POINT, KUCHEROV LEAD DEFENDING CHAMPS IN ROLLERCOASTER WIN
In a back-and-forth game that saw four game-tying goals, Brayden Point (2-0—2) put Tampa Bay ahead for good with 1:14 remaining in regulation as the defending Stanley Cup champions took Game 1 in the first-ever “Battle of Florida” in Stanley Cup Playoffs history.
* The Lightning and Panthers traded the lead four times in Game 1. Florida overcame a 1-0 deficit to go ahead 2-1 before Tampa Bay responded by taking a 3-2 advantage. The Panthers rallied again to take a 4-3 lead in the third period, followed by Point scoring twice in the final 7:00 of regulation to earn the victory.
* Game 1 in the Lightning-Panthers series marked just the fourth game in NHL postseason history to feature four lead changes. The others: Game 2 of the 1936 Quarterfinals (NYA 4 at CHI 5), Game 2 of the 1992 Division Semifinals (EDM 5 at LAK 8) and Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final (WSH 4 at VGK 6).
* Point recorded his fourth career multi-goal game in the playoffs, the other three all came during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs (Game 4 of the SCF, Game 1 of the CF & Game 1 of the R1), as he established a franchise record for most goals in a single playoff year (14 in 23 GP).
* Nikita Kucherov, who was skating in his first contest since Game 6 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final where he led all players with 7-27—34 in 25 GP, scored twice in his return to the Tampa Bay lineup. It marked his 37th and 38th career playoff goals, tied with Alex Ovechkin (38) for the most since Kucherov entered the League in 2013-14.
TALBOT OUTDUELS FLEURY, BACKSTOPS WILD TO VICTORY IN GAME 1
Joel Eriksson Ek scored 3:20 into overtime and Cam Talbot turned aside all 42 shots he faced, including 30 through the first two periods, to outduel Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 1 of the 2021 First Round.
* Talbot, who fell two saves shy of the most by a Wild goaltender in a playoff game, posted his first postseason shutout with the franchise after recording two with both the Oilers (2017) and Flames (2020). Only one goaltender in NHL history has earned a postseason shutout with more franchises than the current Minnesota netminder.
* Fleury made 29 saves in the contest, including a highlight-reel, behind-the-back save on Kirill Kaprizov to keep the game scoreless. Sunday’s outing officially extended Fleury’s streak of consecutive years competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to 15 (since 2007) – breaking a tie with Tony Esposito (14 from 1970-83) for the longest by a goaltender in NHL history.
* Additionally, Fleury became the fifth goaltender in NHL history to make at least 15 trips to the Stanley Cup Playoffs at any point in their career, joining Patrick Roy (17), Martin Brodeur (17), Jacques Plante (16) and Andy Moog (16).
ISLANDERS, SOROKIN OUTLAST PENGUINS TO CLAIM GAME 1 VICTORY IN OVERTIME
After the two clubs traded goals 31 seconds apart in the final five minutes of the third period, Kyle Palmieri (1-1—2) scored the winner with 3:30 remaining in overtime and Ilya Sorokin made 39 saves as the Islanders edged the Penguins in Game 1 of their First Round series.
* Sorokin, who matched the franchise record for most saves by a rookie goaltender in a postseason contest, became the fourth rookie goaltender in Islanders history to win a playoff game, joining Glenn Resch (11-7), Kelly Hrudey (1-3) and Roland Melanson (1-1). Melanson (Game 4 of the 1981 QF) and Resch (Game 4 of the 1975 SF) are the only other ones to also backstop the franchise to an overtime win in the postseason.
* Palmieri was born in Smithtown, N.Y., approximately 30.5 miles from Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. He became the first Islanders player to score multiple goals in his playoff debut with the team.
* Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage
* NHL, 'Immigrantly' podcast partner to celebrate API Heritage Month
* Canadiens-Maple Leafs playoff series has 'Hockey Sweater' author excited
* Carey Price healthy, will start for Canadiens in Game 1
* Connor McDavid will produce for Oilers, Jets 'just can't help him' in Game 1
CAPITALS EYE 2-0 SERIES LEAD, TWO OTHER MATCHUPS SET FOR GAME 1
After a thrilling overtime victory on home ice, the Capitals will look to take a 2-0 series lead when they host the Bruins at Capital One Arena in Game 2. Also tonight, two other series are set to contest Game 1 when the Hurricanes host the Predators and the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Avalanche open against the Blues.
* T.J. Oshie (0-2—2) and Tom Wilson (1-1—2) each collected two points in Game 1 as the Capitals edged the Bruins in the opening contest of their First Round series. Washington owns an all-time series record of 8-17 (.320) when leading 1-0 in a best-of-seven series, while Boston is 15-34 (.306) when trailing 1-0 in that same scenario.
* Should either player collect two or more points again tonight, they would match the Capitals’ franchise mark for most consecutive games with multiple points to start a playoff year – a feat three other players have accomplished in the last 20 years: Nicklas Backstrom (2 GP in 2018 & 2019), John Carlson (2 GP in 2018) and Marcus Johansson (2 GP in 2016). No player in Capitals history has begun a playoff year with three straight multi-point outings.
HURRICANES, PREDATORS SET FOR FIRST PLAYOFF MEETING
The Central Division’s top-seeded Hurricanes will host the Predators in Game 1 at PNC Arena, marking the first all-time postseason meeting between the two franchises. Carolina won its division for the first time since its Stanley Cup-winning season in 2005-06, while Nashville is appearing in the postseason for the seventh consecutive year.
* Carolina went 6-0-0 in its first six regular-season meetings with Nashville in 2020-21. The Predators, however, turned the tables in the final two meetings, closing the season with back-to-back wins over the Hurricanes while outscoring them by an 8-1 margin.
* Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho recorded 5-3—8 in eight regular-season games against Nashville this season. Aho is averaging 1.04 points per game in his playoff career (8-16—24 in 23 GP), tied with Cory Stillman for the highest such average in franchise history.
* Nine players who helped the Predators reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 2017 remain with the club, including captain Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg, who ranks first on the all-time franchise list for career playoff goals (26) and points (49).
Thanks to the NHL PR department for the information above.
AVALANCHE, BLUES PRIMED FOR SECOND-EVER POSTSEASON SERIES
The Presidents’ Trophy winning Avalanche are set to welcome the Blues to Ball Arena for Game 1 of the second-ever best-of-seven series between the two franchises. Colorado enters the Stanley Cup Playoffs after capturing its third Presidents’ Trophy and 12th division title in franchise history, while St. Louis is making its 44th playoff appearance – the most among non-Original Six clubs.
* Nathan MacKinnon, who posted a 14-game point streak during the 2020 postseason, is averaging 1.35 points per game throughout his playoff career (20-34—54 in 40 GP). It marks the fourth-highest total among players to appear in at least 15 postseason games, behind only Wayne Gretzky (1.84), Mario Lemieux (1.61) and Barry Pederson (1.53).
* Current Blues captain and former Avalanche forward Ryan O’Reilly is two years removed from winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2019. He has collected 12-22—34 in 35 career postseason games with the Blues after notching 3-4—7 in 13 playoff contests with Colorado in 2010 and 2014 combined.