Saturday, June 2, 2018

June 2 Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate

Game 3 Officials

The referees for today’s game are Marc Joannette (#25) and Wes McCauley (#4). The linesmen are Matt MacPherson (#83) and Jonny Murray (#95).

Game 3 Trends

* When the Final has been tied 1-1, the winner of Game 3 ultimately has gone on to capture the Stanley Cup 77.8% of the time since the series went to the best-of-seven format in 1939 (21-of-27 series). However, the loser of Game 3 in the past three such instances (2004 TBL, 2013 CHI and 2015 CHI) has rebounded to win the championship.

* Teams winning Game 3 of the Final – regardless of series score – have gone on to hoist the Stanley Cup 65.4% of the time since 1939 (51-of-78 series). Again, the loser of Game 3 ultimately has captured each of the past three Stanley Cups (2015 CHI, 2016 PIT, 2017 PIT).

 * The Capitals are 17-29 in 46 all-time Game 3s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (4-13 at home), including a 2 1 record this year (0-1 at home). The Golden Knights are 3-0 in Game 3s, including a 2-0 record on the road.

 Home vs. Road

* Washington enters Game 3 with a 4-5 record at Capital One Arena this postseason, outscoring opponents 30-27. Overall, the team is 68-71 in 139 all-time home playoff games (0-2 in Stanley Cup Final). The Capitals last hosted a Stanley Cup Final game on June 16, 1998, when the Red Wings clinched the series with a 4-1 victory in Game 4.

* The Golden Knights own a 6-2 record as visitors during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, outscoring opponents 18-15. Only one other NHL team has earned as many road wins in its first postseason appearance: the Wild, who went 6-4 as visitors in 2003 (their 3rd NHL season).

 Put the Brooms Away

With Washington’s Game 2 victory, there will not be a sweep in the Stanley Cup Final for a record 19th consecutive season (since 1998 DET: 4-0 W vs. WSH). The longest prior such streak (since the Final went to the best-of-seven format in 1939) was seven straight series, from both 1953-59 and 1961-67.

Teams Combine for 15 Goals Through Two Games

The Golden Knights (8) and Capitals (7) have totaled 15 goals through Games 1 and 2, the most combined goals in the opening two contests of the Stanley Cup Final since 1982 (21 – NYI: 12, VAN: 9).

Overall, the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs are averaging 5.9 goals per game (477 G in 81 GP), the most since 2010 (6.0 G/GP).

Game 1 Sets Stanley Cup Final Record

The Golden Knights and Capitals traded the lead four times in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Washington overcame a 1-0 deficit to go ahead 2-1, Vegas responded by taking a 3-2 advantage. The Capitals then rallied for a 4-3 lead, but the Golden Knights scored the final three goals for a 6-4 victory.

It marked just the third game in NHL postseason history – and first in the Stanley Cup Final – to feature four lead changes. The others: Game 2 of the 1936 Quarterfinals (NYA 4 at CHI 5) and Game 2 of the 1992 Division Semifinals (EDM 5 at LAK 8).

 Overall, there have been five lead changes through the opening two contests of the series.

Capitals Notes

* The Capitals – who fell behind 2-0 in the First Round vs. CBJ, 1-0 in the Second Round vs. PIT, 3-2 in the Conference Finals vs. TBL and 1-0 in the Stanley Cup Final vs. VGK – are attempting to become the second team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup despite trailing in all four playoff rounds. The 1991 Penguins also faced a series deficit in each round, eventually defeating the North Stars in the Stanley Cup Final (4-2 W).

* With their Game 2 win at VGK, the Capitals improved to 9-3 as visitors this postseason, outscoring opponents 43-28. Only four teams in NHL history have earned more road wins in a single playoff year, three of which captured the Stanley Cup: the 1995 Devils (10-1), 2000 Devils (10-2) and 2012 Kings (10‑1). The 2004 Flames (10-4) also won 10 road games, but ultimately lost in the Stanley Cup Final (4-3 L vs. TBL).

 * Captain Alex Ovechkin scored his 13th goal of the postseason in Game 2 (21 GP), moving within one of John Druce’s single-year franchise record established in 1990 (15 GP). Ovechkin, who ranks second in the NHL in points this postseason (13-11—24), paces all players with 9-8—17 on the road (12 GP) – the most by anyone since 2016 (Brent Burns: 6-11—17 in 12 GP).

* Ovechkin has collected 10-13—23 in 18 career Game 3s, his highest assist total and second-highest goal and point totals of any game. That includes 1-3—4 in three Game 3s this postseason, in which the Capitals are 2-1. Despite Ovechkin averaging 1.3 points per game in Game 3s, the Capitals are just 7-11 in those contests (1-3 at home).

 Ovechkin, who eclipsed 600 goals and 1,000 games during the regular season (607-515—1,122 in 1,003 GP), is making his Stanley Cup Final debut in his 13th NHL season. Only one player has scored more regular-season goals prior to making his Stanley Cup Final debut: Dave Andreychuk, who had 634 goals when he played for the Lightning – and ultimately won the championship – in 2004.

* Ovechkin has registered 32 goals in 54 career games (regular season and playoffs) against Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. That includes 21 goals in 38 games during the regular season, and 11 goals in 16 contests during the playoffs.

* Forward Lars Eller posted 1-2—3 in Game 2 after teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov, the League’s top postseason scorer (11-14—25 in 21 GP), left the contest due to injury. It marked Eller’s third career three-point performance in the playoffs (71 GP), all in Game 2s this year (also SR vs. PIT: 0-3—3 and CF at TBL: 1-2—3).

* Eller also stepped up in place of forward Nicklas Backstrom earlier this postseason, collecting 2-3—5 during his four-game absence May 7-15. Eller has 6-11—17 in 21 playoff contests this year, nearly matching his 50-game total prior to 2018 (6-17—23).

 * Overall, the Capitals are 26-6-2 in games in which Eller has scored (regular season and playoffs) during his two seasons in Washington. That includes a 6-0 record during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

* Goaltender Braden Holtby made a spectacular stick save to preserve the Capitals’ Game 2 victory. He owns a 42-37 record in 79 career playoff appearances, compiling a 2.04 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and six shutouts. That is the second-highest save percentage and fifth-best goals-against average in NHL postseason history among goaltenders with at least 50 outings.

 * Holtby, who posted shutouts in Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Final vs. TBL, had his shutout streak snapped at 166:42 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. He became the 27th different goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout in a Game 7 and the fifth to do so to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. Of those five, Harry Lumley and Dominik Hasek also posted shutouts in Game 6 of their respective series.

 * Defenseman Brooks Orpik snapped a 220-game goal drought (regular season and playoffs) – the longest active such streak in the NHL – with his winning tally midway through the second period of Game 2. Orpik, the only Washington player with Stanley Cup Final experience entering the series, went 181 regular-season and 39 playoff games between scoring goals (last, Feb. 26, 2016 vs. MIN).

 * Orpik recorded his third game-winning goal in 1,128 career NHL appearances (982 in the regular season, 146 in the playoffs). His two other such tallies: May 11, 2013 at NYI (w/ PIT) and Feb. 20, 2016 vs. NJD.

* John Carlson scored his 17th career playoff goal in Game 1 (all w/ WSH), moving past Kevin Hatcher (16) for the most by a defenseman in Capitals history. Carlson leads NHL blueliners with 4-13—17 this postseason, franchise records for assists and points by a defenseman in one playoff year.

 * Carlson has recorded 52 career playoff points (17-35—52 in 97 GP), third on the Capitals’ all-time list for defensemen behind Calle Johansson (12-42—54 in 95 GP) and Scott Stevens (9-44—53 in 67 GP).

Golden Knights Notes

* The expansion Golden Knights are seeking to become the first NHL, MLB, NBA or NFL team to win a championship in its inaugural season – excluding the first year of a league’s existence – since the 1950 Cleveland Browns captured the NFL Championship. The NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers (1948-49) and Baltimore Bullets (1947-48) also won the title in their respective first seasons.

* The Golden Knights are the first expansion team in 50 years from the NHL, MLB, NBA or NFL to even reach the championship series or game in its inaugural season. The 1967-68 Blues were the last to accomplish the feat, emerging from the NHL’s all-expansion West Division to advance to the Stanley Cup Final (where they ultimately lost to the Canadiens in four straight games).

* The Golden Knights have not lost consecutive games during the playoffs, last doing so in their final two contests of the regular season (April 5-7). They are 3-0 following a loss during the playoffs, outscoring opponents 12-7 in those games.

* Forward Jonathan Marchessault has registered half of his team-leading eight playoff goals in games following a loss, scoring in each of those three contests for a total of four goals and seven points. In the Second Round vs. SJS, Marchessault collected 1-2—3 in Game 3, including an assist on William Karlsson’s overtime goal that gave Vegas a 2-1 series lead. In Game 5 against the Sharks, he posted 1-1—2, including a late insurance goal to give the Golden Knights a two-goal advantage. Marchessault then scored twice in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final at WPG, including the winning goal, as the club rallied for four straight wins to clinch the series.

* Marchessault collected one assist in Game 1 vs. WSH, giving him 8-11—19 in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs (17 GP). That established a record for a player with a franchise in its first-ever postseason, surpassing the Islanders’ Jude Drouin in 1975 (6-12—18 in 17 GP) and Sharks’ Igor Larionov in 1994 (5‑13—18 in 14 GP). Teammate Reilly Smith added 1-1—2 in Game 1 and one assist in Game 2, moving into a tie with Marchessault for the team lead in playoff scoring (3-16—19 in 17 GP).

* The line of Marchessault (8-11—19), Smith (3-16—19) and William Karlsson (7-8—15), featuring Vegas’ top three point-producers, has combined for 18-35—55 and five game-winning goals during the playoffs (17 GP).

* Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of his 17 postseason appearances this year, compiling a 13-4 record with a 1.88 goals-against average, .939 save percentage and four shutouts. That includes a 6-2 clip on the road, where he has a 1.86 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and two shutouts.

* Already a three-time Stanley Cup champion (w/ PIT), Fleury is the 19th goaltender in NHL history to represent multiple teams in the Final. The last netminder to do so was Dominik Hasek, who backstopped the Red Wings to a Stanley Cup win in 2002 after playing in the Final with the Blackhawks (1992) and Sabres (1999).

* Fleury, who registered every win during Pittsburgh’s championship run in 2009, can become the 11th goaltender in NHL history to have his name on the Stanley Cup at least four times – and the fourth of that group to win with multiple clubs. He also can become the first goaltender in League history, and eighth player regardless of position, to win the Stanley Cup in consecutive years with different teams – and first since Cory Stillman did so in 2004 with the Lightning and 2006 with the Hurricanes.

 * Forward Tomas Nosek (2-0—2) registered the first multi-goal game and winning goal of his NHL career in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Nosek was skating in his 97th NHL contest (regular season and playoffs). Vegas acquired the 25-year-old Pardubice, Czech Republic, native from Detroit in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. He originally signed with the Red Wings as an undrafted free agent in 2014.

 * Nosek also provided the heroics in Game 1 of last year’s Calder Cup Final, scoring the winning goal for the Grand Rapids Griffins with 13.9 seconds remaining in regulation (vs. SYR). He led the Griffins, and ranked third in the AHL, with 10-12—22 in the playoffs en route to winning the Calder Cup.

* Nosek became the 10th Golden Knights player with a game-winning goal in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, one shy of the NHL postseason record last accomplished by the 2017 Predators.

 * Defenseman Nate Schmidt, who was acquired from Washington in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, returns to Capital One Arena for the second time with Vegas. Schmidt, who totaled 8-35—43 in 200 regular-season games and 1-4—5 in 21 playoff contests with the Capitals from 2013-17, collected one assist in the Golden Knights’ lone regular-season trip to Washington – a 4-3 victory Feb. 4.

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