching Game 5. Patrick Kane notched his second career playoff hat trick in Game 5, including the series-winner in double-overtime.
The Blackhawks made franchise history by overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to eliminate the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Semifinals. After scoring just six times in the first four games of the series, including suffering their first shutout of the season, Chicago found the back of the net 10 times over the last three contests. A hard-fought Game 7 came to an end when Brent Seabrook scored 3:35 into overtime. Seabrook became the fourth defenseman in NHL history to record an overtime winner in a Game 7.
The Blackhawks opened the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a five-game defeat of the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Patrick Sharp led the way with five goals, including two game-winners, and Marian Hossa totaled 2-1—3 in Game 5, the third time in his career he has recorded three or more points in a series-clinching victory by his team.
The fourth-seeded Bruins advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in the last three years by sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final. Led by goaltender Tuukka Rask, who posted a 0.44 goals-against average, .985 save percentage and two shutouts, Boston outscored Pittsburgh, 12-2, in the four-game series. After a 3-0 victory in Game 1, the Bruins scored four goals in the first period of Game 2 (6-1 win) to become the first visiting team in 30 years to record four or more goals in the opening period of a Conference Final or Stanley Cup Final game (1983 Oilers, Game 4 of 1983 Campbell Conference Final). Patrice Bergeron won the longest game of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs when he scored at 15:19 of the second overtime in Game 3, and Adam McQuaid netted the lone goal, his first career playoff winner, to clinch Game 4.
Facing each other in the playoffs for the first time in 40 years, the Bruins needed five games to dispatch the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Defenseman Torey Krug, who made his NHL postseason debut in Game 1, became the first rookie blueliner in League history to score four goals in the first five games of his playoff career. The Bruins eliminated the Rangers for the seventh time in their 10 postseason meetings.
The Bruins faced their toughest test in Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, needing every second of a thrilling Game 7 to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs. Down 4-1 with 14:31 to play, Boston became the first team in NHL history to win a Game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period. The Bruins scored twice with the extra attacker, including Patrice Bergeron’s tying goal with 51 seconds remaining in regulation, to force overtime, where Bergeron continued his heroics with the series-clincher 6:05 into the extra frame.
Playoff History: Despite their many years as Original Six rivals (Bruins competing in their 89th NHL season, Blackhawks in their 87th), this is the first time Boston and Chicago have met in the Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins hold a 5-1 edge in their six previous playoff meetings, the most recent of which was in the 1978 Quarterfinals (4-0 Boston victory).
Original Six Notes: This is the first all-Original Six Stanley Cup Final since the Montreal Canadiens defeated the New York Rangers in five games in 1979. Since the League expanded for the 1967-68 season, there have been six previous all-Original Six matchups in the Final, all of them coming between 1971 and 1979.
Been a While: More than 600 days have passed since the Bruins and Blackhawks last played each other on Oct. 15, 2011 (a 3-2 shootout victory by Boston). The clubs have met 578 times during the regular season, with Boston (261-235-82, 604 points) holding a 47-point edge over Chicago (238-259-81, 557 points).
Blackhawks Go for Cup #5: The Blackhawks are vying for their fifth Stanley Cup in franchise history, following wins in 1934 (3-1 vs. Detroit), 1938 (3-1 vs. Toronto), 1961 (4-2 vs. Detroit) and 2010 (4-2 vs. Philadelphia). Chicago has made seven other appearances in the Final, losing most recently in 1992 (4-0 vs. Pittsburgh).
Bruins Aim for #7: The Bruins are in quest of their seventh Stanley Cup championship, following wins in 1929 (2-0 vs. NY Rangers), 1939 (4-1 vs. Toronto), 1941 (4-0 vs. Detroit), 1970 (4-0 vs. St. Louis), 1972 (4-2 vs. NY Rangers) and 2011 (4-3 vs. Vancouver). Boston has made 12 other appearances in the Stanley Cup Final, losing most recently in 1990 (4-1 vs. Edmonton).
Consistency and Change: Both clubs have the same head coach (Joel Quenneville, Chicago; Claude Julien, Boston) and captain (Jonathan Toews, Chicago; Zdeno Chara, Boston) from their recent Stanley Cup championships, but both teams now have different goaltenders. Antti Niemi, now with San Jose, backstopped the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup in 2010, while Tim Thomas was the Bruins’ netminder in 2011.
The Bruins’ roster has undergone limited turnover in the two years since their 2011 title. Seventeen of the 21 players who suited up during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final vs. Vancouver are still with the club: Patrice Bergeron, Johnny Boychuk, Gregory Campbell, Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference, Nathan Horton, Chris Kelly, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Adam McQuaid, Daniel Paille, Rich Peverley, Tuukka Rask (dressed but did not play), Tyler Seguin, Dennis Seidenberg and Shawn Thornton. The four players no longer with the club are Tomas Kaberle, Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder and Tim Thomas.
In addition to the many players on the Bruins with championship experience from 2011, the club also has a former Stanley Cup winner in Jaromir Jagr, who captured back-to-back titles with Pittsburgh in his first two NHL seasons (1990-91 and 1991-92). Jagr will be making his first Stanley Cup Final appearance in 21 years and in the same city as his most recent Final game (Pittsburgh 6 at Chicago 5 – Game 4, June 1, 1992).
The Blackhawks’ roster has undergone greater change since their 2010 championship. Of the 21 players who appeared in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final vs. Philadelphia, eight are still with the club: Dave Bolland, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews. No longer in Chicago: Nick Boynton, Troy Brouwer, Adam Burish, Dustin Byfuglien, Brian Campbell, Ben Eager, Jordan Hendry, Tomas Kopecky, Andrew Ladd, John Madden, Antti Niemi, Brent Sopel and Kris Versteeg.
Hall-of-Fame Ties: Two legendary members of the Hockey Hall of Fame have ties to both clubs – Phil Esposito started his career in Chicago before moving to Boston, and Bobby Orr started in Boston and finished in Chicago. In one of the most lopsided deals in NHL history, Chicago sent Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to Boston for Gilles Marotte, Pit Martin and Jack Norris in the summer of 1967.
City Histories: Only two pro championships have been contested between these great sports cities: the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots met in Super Bowl XX in 1986 and the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox faced off in the 1918 World Series.
Cardiac Kids: Both clubs survived a third-period deficit in an elimination game AND overtime of a Game 7 to reach the Stanley Cup Final. Boston did both in the same game (Game 7 vs. Toronto in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals), while Chicago did so in consecutive games (Games 6 and 7 vs. Detroit in the Western Conference Semifinals).
Closer Look at the Bruins’ Historic Comeback: The Bruins became the first team in League history to win a Game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period when they defeated the Maple Leafs on May 13. Nathan Horton began Boston’s rally with his fourth goal of the series at 9:18 of the final frame. The Bruins then pulled Tuukka Rask in the waning minutes of regulation and scored twice with the extra attacker – Milan Lucic at 18:38 of the third period and Patrice Bergeron 31 seconds later. Bergeron potted the game-winner 6:05 into overtime to complete Boston’s historic comeback.
Only one other team in NHL history has ever overcome a two-goal, third-period deficit to win a Game 7: the Montreal Canadiens in the 1979 Semifinals against Boston. The last time a team won any postseason game when trailing by three or more goals with 11 minutes or fewer remaining in regulation was on April 18, 2001, when the Kings rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Red Wings, 4-3, in overtime of Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
The last time a team won a playoff game when trailing by two or more goals with two or fewer minutes remaining in the third period was on April 18, 1993, when the Quebec Nordiques overcame a 2-0 deficit with 89 seconds left to beat the Canadiens, 3-2, in overtime of Game 1 of the Adams Division Semifinals.
Trends: The Blackhawks have won seven of their last eight games, including their last five on home ice.
Chicago’s penalty killing has been superb in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, going 55‑for-58 (94.8%) through three rounds. The Blackhawks went a perfect 29-for-29 in their first eight games, matching the longest streak of games without allowing a power-play goal to begin a playoff year in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68).
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 Bruins are 4-2 when their opponent scores first in the playoffs. The only other team with a .500 or better record in that situation is the Blackhawks (3-3).
Five on five, Boston is scoring 1.77 goals for every goal they give up. The next-best team in that category is Chicago, at 1.44.
Distinguished Pedigrees: The Final features two of the three finalists for the 2012-13 Frank J. Selke Trophy as the League’s top defensive forward – Boston’s Patrice Bergeron and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews. It also includes the 2012-13 winners of the William M. Jennings Trophy for the goaltenders on the team allowing the fewest regular-season goals (Chicago’s Corey Crawford and Ray Emery); a Hart Memorial Trophy winner as NHL MVP and five-time Art Ross Trophy recipient as League scoring champion (Jaromir Jagr); a Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP (Toews), two James Norris Memorial Trophy winners as top defenseman (Zdeno Chara, Duncan Keith), two Jack Adams Award winners as coach of the year (Claude Julien, Joel Quenneville), one Calder Memorial Trophy winner as outstanding rookie (Patrick Kane) and two of the youngest general managers ever to win the Stanley Cup (Stan Bowman was the youngest ever at 36, Peter Chiarelli was 46).
Goaltending Duel: The 2013 Stanley Cup Final promises a compelling matchup in goal between Chicago’s Corey Crawford and Boston’s Tuukka Rask:
Goaltender (2013 Playoff Statistics)
Corey Crawford (12-5 in 17 games; 1 shutout; 1.74 GAA; .935 SV%)
Tuukka Rask (12-4 in 16 games; 2 shutouts; 1.75 GAA; .943 SV%)
* Crawford leads postseason netminders in goals-against average and places second in save percentage. He has yielded two or fewer goals in five of his last six starts and seven of his last nine appearances. Crawford has played two career games against the Bruins, going 0-1-1 with a 2.40 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.
* Rask leads playoff goalies in save percentage and ranks second in goals-against average and shutouts. He has allowed one or fewer goals in each of his last five games and set a Bruins record for the least goals allowed in a four-game series when he yielded two over 275 minutes versus the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final (previous mark was five, set in 1930 Semifinals vs. Montreal Maroons and matched in 1969 Quarterfinals vs. Toronto). Rask has only made one career appearance versus the Blackhawks, allowing one goal in a relief effort on Jan. 7, 2010.
Playoff Heroics: The Blackhawks and Bruins have received heroic performances from various players in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
* Chicago forward Bryan Bickell has scored eight goals in 17 games this postseason, tied for second in the League with teammate Patrick Sharp. Bickell totaled nine goals in 48 games during the regular season.
* Boston forward Patrice Bergeron scored the game-tying and game-winning goals to lift the Bruins to an amazing comeback victory in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Bergeron is the third player in NHL history to score a Game 7 overtime goal after recording the final goal of regulation in the same game. The other players to do so were Boston’s Brad Park against Buffalo in the 1983 Adams Division Final and Buffalo’s Derek Plante against Ottawa in the 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, though Park’s final regulation goal came in the middle of the second period and Plante’s was scored early in the third.
Bergeron netted his second overtime winner of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the third of his career in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, tying a Bruins record that was set by Mel Hill and later matched by Terry O’Reilly. All three of Hill’s overtime goals came in the team’s 1939 Semifinals victory over the Rangers.
* Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara became the first blueliner in Bruins history to record four assists in a playoff game when he did so in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. He also became the first Boston player at any position to pick up four assists in a postseason game since 1991, when Vladimir Ruzicka totaled 1-4—5 in Game 2 of the Prince of Wales Conference Final against Pittsburgh.
Chara ranks second among defensemen with nine assists and third with 11 points this postseason, surpassing his previous bests of seven assists and nine points set during Boston’s run to the 2011 Stanley Cup. He also leads all blueliners with a +12 rating.
* Boston forward Gregory Campbell made a courageous effort to stay on the ice after blocking Evgeni Malkin’s point shot during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. Clearly in pain, Campbell helped Boston kill the remainder of Pittsburgh’s man-advantage before exiting to the bench. It was later revealed that Campbell suffered a broken leg on the play and will miss the remainder of the postseason.
* Chicago forward Michael Frolik was awarded the only penalty shot of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, beating Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard for what proved to be the game-winner in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Frolik’s goal was the first successful penalty shot for any team in the postseason since Frolik himself scored in Game 6 of the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals versus Vancouver.
Frolik’s tally also marked the first postseason penalty-shot goal that stood as a game-winner since April 24, 2002, when Shawn Bates scored in the Islanders’ Game 4 victory over the Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Frolik is the first player in NHL history to record two penalty-shot goals in the playoffs. His tally against the Red Wings also was the first penalty-shot goal that served as a game-winner for a team facing elimination.
* Boston forward Nathan Horton leads the NHL with a +21 rating in 16 games this postseason and has a career +32 rating in 37 playoff games. The last time a player recorded a superior plus-minus rating in a postseason was in 1985, when the Edmonton Oilers stormed their way to a repeat Stanley Cup championship. Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky posted a League-leading +28 rating, followed by teammates Paul Coffey (+26) and Jari Kurri (+24).
* Chicago forward Marian Hossa has scored seven goals this postseason, a League-high six of which have given his team the lead (his other tally was a game-tying goal). Twenty-two of Hossa’s 43 career playoff goals (51.2%) have been go-ahead scores. That is the highest percentage among active players with 40 or more postseason goals and the fourth-highest rate in NHL history (also 40-goal minimum). The top three players in that regard are Stephane Richer (54.7%), Dale Hunter (52.4%) and Mike Modano (51.7%).
Thirty-nine of Hossa’s 43 career playoff goals have come in games which his team won, including each of his past 18 postseason tallies. He places fifth among active players with 43‑68—111, including 10 game-winning scores, in 147 career playoff games.
* Boston forward Jaromir Jagr has recorded 196 career playoff points (78 goals, 118 assists in 196 GP), tied for fifth place on the all-time list with Paul Coffey (59-137—196 in 194 GP).
* Boston forward David Krejci leads all skaters with nine goals and 21 points in 16 playoff games. He also led all players with 12-11—23 in 25 games during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Krejci has five multi-goal games in postseason play since 2010. The only other players with as many multi-goal games over the last four playoff years are the Los Angeles’ Jeff Carter (five) and San Jose’s Joe Pavelski (five).
* Boston defenseman Torey Krug, who made his NHL postseason debut in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, became the first rookie blueliner in League history to score four goals in the first five games of his playoff career and only the second rookie defenseman ever to produce four goals in one playoff series. Philadelphia’s Andy Delmore was the first, with five goals in his team’s six-game series victory over Pittsburgh in 2000.
* Chicago forward Patrick Sharp shares the team scoring lead with 14 points and is tied for second in the League with eight goals. He had six tallies in 28 regular-season games.
Tale of the Tape: How the playing rosters of the Stanley Cup finalists compare (among the teams’ active rosters):
Average Height and Weight: Chicago: 6’1”, 203 lbs.; Boston: 6’1”, 202 lbs.
Average Age: Chicago: 28.2; Boston: 29.1
Chicago: Canada – 13, Sweden – 5, USA – 5, Slovakia – 2, Czech Republic – 2
Boston: Canada – 16, USA – 3, Czech Republic – 2, Sweden – 2, Finland – 1, Germany – 1, Kazakhstan – 1, Latvia – 1, Slovakia – 1
Team Rank, 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Goals Scored, Per-Game: Chicago – 6th (2.76), Boston – 2nd (3.12)
Goals-Against, Per-Game: Chicago – 3rd (1.94), Boston – 1st (1.88)
Five-On-Five Goal Ratio: Chicago – 2nd (1.44), Boston – 1st (1.77)
Power-Play Percentage: Chicago – 12th (13.7%), Boston – 10th (15.6%)
Penalty-Killing Percentage: Chicago – 1st (94.8%), Boston – 6th (86.5%)
Shots For, Per-Game: Chicago – 6th (32.5), Boston – 1st (36.4)
Shots Allowed, Per-Game: Chicago – 4th (28.0), Boston – 10th (32.9)
Face-Off Winning Percentage: Chicago – 14th (47.0%), Boston – 1st (56.0%)
Hits, Per-Game: Chicago – 16th (26.9), Boston – 6th (35.7)
Blocked Shots, Per-Game: Chicago – 16th (12.8), Boston – 7th (16.0)
* Home teams have won 56 of the 80 games (.700) contested in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The NHL record for most wins by home clubs in one playoff year is 57, set in 92 games during the 1991 Stanley Cup Playoffs (.620). The last time home teams had a winning percentage of .600 or higher during the postseason was in 1993, when they went 52-33 (.612).
* There have been 24 overtime games contested in the first 80 games of the playoffs, only three of which have required more than one extra period. Home teams are 18-6 (.750) in overtime games this postseason, including a 7-0 mark since the beginning of the second round.
* Seventeen of the 47 opening-round games (36.2%) required overtime, an NHL record.
* Each of the 14 series contested thus far in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs has had at least one overtime game. That had never happened since all four rounds went to the best-of-seven format in 1987.
* Fourteen games have been won by clubs that trailed in the third period; seven games have been won by teams that trailed by two or more goals at one time in the game; seven games have featured a game-tying goal in the final minute of regulation; and teams have been tied or separated by one goal 79% of the time.
* The four teams that advanced to the Conference Finals accounted for each of the last four Stanley Cups (Kings, 2012; Bruins, 2011; Blackhawks, 2010; Penguins, 2009). The 1945 “final four” was the only other time in NHL playoff history each team won the Stanley Cup in the previous four seasons (Canadiens, 1944; Red Wings, 1943; Maple Leafs, 1942; Bruins, 1941).
* For the second consecutive year and for the third time in the past four seasons, four lower-seeded clubs won first-round series. Both No. 7 seeds advanced, improving their series record against No. 2 seeds to 18-20 (.474) in the 19 seasons under the conference-based playoff system.
Source: NHL MediaStanley Cup Playoffs News and Notes by Sports Talk Florida