Tuesday, April 23, 2019

April 23 Morning Skate


* 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.


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).


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).


* 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).


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.


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.


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).


* 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.

(NHL Media)


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