THREE HARD LAPS: QUICK HITS FROM MONDAY
* The Stars eliminated yet another division winner, while the Hurricanes won to force Game 7 against the Capitals - the top seed in the Metropolitan Division. Carolina’s win set up the third and final winner-take-all game of the 2019 First Round, which will be played Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET in Washington.
* Justin Williams - a.k.a. “Mr. Game 7” - and Jordan Staal helped the Hurricanes become the 10th team in the expansion era to push the defending Stanley Cup champions to Game 7 in the opening round.
* John Klingberg scored the first series-clinching overtime goal ever by a Stars/North Stars defenseman as Dallas set up its 14th all-time playoff meeting with St. Louis.
FIRST ROUND TO CONCLUDE WITH THREE GAME 7s
The opening round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs is set to feature three Game 7s, marking the 14th time in NHL history - and first time since 2014 (3) - that at least three such contests will be played in the opening round. Four postseasons have featured more opening-round Game 7s, with the record standing at six in 1992.
* The Capitals hold an all-time record of 5-11 in Game 7s (3-8 at home). They will contest a Game 7 for the 12th time in their last 20 series since 2008, which is more than 17 active NHL franchises have played in their history.
* The Hurricanes hold an all-time record of 4-3 in Game 7s (2-3 on road), including wins in each of their last four such outings. Only three franchises in NHL history have strung together wins in at least five consecutive Game 7s: the Rangers (6 from 2012-2015), Bruins (6 from 1983-1994) and Red Wings (6 from 1949-1964).
VETERANS RISE TO THE OCCASION AS HURRICANES FORCE GAME 7
Despite entering the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a roster that featured the second-fewest cumulative postseason games played (363 GP), the Hurricanes won yet again on home ice to force Game 7 against the defending Stanley Cup champions. Their victory Monday was thanks in part to third-period goals by veterans Jordan Staal (1-1—2; GWG) and Justin Williams (1-0—1).
* Carolina became the 12th team in NHL history to push the defending Stanley Cup champions to a Game 7 in the opening round and 10th to do so in the expansion era (since 1967-68).
* Staal netted his third career game-winning goal in the postseason and first since Game 4 of the 2012 Conference Quarterfinals with the Penguins (at PHI). His brother, Eric Staal, tallied 4-3—7 in six career games for the Hurricanes in which they faced elimination, including the lone goal in their last such contest (Game 4 of 2009 CF: 4-1 L vs. PIT) and the winning goal in Game 7 of the 2009 Conference Quarterfinals against the Devils.
* Williams, dubbed “Mr. Game 7” during his first stint with Carolina, netted a crucial insurance marker with 8:02 remaining in the third period. He now has 15-12—27 in 23 games when facing elimination, the most such points among active players.
* Williams’ average of 1.17 points per game when facing elimination is the second-highest such total among active NHL players with a minimum of 15 such appearances, behind Patrick Kane (1.26; 6-18—24 in 19 GP). Ken Linseman paces all player in NHL history with an average of 1.61 points per game in such contests (10-19—29 in 18 GP w/ PHI, EDM and BOS).
CAPS VS. CANES GAME 7: DID YOU KNOW?
* Rookie head coaches Rod Brind'Amour (CAR) and Todd Reirden (WSH) are set to become the seventh set of first-year head coaches to meet in a Game 7 - with three of the previous six instances coming in the first year of the expansion era (1967-68). The last such meeting came in 1990, when Mike Milbury’s Bruins defeated Rick Ley’s Hartford Whalers in Game 7 of the Division Semifinals.
* The home team has won every contest in this series, with Monday marking the first time a team rallied to win after surrendering the first goal. This marks the 21st time that the home team has won each of the first six games of a series; the home team has won all seven contests 10 times (Last: 2016 R2 SJS 4-3 W vs. NSH).
* The Hurricanes can become the fourth team to eliminate a regular-season division winner in the 2019 First Round. If they do, it would mark the first time in NHL history that all division winners were eliminated in the opening round.
* This currently stands as the 11th time in NHL history that at least three division winners have been eliminated in the opening round - with six of those instances coming between 1998-99 and 2012-13 when the League was divided into six divisions (last: 4 of 6 in 2013 CQF).
KLINGBERG LIFTS STARS INTO SECOND ROUND WITH FRANCHISE-FIRST OT GOAL
John Klingberg scored at 17:02 of overtime to lift the Stars to their first playoff series win since a six-game victory in the 2016 First Round over the Wild. Dallas, which improved to 16-8 in 24 all-time potential series-clinching games on home ice, will face St. Louis in the Second Round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* The Stars and Blues franchises will meet in the postseason for the 14th time, with St. Louis holding a 7-6 series edge. They have split the four series since the Stars relocated to Dallas in 1993-94, with the Blues winning the last two meetings including a seven-game triumph in the 2016 Second Round.
* Klingberg, the franchise leader in regular-season overtime tallies by defensemen (4), became the first Stars/North Stars blueliner to score an overtime goal in a series-clinching game. Only two other defensemen in franchise history have ever found the back of the net beyond regulation in the postseason: Paul Cavallini (Game 3 of 1994 CQF) and Mattias Norstrom (Game 3 of 2008 CSF).
* Monday’s hero notched the franchise’s ninth series-clinching overtime goal and just the third on home ice, joining Brenden Morrow (Game 6 of 2008 CSF) and Steve Payne (Game 7 of 1984 DF).
* Dallas, which finished the 2018-19 campaign with the second-fewest goals against (202, including shootout-deciding goals; 2.46 GA/GP), allowed only 12 goals in the six-game showdown against the Central Division-champion Predators (2.00 GA/GP). The Stars went a perfect 15-for-15 on the penalty kill in the First Round, including a kill that began with 1:53 remaining in regulation.
ANOTHER GAME 7 FOR BRUINS-MAPLE LEAFS
For the third time since 2013 and second time in as many years, the Maple Leafs and Bruins will conclude their opening round matchup with a Game 7. Toronto is aiming for its first series win in 15 years - and first over the Bruins in the expansion era - while Boston vies for its sixth consecutive series win over the Maple Leafs - which would match the third-longest head-to-head series win streak in NHL history.
* The Original Six rivals head to Game 7 for a third consecutive meeting following historic wins by the Bruins in the last two - both of which featured unprecedented drama at TD Garden. In 2013, Boston became the first team in NHL history to overcome a three-goal, third-period deficit to win a Game 7 (BOS 5, TOR 4 OT). In 2018, the Bruins became the first team in League history to overcome three deficits of at least one goal to win a Game 7 in regulation (BOS 7, TOR 4).
* Boston captain Zdeno Chara (0-4—4 in 12 GP) is set to tie an NHL record by playing in his 13th career Game 7, joining all-time co-leaders Patrick Roy and Scott Stevens.
* Chara is one of five Bruins players to have appeared in each of the last two Game 7s against the Maple Leafs: Patrice Bergeron (3-3—6), David Krejci (0-5—5), Brad Marchand (1-2—3), Chara (0-2—2) and goaltender Tuukka Rask (2-0). Two members of the Maple Leafs have been in the lineup for each of those contests: Jake Gardiner (0-2—2) and Nazem Kadri (1-1—2).
* The Bruins will contest their NHL-record 27th all-time Game 7, owning a 14-12 record in the previous 26 contests including a 13-8 mark on home ice. Boston is tied with Montreal (14-9 in 23 GP) and Detroit (14-11 in 25 GP) for the most Game 7 victories all-time; the Bruins sit alone atop the lists for most Game 7s at home (21) and most Game 7 wins at home (13).
* Toronto (12-11 in 23 GP) will surpass Montreal into sole possession of the third-most Game 7s in NHL history as the club enters its 24th such contest (behind BOS and DET). They own a record of 5-10 in Game 7s as visitors.
* The Maple Leafs will aim to win a series by claiming three road victories for the fourth time in franchise history, with two of the three instances coming against the Bruins - with the last such occurrence coming 68 years ago in the 1951 Semifinals (also 1945 SCF at DET and 1949 SF at BOS). Toronto’s provincial rivals -- the Ottawa Senators -- were the last to achieve the feat against Boston, doing so in the 2017 First Round en route to the Eastern Conference Final.
SHARKS-GOLDEN KNIGHTS ALSO SET TO FACE OFF IN GAME-7 CLASH
After requiring six games in their first-ever meeting during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Sharks and Golden Knights are set to meet in Game 7 - the 11th such contest for San Jose (6-4 overall; 3-1 at home) and first for Vegas.
* After Tomas Hertl’s shorthanded goal in double-overtime allowed the Sharks to force Game 7 after facing a 3-1 series deficit for the first time, San Jose now will contest its first Game 7 since defeating Nashville in the 2016 Second Round (5-0 W) en route to the Final.
* Martin Jones, who established a franchise record for most saves in a postseason contest in Game 6 (58), is one of six different Sharks goaltenders to win a Game 7 and can become the first to win multiple such outings. His 20-save shutout in 2016 against the Predators is the only Game 7 shutout in franchise history.
* The Golden Knights, meanwhile, can become the 16th franchise in NHL history to win their first-ever Game 7 and second in as many years after the Jets accomplished the feat during the the 2018 Second Round (5-1 W at NSH).
* Marc-Andre Fleury has collected three Game 7 victories over the course of his career, all on the road (2009 CSF at WSH, 2009 SCF at DET and 2017 R2 at WSH). Fleury’s three career Game 7 wins are three shy of the most by a goaltender in NHL history behind Henrik Lundqvist, Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur (each w/ 6).
GAME 7 TRENDS
* The team that scores first is 128-44 (.744) in the 172 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* Home teams own a 100-72 (.581) advantage in the 172 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* Forty-one Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs have required overtime (23.8%). Home teams have a 21-20 edge.