Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/13/14 at 10:48 AM ET
PENGUINS, RANGERS VIE FOR EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL BERTH
The Penguins and Rangers will battle for a berth in the Eastern Conference Final when they meet in Game 7 at CONSOL Energy Center. These teams have faced off four previous times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Tuesday marks their first head-to-head Game 7. Despite that, both teams are familiar with series-deciding showdowns in recent years:
* The Penguins will be contesting their fifth Game 7 in the past six playoff seasons and their first since dropping a 1-0 decision to the Lightning in the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Five Penguins have appeared in each of Pittsburgh’s four Game 7s since 2009: goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, defensemen Kris Letang and Brooks Orpik, and forwards Craig Adams and Chris Kunitz.
* The Rangers will be contesting a Game 7 for the fifth time in their past seven playoff series dating to 2012. Having eliminated the Flyers in seven games in the First Round, the Rangers will attempt to post Game 7 wins in consecutive series for the second time in that span; they defeated the Senators and Capitals in the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and Semifinals, respectively.
* The Rangers have won four consecutive Game 7s and are 7-1 in their past eight such games dating to 1992. The club also is attempting to win a best-of-seven playoff series it trailed 3-1 for the first time in franchise history, a comeback with a historical success rate under 10% in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (26-246, .096).
* Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has won four consecutive Game 7s, tied for the NHL record with Ed Belfour, Patrick Roy and Cam Ward. He also has a 1.00 goals-against average, .963 save percentage and one shutout in five career Game 7s. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is tied with Johnny Bower (3-0, 1.00 GAA) and Dwayne Roloson (2-1, 1.00 GAA) for the lowest career goals-against average in Game 7s (minimum, 3 GP).
* Rangers center Brad Richards has an unblemished Game 7 record, going 6-0 in winner-take-all games since 2004, while teammate Dominic Moore will attempt to post his third Game 7 win at Pittsburgh since 2010 – all with a different club. Moore scored once and logged a +2 rating in Montreal’s 5-2 win in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals – the final game played at Mellon Arena – and earned the primary assist on the game-winner by Sean Bergenheim in Tampa Bay’s 1-0 victory in the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – the first Game 7 contested at CONSOL Energy Center.
MORE GAME 7 NOTES
* Home teams are 91-61 (.599) all-time in Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* The team that scores first is 112-40 (.737).
* Thirty-eight Game 7s have required overtime (38-of-152, 25.0%). Home and road teams both are 19-19 in those contests.
* The Penguins are 7-6 all-time in Game 7s, including a 2-6 mark at home.
* The Rangers are 7-5 all-time in Game 7s, including a 1-5 mark on the road.
PRICE, CANADIENS FORCE GAME 7 WITH BRUINS
Carey Price made 26 saves to record his fourth career playoff shutout and help the Canadiens force a Game 7 versus the Bruins.
* All four of Price’s postseason shutouts have come against the Bruins. He posted a pair of shutouts in the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: a 27-save performance in Game 4 and a 25-save victory in Game 7. Price also recorded a shutout in Game 1 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, stopping 31 shots – his most in a playoff shutout.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Price became just the second goaltender in NHL history to earn his first four postseason shutouts versus one team. The other to accomplish that feat: Martin Brodeur, who also recorded his first four career playoff shutouts against the Bruins (one in 1994 CSF, three in 1995 CQF).
* Elias says that only one other goaltender in Canadiens history has registered four postseason shutouts versus the Bruins: Jacques Plante, who notched two such games in the 1954 Semifinals and one each in the 1957 Stanley Cup Final and 1958 Stanley Cup Final.
* Price now holds a 4-0 record and has allowed one total goal in four elimination games in 2014, including three such contests for Team Canada at the Olympic Winter Games: a 2-1 win in Olympic QF vs. Latvia (15 saves), a 1-0 win in Olympic SF vs. USA (31 saves), a 3-0 win in Olympic F vs. Sweden (24 saves) and a 4-0 win in Game 6 of Second Round vs. Boston (26 saves).
* Thomas Vanek (2-0—2) recorded his second multi-goal game of the playoffs and now leads the team with five goals in 10 outings. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Vanek, who also played for the Sabres and Islanders this season, became just the second player in NHL history to score five or more postseason goals after playing for two different teams during the preceding regular season. The other to do so: Ray Sheppard, who potted eight goals for the Panthers in the 1996 Stanley Cup Playoffs after playing for the Red Wings and Sharks earlier that season.
* Max Pacioretty (1-1—2) registered his first career multi-point postseason game and found the back of the net for the first time since scoring the series-clinching marker against the Lightning in Game 4 of the First Round. The Canadiens improved to 26-1-1 this season when he records a goal (regular season and playoffs).
* Lars Eller scored 2:11 after the opening face-off to earn his first career game-winning goal in the postseason. He ranks second on the team with 4-5—9 in 10 games; Eller had 0-2—2 in eight career playoff contests prior to 2014.
* Nathan Beaulieu, Montreal’s first-round pick (17th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft, collected an assist and logged a +2 rating in his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut. The 21-year-old defenseman skated in 17 games with the team during the regular season, posting 0-2—2 and a +6 rating.
* The Canadiens went 1-for-4 on the power play and now have scored seven goals with the man-advantage in the series (7-for-20, 35.0%). The last time they recorded seven or more power-play goals in one series was in the 1992 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, when they went 8-for-41 (19.5%) versus the Whalers (won series in seven games).
DID YOU KNOW?
* The Bruins and Canadiens will contest their ninth head-to-head Game 7 on Wednesday, a record in North American professional sports. Montreal holds a 5-3 advantage in their eight prior Game 7s, but the teams have split their six such games in Boston.
* Six of the last nine playoff meetings between the Bruins and Canadiens now have required a Game 7. In their most recent matchup in the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Nathan Horton scored at 5:43 of overtime to give Boston a 4-3 victory en route to the team capturing the Stanley Cup.
* Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara will be making his 11th career Game 7 appearance, passing Martin Brodeur, Andrew Ference and Scott Gomez (10) for the most among active players. Boston’s Claude Julien will be behind the bench for his 10th Game 7, tying Mike Keenan for the most in NHL history among head coaches.
SMITH-PELLY, GIBSON HELP DUCKS TAKE 3-2 SERIES LEAD
Devante Smith-Pelly (2-0—2) recorded his second multi-goal game of the playoffs and John Gibson made 39 saves to help the Ducks hold off the Kings and take a 3-2 series lead.
* The Ducks picked up their third consecutive victory, their longest postseason winning streak since 2007, when they won five straight (May 17-30) en route to capturing the Stanley Cup.
* With the game knotted at 1-1, Smith-Pelly scored twice in a 1:23 span of the second period to help the Ducks take the lead for good. He now paces the team with five goals in the playoffs (10 GP) after finding the back of the net just twice during the regular season (19 GP).
* Gibson improved to 5-0 with a 1.40 goals-against average, .955 save percentage and two shutouts in his NHL career (regular season and playoffs).
* Gibson also became the second rookie goaltender to win multiple games for the Ducks this postseason, following Frederik Andersen, who earned three victories in the First Round versus the Stars. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other team in NHL history has had more than one rookie goaltender record at least two victories in a single playoff year.
* Ryan Getzlaf collected an assist to extend his assist/point streak to five games (1-6—7). He has posted at least one point in eight of his 10 postseason appearances, tying for second in the NHL in assists (10) and points (14).
* Jakob Silfverberg scored what proved to be the game-winning goal, the first of his playoff career (23 GP). Seven different Ducks now have registered the decisive marker in their seven postseason victories.
* With the victory, the Ducks became the first team to win on home ice in this series.
STARTING TIMES FOR REMAINDER OF SECOND ROUND
The NHL announced the starting times for the remainder of the Second Round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Wednesday, May 14:
* The starting time for Game 7 between the Bruins and Canadiens has been set for 7:00 p.m. ET in Boston. In the U.S., the game will be seen on NBCSN. In Canada, the game will be televised on CBC and RDS.
* The starting time for Game 6 between the Ducks and Kings has been set for 9:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. PT in Los Angeles. In the U.S., the game will be seen on NBCSN. In Canada, the game will be televised on TSN and RDS.
Thursday, May 15:
* The starting time for a potential Game 7 between the Blackhawks and Wild has been set for 8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT in Chicago. In the U.S., the game would be seen on NBCSN. In Canada, the game would be televised on TSN and RDS.
Friday, May 16:
* The starting time for a potential Game 7 between the Ducks and Kings has been set for 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT in Anaheim. In the U.S., the game would be seen on NBCSN. In Canada, the game would be televised on TSN and RDS.
Home teams improved to 44-26 (.629) in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including a 26-10 mark (.722) by Western Conference clubs . . . Kings forward Marian Gaborik (2-0—2) posted his third multi-goal game of the postseason and now leads all players with eight goals (in 12 GP), one shy of his playoff career high set in 2003 (nine goals in 18 GP). Since being acquired by the Kings at the Trade Deadline, Gaborik has 13-15—28 in 31 games (regular season and playoffs) . . . Kings forward Anze Kopitar collected an assist and now has found the scoresheet in 11 of the team’s 12 postseason games, leading the NHL with 12 helpers and 16 points . . . Bruins forward Shawn Thornton skated in his 100th career playoff game . . . The Department of Player Safety fined Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist $5,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct during Game 6 of the team’s Second Round series versus the Penguins . . . The Coyotes signed defenseman Chris Summers to a two-year contract extension . . . The Oilers agreed to terms with forward Anton Lander on a one-year contract extension . . . The Flames signed forward David Wolf from the Hamburg Freezers of the German League (DEL).
SNEAK PEEK AT TUESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
NY Rangers @ Pittsburgh, Game 7, series tied 3-3, 7:00 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS
Chicago @ Minnesota, Game 6, CHI leads 3-2, 9:00 p.m., CNBC, TSN, RDS2
above information provided by the NHL PR department
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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