THREE HARD LAPS: QUICK HITS FROM SATURDAY
* The Blues became the first team in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) to win a playoff series after ranking last overall at any point after New Year’s Day (min. 20 GP).
* Three of the first four teams to advance in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs have defeated a team that finished higher than them in the standings. Since 1974-75, when conferences were introduced, the most lower-seeded teams to advance in an opening round was six (1993 DSF).
* The Stars and Capitals each earned Game 5 wins to take 3-2 series leads.
BLUES CONTINUE COMEBACK SEASON, ADVANCE TO SECOND ROUND
Jaden Schwartz tallied his first career postseason hat trick to power the Blues past the Central Division-rival Jets in six games. St. Louis became the first team in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) to win a playoff series after ranking last overall at any point after New Year’s Day (min. 20 GP).
* The Blues, who have advanced past the opening round in three of the last four seasons, will face either the Predators or Stars in the Second Round (DAL leads series 3-2).
* Schwartz’s three-goal performance marked the fourth time in franchise history that a Blues player netted a hat trick in a series-clinching game - and first natural hat trick. Only one other player in NHL history has scored a natural hat trick in a series-clinching game: Geoff Courtnall (Game 7 of 1992 DSF w/ VAN).
* Schwartz has accounted for four consecutive team goals dating to Game 5 and has registered the game-winning tally for the second time in as many contests. He joined Phil Roberto (Game 2-4 of 1972 QF) and Red Berenson (Game 1-2 of 1969 SF) as the third player in Blues franchise history to account for four consecutive team goals in the postseason.
* His heroics in Game 5 and 6 marked just the fourth time in the last 20 years that a Blues player has recorded consecutive game-winning goals in the playoffs - Schwartz also was the last to do so in Game 2 and 3 of the 2017 First Round. Additionally, his six career game-winning goals in the postseason trail only Brett Hull (15) on the franchise’s all-time list.
STARS SHINE WITH ANOTHER FIVE-GOAL OUTING
The line of Alexander Radulov (2-0—2), Tyler Seguin (1-1—2) and Jamie Benn (0-3—3) propelled the Stars to their second straight five-goal outing and a 3-2 advantage in their best-of-seven series with the Predators. Dallas can advance past the opening round for just the second time in 10 years when they host Game 6 on Monday.
* Dallas, which tallied the fewest goals in the regular season among all playoff-bound clubs (210 including shootout-deciding goals), has scored at least five goals in consecutive playoff games for the ninth time in franchise history and first since Game 3-4 of the 1991 Conference Finals.
* Radulov recorded his second career multi-goal game in the playoffs, after first doing so in his postseason debut with Nashville (Game 1 of 2007 CQF). Additionally, his four tallies in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs surpasses his single-postseason high also set in 2007 (3-1—4 in 4 GP).
* Benn notched all three of his helpers in the second period to register his first three-assist performance in the playoffs. In fact, his three assists in the middle frame matched the NHL playoff record for most in a single period, also accomplished by Washington’s John Carlson earlier this postseason (0-3—3 in Game 1 vs. CAR).
BACKSTROM’S FOUR-POINT NIGHT HELPS CAPITALS TAKE 3-2 LEAD
Nicklas Backstrom (2-2—4) matched a playoff career high with four points to power the Capitals to a six-goal outing and a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series with the Hurricanes. Saturday marked the largest margin of victory in a playoff shutout in franchise history, besting the previous mark of four - accomplished on three other occasions.
* Backstrom, who’s first four-point performance came in Game 2 of the 2010 Conference Quarterfinals, joined Dino Ciccarelli and Evgeny Kuznetsov as just the third player in Capitals franchise history to record two such postseason outings.
* Nic Dowd scored the first playoff penalty-shot goal in Capitals franchise history and joined Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner as the second player to convert a penalty-shot attempt in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It marks just the fourth postseason in NHL history to feature multiple such goals in the same playoff year, joining 1991 (2x), 1988 (2x) and 2002 (2x).
* Braden Holtby turned aside all 30 shots he faced to register his seventh career postseason shutout and eclipse Olie Kolzig (6) for the most in Capitals franchise history. His 30-save outing matched a postseason career-high in a shutout performance, also accomplished in Game 3 of the 2015 Second Round (vs. NYR).
SNEAK PEEK AT SUNDAY’S ACTION
The Maple Leafs and Golden Knights return to Scotiabank Arena and T-Mobile Arena, respectively, with a chance to advance to the Second Round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs on home ice in Game 6.
* Toronto enters Sunday’s contest with the opportunity to advance past the opening round for the first time since the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Maple Leafs hold an all-time record of 35-14 in potential series-clinching games on home ice.
* The Golden Knights look to become the third team in NHL history to advance past the opening round of the playoffs in each of their first two seasons in the League, in which they would join the Rangers (1926-27 and 1927-28) and Blues (1967-68 and 1968-69).
* When trailing a best-of-seven series 3-2, the Bruins have won to force Game 7 ten times while going on to win the series on three of those occasions. In the same scenario, the Sharks have extended to a seventh and deciding game twice - winning once.