Thursday, May 10, 2018

May 10th Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate

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The Predators and Jets will each mark franchise firsts when they meet in Game 7 of their Second Round series tonight in Nashville, with the winner moving on to face the expansion Golden Knights in the Western Conference Final.

* There have been 17 second-round Game 7s since 2009, with at least one played every year during that span. The road team holds a 9-8 advantage in those contests, with a total of 10 decided by one goal (including three in overtime).

* The Predators will host a Game 7 for the first time, looking to improve to 2-1 in such contests overall. They won 2-1 at Anaheim in the 2016 First Round and lost 5-0 at San Jose in the Second Round that year.

* Playing in their fourth all-time series, the Jets will contest a seventh and deciding game for the first time. This marks the first time the club will have a chance to close out a series on the road – they won their only potential clinching game at home in the First Round against Minnesota and were swept in their other two series prior to this year.

Nashville’s roster is comprised of 20 players combining for 47 career Game 7s, compared to Winnipeg’s eight players with 13 such appearances.

* Predators forward Nick Bonino, signed by the team on July 1, leads all players on either side with five Game 7s. He has one assist (2014 SR w/ ANA) and a 3-2 record in those contests, with all three wins coming over the past two years on runs to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships with the Penguins.

* Veteran forwards Scott Hartnell (3-1) and Mike Fisher (1-3) and defenseman P.K. Subban (3-1) each have four Game 7 appearances to their credit. Hartnell and Subban have 1-1—2 apiece in winner-takes-all playoff games.

* Jets forwards Paul Stastny (2-1), Matt Hendricks (1-2) and Mathieu Perreault (0-2) each have multiple Game 7 appearances. Stastny, acquired from the Blues at the 2018 Trade Deadline, leads all players on either side with 2-3—5 in those games.

* Jets skaters have combined for nearly as many points in Game 7s as Predators skaters, despite having played in significantly fewer contests (NSH: 4-5—9 in 45 GP; WPG: 4-4—8 in 12 GP).

A series that features two 2017-18 Vezina Trophy finalists – Pekka Rinne of Nashville and Connor Hellebuyck of Winnipeg – has seen an average of 6.7 goals per game, with 40 goals scored through six contests. However, both netminders have a history of strong play in decisive games:

* Rinne, who has twice rebounded with stellar performances following defeats in this series, owns an all-time record of 7-8 in 15 potential series-clinching games (including a 1-1 mark in Game 7s). He has earned five series-clinching victories on home ice (9 GP), posting a 1.91 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in those contests.

* Hellebuyck, who is playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time, is expected to start in his third career potential series-clinching game (Game 6 vs. NSH and Game 5 vs. MIN). The 24-year-old netminder has lost consecutive appearances only once since February (March 10 & 12), rebounding from his three playoff defeats with a 3-0 record, 2.00 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.

Head coaches Peter Laviolette of the Predators and Paul Maurice of the Jets boast a combined .778 winning percentage in Game 7s (Laviolette 5-2, Maurice 2-0). Laviolette is one of four NHL coaches who has won a Game 7 in each of the four different playoff rounds, along with Pat Burns, Mike Keenan and John Tortorella.

Of the 170 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

* The team that scores first is 126-44 (.741), including 0-1 in 2018.

* Home teams own a 100-70 (.588) advantage, including a 1-0 record in 2018.

* Forty-one have required overtime (24.2%). Home teams have a 21-20 edge.

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