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NHL Morning Skate for Tuesday, April 25, 2017: Stanley Cup Playoffs edition

RECORD-SETTING OVERTIME NUMBERS HIGHLIGHT FIRST ROUND . . .
The First Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs featured 18 overtime games in 42 contests (42.9%), a record for any round in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The previous record of 17 overtime contests, established in the 2013 opening round, was set in 47 games (36.2%). There were 20 overtime games in the entire 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs (91 GP).

* Three days saw every game extend past regulation, including April 17 when all four contests went into overtime – the third time in Stanley Cup Playoffs history that four games required overtime on the same day (also April 11, 1980 and April 10, 1985).

* The Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals and No. 2 Wild Card Maple Leafs played past regulation five times in the opening round, matching the single-series NHL postseason record set in the 1951 Stanley Cup Final (Games 1-5, 4-1 TOR W vs. MTL) and equaled in the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals (Games 1-5, 4-2 PHX W vs. CHI).

* Three of eight series were decided by an overtime goal, scored by St. Louis’ Magnus Paajarvi, Ottawa’s Clarke MacArthur and Washington’s Marcus Johansson. There only were two such goals in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The record for a single postseason is six, set in 1993 and matched in 1999.

* Nine of the 12 games in the Capitals-Maple Leafs (5) and Senators-Bruins (4) series required overtime. Only two other rounds in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs have featured two series with at least four overtime games – all within the past six years: the 2012 Conference Quarterfinals (Coyotes-Blackhawks: 5, Capitals-Bruins: 4) and 2014 First Round (Wild-Avalanche: 4, Blackhawks-Blues: 4).

. . . A CLOSER LOOK AT EVERY OT GOAL
A breakdown of all 18 overtime goals scored in the First Round:


AS CLOSE AS IT GETS
Of the 42 games contested in the First Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs:

* Twenty-eight were decided by one goal (66.7%), while another five were decided by two goals following an empty-net score (78.6% combined). Only the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs featured an opening round with that high of a percentage of one-goal margins (32 of 48 GP, 66.7%).

* Eighteen (42.9%) entered the final five minutes of regulation with the score tied. Three featured a go-ahead goal in the final three minutes of regulation, while five included a tying goal in the final five minutes of the third period (including two in the last 60 seconds).

* Seventeen saw the winning team overcome a deficit of at least one goal, including nine that overcame a multi-goal deficit. Clubs also rallied from a third-period deficit (of any margin) to win eight times.

* Montreal and New York were tied or separated by one goal for 96.5% of the total playing time (379:10 of 392:56), the most of any series. Three other series either were tied or at a one-goal margin for more than 80% of total playing time: Ottawa-Boston (90.9%, 367:47 of 404:31), St. Louis-Minnesota (89.1%, 291:45 of 327:30) and Washington-Toronto (83.5%, 339:12 of 406:20).

* Overall, the eight First Round series were tied or within one goal for 80.7% of total playing time (2,199:48 of 2,724:18).

ROOKIES SHINE IN FIRST ROUND
Two of the top five goal-scorers in the First Round were rookies, with Penguins forward Jake Guentzel leading all skaters with five goals and Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews sharing second place with four.

* Guentzel became the second rookie in NHL history to record a hat trick in the postseason that included an overtime goal, achieving the feat in Game 3 against the Blue Jackets. Guentzel, who notched two game-winning goals, also became the first player to score five goals in his first four career postseason games since Maurice Richard in 1944 (w/ MTL).

* Matthews, 19, scored in Games 3-6 to become the second teenager in NHL history to score in four consecutive playoff games (4-1—5), joining Wendel Clark – Toronto’s only other No. 1 overall pick – who also achieved the feat at age 19 in 1986 (4-0—4 in 4 GP).

* Four different rookies – Kasperi Kapanen (TOR), Guentzel (PIT), Kevin Fiala (NSH) and Sean Kuraly (BOS) – scored an overtime goal, equaling the total from the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Only one year in Stanley Cup Playoffs history has featured more rookies with at least one overtime goal: 1968, when Jacques Lemaire (2), Milan MarcettaLarry KeenanGary Sabourin and Don Blackburn all scored in extra time.

* Oilers forward Anton Slepyshev scored his first career playoff goal in Game 6 to become the fifth rookie with a winning goal in the First Round and the third rookie in franchise history to score a series-clinching goal (and first since 1992).

IF YOU’RE IN, YOU CAN WIN
The lower-ranked seed won three of eight opening round series, with the Predators (4-0 W vs. CHI), Blues (4-1 W vs. MIN) and Rangers (4-2 W vs. MTL) each advancing.

* The Predators became the third team since 1974-75 (when the NHL introduced the conference format) to sweep the team with the best record in the conference in the opening round. The others: the 1981 Oilers (vs. MTL in best-of-five PR) and 1993 Blues (vs. CHI in best-of-seven DSF).

THE IMPORTANCE OF A FAST START
Teams that won Game 1 of their series went 6-2 in the First Round, with only the Senators and Oilers advancing after dropping the opening contest. Overall, teams that win the first game in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series hold an all-time series record of 453-207 (68.6%).

ICYMI: SECOND ROUND SCHEDULE
Click here for the dates, starting times and national television coverage for the Second Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which begins Wednesday.

ANDERSON, COGLIANO AND RYAN VOTED MASTERTON TROPHY FINALISTS
Craig Anderson of the Senators, Andrew Cogliano of the Ducks and Derek Ryan of the Hurricanes are the three finalists for the 2016-17 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

The local chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted nominations for the Masterton Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season and the top three vote-getters were designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Click here for more information.

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PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHL MORNING SKATE PUBLICATION

NHL Morning Skate for Monday, April 24, 2017: Stanley Cup Playoffs edition

FIRST ROUND QUICK HITS
A quick recap of the First Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the assistance of the Elias Sports Bureau:

* Eighteen of the 42 games required overtime (42.9%), a record for any round in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The previous record of 17 overtime contests, established in the 2013 opening round, was set in 47 games (36.2%).

* April 17 saw all four games extend past regulation (OTT-BOS, WSH-TOR, CHI-NSH and ANA-CGY). Only two other days in NHL postseason history have featured four overtime games: April 11, 1980 and April 10, 1985.

* Twenty-eight of the 42 games were decided by one goal (66.7%), while another five were decided by two goals following an empty-net score (78.6% combined). Only the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs featured an opening round with that high of a percentage of one-goal margins (32/48 GP, 66.7%).

* Eighteen of the 42 games were tied in the final five minutes of regulation (42.9%). Three saw a go-ahead goal scored in the last three minutes of regulation, while five featured a tying goal in the final five minutes of the third period (including two in the last 60 seconds).

* Seventeen of the 42 games saw the winning team overcome a deficit of at least one goal (40.5%), including nine featuring multi-goal comebacks. Clubs also rallied from third-period deficits (of any margin) to win eight times.

ICYMI: NHL RELEASES SCHEDULE FOR SECOND ROUND
The NHL announced the dates, starting times and national television coverage for the Second Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which begins Wednesday.

Click here for complete details.

SUNDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
Ottawa 3, BOSTON 2 (OT) – OTT wins 4-2
Washington 2, TORONTO 1 (OT) – WSH wins 4-2

CAPITALS ADVANCE TO SECOND ROUND WITH THIRD OVERTIME VICTORY
Marcus Johansson tied the game in the third period and scored the series-winning goal at 6:31 of overtime to lead the Capitals into the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third consecutive season. Washington won three overtime games in a series (also Games 1 and 5) for the second time in franchise history (also 1998 CF vs. BUF).

* The Capitals and Maple Leafs required overtime in five of their six games, matching the single-series NHL postseason record set by the Maple Leafs and Canadiens in the 1951 Stanley Cup Final (4-1 TOR W) and Coyotes and Blackhawks in the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals (4-2 PHX W).

* Washington played a series featuring six or more one-goal games for the fourth time in team history and the first since the 2015 CSF vs. NYR, when all seven games were decided by a single goal.

* Johansson recorded his second career playoff game-winning goal and first in overtime (62 GP). Elias says that he became the sixth player in Capitals history to score a series-clinching goal in overtime and the first since Joel Ward in Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at BOS.

* Elias adds that Johansson became the first player in Capitals history to tie a game in the third period and then register a series-clinching goal in overtime. The last player to do that for any team: John Tavares for NYI in Game 6 of the 2016 CQF (vs. FLA).

* The Capitals will face the Penguins in the Second Round, their 10th all-time playoff meeting and second in as many years (PIT: 8-1 overall). Pittsburgh has gone on to win the Stanley Cup following each of their last two postseason matchups (also 2009 CSF).

SENATORS ALSO ADVANCE WITH ANOTHER OVERTIME VICTORY
Clarke MacArthur scored at 6:30 of overtime to help the Senators advance past the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the seventh time in franchise history (and first time since 2013). Ottawa won three road games in a single series for the second time in team history (also 2007 CF vs. BUF).

* The Senators set franchise records with their third overtime win and fourth overtime game in a single series (also Games 2, 3 and 5). Elias adds that Ottawa played six one-goal games in a playoff series for the first time in franchise history.

* MacArthur, who returned to the Senators’ lineup on April 4 after missing 18 months due to injury, notched his second career playoff game-winning goal and first in overtime (17 GP). He became the third player in franchise history to score a series-clinching goal in overtime, joining Martin Havlat (Game 5 of 2002 CQF at PHI) and Daniel Alfredsson (Game 5 of 2007 CF at BUF).

* The Senators will face the Rangers in the Second Round, their second all-time postseason matchup. The teams last met in the 2012 Conference Quarterfinals, a seven-game victory by New York.

KEEPING IT CLOSE
Nine of the 12 games in the Capitals-Maple Leafs (5) and Senators-Bruins (4) series required overtime. Per Elias, only two other rounds in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs have featured two series with at least four overtime games – all within the past six years: the 2012 Conference Quarterfinals (Coyotes-Blackhawks: 5, Capitals-Bruins: 4) and 2014 First Round (Wild-Avalanche: 4, Blackhawks-Blues: 4).

* Elias notes that Ottawa and Boston were tied or separated by one goal for 90.9% of total playing time (367:47 of 404:31), while Washington and Toronto were tied or within one goal of each other for 83.5% of total playing time (339:12 of 406:20).

* Washington’s Marcus Johansson and Ottawa’s Clarke MacArthur joined St. Louis’ Magnus Paajarvi with series-clinching overtime goals this postseason. Only two such goals were scored last year, by John Tavares (NYI) in the First Round vs. FLA and Nick Bonino (PIT) in the Second Round vs. WSH.

GAUDREAU, GRANLUND AND TARASENKO VOTED LADY BYNG FINALISTS
Johnny Gaudreau of the Flames, Mikael Granlund of the Wild and Vladimir Tarasenko of the Blues are the three finalists for the 2016-17 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability”.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Lady Byng Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Click here for more information.

LOOSE PUCKS
Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, 19, became the second teenager in NHL history to score in four consecutive playoff games (4-1—5). The other, also with Toronto: Wendel Clark in 1986 (4-0—4 in 4 GP) . . . Senators forward Derick Brassard (2-6—8) assisted on the opening and game-winning goals to move into a tie for second in the playoff scoring race (w/ Phil Kessel) . . . ICYMI: Senators goaltender Craig Andersonhad a special moment with his wife, Nicholle – who made the trip to Boston after recently being treated for cancer – following Ottawa’s series-clinching victory . . .  The Kings announced that associate head coach John Stevens has been promoted and will serve as the club’s head coach.

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PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHL MORNING SKATE

NHL Morning Skate for Sunday, April 23, 2017: Stanley Cup Playoffs edition

SATURDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
St. Louis 4, MINNESOTA 3 (OT) – STL wins 4-1
NY RANGERS 3, Montreal 1 – NYR wins 4-2
Edmonton 3, SAN JOSE 1 – EDM wins 4-2

OILERS HANG ON TO DEFEAT SHARKS, ADVANCE TO SECOND ROUND
The Oilers scored two breakaway goals in a span of 56 seconds early in the second period and held off a late push from the Sharks to win their series and advance to the Second Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Edmonton won its first playoff series since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2006.

Anton Slepyshev notched the game-winning goal to become the third rookie in franchise history to score a series-clinching goal, joining Jaroslav Pouzar (Game 4 of 1983 DF at CHI) and Josef Beranek (Game 6 of 1992 DSF vs. LAK).

Cam Talbot, who shared the League lead and set a new franchise record with 42 wins in the regular season, made 27 saves to improve to 4-2 this postseason with a 2.03 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and two shutouts.

Connor McDavid scored into an empty net to seal the victory and finish his first career playoff series with 2-2—4 in six games.

* The Oilers will face the Ducks in the Second Round, their second postseason meeting. Edmonton earned a 4-1 series win over Anaheim in the 2006 Conference Finals, which was their last series win before Saturday.

PAAJARVI SCORES IN OVERTIME TO LIFT BLUES TO SECOND ROUND
St. Louis surrendered a 3-1 lead in the third period, but Magnus Paajarvi scored at 9:42 of overtime as the Blues defeated the Wild to reach the Second Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. St. Louis advanced past the opening round in the postseason for the second straight year, a feat they last achieved in 2001 and 2002.

* Sixteen of the first 40 games in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs have required overtime (40.0%). Elias notes the 16 overtime games are just one shy of the 17 contested in the opening round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs (47 GP), which ranks as the highest total since the League expanded its playoff structure to include 16 teams in 1979-80.

* Paajarvi scored his first career overtime goal (regular season and playoffs, 316 GP). Elias notes that he became the seventh player in franchise history to score an overtime goal in a series-clinching win and the first to do so since Pierre Turgeon in Game 7 of the 1999 Conference Quarterfinals at PHX.

* Paajarvi became the first player to score a series-clinching overtime goal in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Elias adds that only two such goals were scored in the 2016 postseason: John Tavares (NYI) in Game 6 of the First Round vs. FLA and Nick Bonino (PIT) in Game 6 of the Second Round vs. WSH.

Jake Allen made 34 saves in Game 5 and turned aside 174 of 182 shots through the five-game series, concluding the First Round with a 1.47 goals-against average and a .956 save percentage.

* The Blues will face the Predators in the Second Round, their first-ever postseason meeting. Nashville owned a 3-2-0 edge in their five-game season series in 2016-17 (STL: 2-3-0).

DID YOU KNOW?
The Predators and Blues won their respective First Round series against the Blackhawks and Wild – who owned the top two records in the Western Conference during the 2016-17 season.

* Elias notes that the First Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs marked just the fourth time in the past 20 years that teams with the top two records in a conference were both eliminated in the opening round. The other instances: 1998 (OTT def. NJD, MTL def. PIT), 2006 (EDM def. DET, COL def. DAL) and 2010 (MTL def. WSH, PHI def. NJD).

ZUCCARELLO, LUNDQVIST LEAD RANGERS TO SECOND ROUND
Mats Zuccarello (2-0—2) registered his first career multi-goal game in the postseason and Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves as the Rangers defeated the Canadiens to advance to the Second Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

* Elias notes that Zuccarello became the first Rangers player to score twice in a series-clinching win since Mark Messier (2-1—3) in Game 5 of the 1997 Conference Quarterfinals at FLA.

* Lundqvist earned his 59th career postseason win (all w/ NYR) to extend his franchise record for most by a goaltender and move within one of tying Turk Broda (60) for 14th on the NHL’s all-time list. Elias adds that Lundqvist earned his 11th career series-clinching win, tops in franchise history (Mike Richter: 9).

* Lundqvist has posted a 9-3 record in potential series-clinching games since the start of the 2012 postseason with a 1.53 goals-against average, .947 save percentage and two shutouts, including a 7-1 mark on home ice (0.96 GAA, .964 SV%, 1 SO).

* The Rangers will face either the Bruins or Senators in the Second Round. New York has met Boston nine times in the postseason (2-7) and Ottawa once (1-0).

* ICYMI: The Empire State Building was lit up in Rangers colors to celebrate their series win.

BOBROVSKY, HOLTBY AND PRICE VOTED VEZINA TROPHY FINALISTS
Sergei Bobrovsky of the Blue Jackets, Braden Holtby of the Capitals and Carey Price of the Canadiens are the three finalists for the 2016-17 Vezina Trophy, which is awarded “to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position.”

The general managers of the NHL’s clubs submitted ballots for the Vezina Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Click here for more information.

LOOSE PUCKS
Sharks forward Patrick Marleau scored his 68th career playoff goal to tie Gordie Howe for 17th on the NHL’s all-time list . . . Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko scored his first goal of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the 20th postseason marker of his NHL career (all w/ STL). Only Brett Hull (67), Bernie Federko (35), Brian Sutter (21) and Red Berenson (21) have scored more in franchise playoff history . . . Blues forward Paul Stastny scored in his first game since March 21. Stastny has tallied eight of his 13 career playoff goals vs. MIN (8-5—13 in 20 GP) . . . Kraft Hockeyville USA announced two finalists.

SNEAK PEEK AT SUNDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Ottawa @ Boston, OTT leads 3-2, 3 p.m., SN, TVAS, NBC
Washington @ Toronto, WSH leads 3-2, 7 p.m., SN, TVAS, NBCSN, CSN-DC
NBC Sports Channel Finder
Sportsnet Channel Finder
NHL Network Channel Finder

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PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHL MORNING SKATE

NHL Morning Skate for Thursday, April 20, 2017: Stanley Cup Playoffs edition

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
Washington 5, TORONTO 4 – series tied 2-2
Ottawa 1, BOSTON 0 – OTT leads 3-1
Minnesota 2, ST. LOUIS 0 – STL leads 3-1
Anaheim 3, CALGARY 1 – ANA wins 4-0

DUCKS SWEEP FLAMES TO BECOME FIRST TEAM TO REACH SECOND ROUND
After being relieved in Game 3, John Gibson rebounded with a 36-save outing as the Ducks swept the Flames to become the first team to reach the Second Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

* The Ducks earned their fifth four-game sweep in franchise playoff history and first since the 2015 First Round vs. WPG. They also became the first NHL team to record a sweep in the postseason since the 2015 Second Round (CHI: 4-0 vs. MIN).

* The Ducks improved to 20-3 against Canadian teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs dating to the start of the 2007 postseason (8-1 vs. CGY, 4-1 vs. OTT, 4-1 vs. VAN and 4-0 vs. WPG).

* The Ducks will face the winner of the Oilers-Sharks series in the Second Round. Anaheim has played each team once before in the postseason (4-1 L vs. EDM in 2006 CF, 4-2 W vs. SJS in 2009 CQF).

WILD BLANK BLUES TO AVOID ELIMINATION
Devan Dubnyk denied all 28 shots he faced to help the Wild stave off elimination and force Game 5 in their First Round series against the Blues.

* Minnesota won a playoff game in which it faced elimination for the fourth time in franchise history – and first time not in a Game 7. The others: Game 7 of 2003 CQF at COL, Game 7 of 2003 CSF at VAN and Game 7 of 2014 FR at COL.

* Dubnyk registered his second career postseason shutout (also Game 3 of 2015 FR vs. STL) and became the first goaltender in franchise history to earn a shutout in a playoff game in which the Wild faced elimination.

CAPITALS HANG ON TO EVEN SERIES WITH MAPLE LEAFS
Tom Wilson and T.J. Oshie each scored twice as the Capitals held off a Maple Leafs rally to even their series at 2-2.

* Elias says that the Capitals, who led 4-1 after 20 minutes, registered four goals in the first period of a playoff game for the second time in franchise history (also Game 3 of 1990 DF vs. NYR).

* Wilson, a Toronto native, made a desperation goal-line save to clear the puck from Washington’s crease shortly before scoring his first goal of the contest. He added a second marker 2:23 later to post his first career multi-goal game (regular season or playoffs, 345 GP).

* Oshie has collected at least one point in all four games of the series (2-4—6). He and Wilson became the first pair of Capitals teammates to each score twice in a playoff game since Alex Ovechkin (2-1—3) and Mike Knuble (2-0—2) in 2010 (Game 4 of CQF at MTL).

RYAN AGAIN SCORES WINNER AS SENATORS TAKE 3-1 SERIES LEAD
Bobby Ryan scored the only goal of the contest at 5:49 of the third period and Craig Anderson turned aside all 22 shots he faced as the Senators took a 3-1 series lead against the Bruins.

* Ryan, who potted the overtime winner in Game 3 (1-1—2), has recorded at least one point in all four games of the series (3-2—5). Elias notes that he became the second player in Senators history to score the winning goal in consecutive games within a playoff series, joining Daniel Alfredsson (Games 4-5 of 1997 CQF vs. BUF).

* Anderson earned his fourth career playoff shutout and third with the Senators to tie Ray Emery for second place on the franchise’s all-time list, trailing only Patrick Lalime (5).

BERGERON, KESLER AND KOIVU VOTED SELKE TROPHY FINALISTS
Centers Patrice Bergeron of the Bruins, Ryan Kesler of the Ducks and Mikko Koivu of the Wild are the three finalists for the 2016-17 Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is awarded “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Selke Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Click here for more information.

LOOSE PUCKS
Forward Zach Hyman recorded his first career playoff goal, becoming the fifth Maple Leafs rookie to score this postseason. Elias notes that five different Toronto rookies have scored in the same playoff year for the first time since 1940 . . . Elias says that Flames forward Sean Monahan (4-1—5 in 4 GP) became the third player in franchise history to score at least one goal in each of the first four or more games of a playoff year, following Joe Mullen (5 GP) and Lanny McDonald (4 GP) in 1986 . . . Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored for the third straight game (3-0—3) . . . The Department of Player Safety fined Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl for spearing Sharks forward Chris Tierney . . . The NHL announced start times for First Round games on Saturday, April 22 . . . ICYMI: Former Boston Pride player Denna Laing rallied the crowd at TD Garden prior to the Senators-Bruins game.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHL MORNING SKATE

NHL Morning Skate for Friday, April 21, 2017: Stanley Cup Playoffs edition

THURSDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
NY Rangers 3, MONTREAL 2 (OT) – NYR leads 3-2
PITTSBURGH 5, Columbus 2 – PIT wins 4-1
NASHVILLE 4, Chicago 1 – NSH wins 4-0
EDMONTON 4, San Jose 3 (OT) – EDM leads 3-2

PREDATORS COMPLETE HISTORIC SWEEP OF BLACKHAWKS
Roman Josi scored twice and Pekka Rinne made 30 saves as the Predators defeated the Blackhawks to complete the first sweep in franchise history.

* Nashville, who finished in the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, won four consecutive playoff games (at any stage in the postseason) for the first time to defeat Chicago, owners of the best record in the conference during the regular season.

* Elias notes that Nashville became the third team since 1974-75 (when the NHL introduced the conference format) to sweep the team with the best record in the conference in the opening round. The others: Edmonton swept Montreal in the 1981 Preliminary Round (best-of-five) and St. Louis swept Chicago in the 1993 Division Semifinals (best-of-seven).

RINNE GUIDES PREDATORS’ STELLAR DEFENSIVE PLAY
Pekka Rinne, who took a shutout into the final six minutes of the third period, stopped 123 of 126 shots as Nashville outscored the Blackhawks 13-3 over the four-game series.

* The Predators became the 14th team in NHL history (and fifth in the past 38 years) to allow three goals against or fewer in a four-game series. Only four teams in NHL history have surrendered fewer than three goals in a four-game series: the Maple Leafs in the 1935 Semifinals vs. BOS (2 GA), the Red Wings in the 1952 Final vs. MTL (2 GA), the Ducks in the 2003 Conference Finals vs. MIN (1 GA) and the Bruins in the 2013 Conference Finals vs. PIT (2 GA).

* Rinne finished the series with a 0.70 goals-against average and .976 save percentage. Elias notes that Rinne is the fourth goaltender in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to win all four games of a playoff series while recording a goals-against average of 0.70 or less. The others: Tony Esposito (0.50 GAA in 1974 SF w/ CHI), Jean-Sebastian Giguere (0.22 GAA in 2003 CF w/ ANA) and Tuukka Rask (0.44 GAA in 2013 CF w/ BOS).

MALKIN, FLEURY LEAD DEFENDING CHAMPIONS INTO SECOND ROUND
Evgeni Malkin (0-3—3) registered his second three-point game of the series and Marc-Andre Fleury made 49 saves as the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins defeated the Blue Jackets to become the first Eastern Conference team to advance.

* The Penguins won a series on home ice for the 15th time in franchise history; they accomplished the feat three times during their run to the Stanley Cup in 2016.

* Malkin, who registered multiple points four times in the five-game series, extended his League leads for assists and points in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (2-9—11 in 5 GP). Elias notes that Malkin became the second Penguins player to record at least 11 points in a series of five games or fewer, joining Mario Lemieux (1991 F vs. MNS: 5-7—12 in 5 GP). Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky tallied 2-13—15 in the 1987 Division Semifinals vs. LAK to set the NHL record for points in a five-game series.

* Elias notes that Malkin registered at least 11 points in a playoff series (of any length) for the second time in his career (also 2013 CQF vs. NYI: 2-9—11 in 6 GP). Sidney Crosby (1-0—1), who collected 2-5—7 against Columbus, is the only other Penguins player with at least 11 points in one series in the past 18 years (2009 CSF vs. WSH: 8-5—13 in 7 GP and 2010 CQF vs. OTT: 5-9—14 in 6 GP).

* Fleury, who played in all five games after making a surprise start in Game 1, registered his 57th career playoff win (all w/ PIT) to move past Tom Barrasso (56) for the most in franchise history. Fleury, who established a career high for saves in a regulation playoff game, ranks second among active goaltenders in career postseason wins behind Henrik Lundqvist (58).

SOPHOMORE SUCCESS: DID YOU KNOW?
Penguins sophomore Bryan Rust scored twice in the second period – including his second playoff game-winning goal – to register his third career multi-goal game in the postseason, all of which have come in series-clinching wins.

* In 2016, Rust established a franchise rookie playoff record with six goals during Pittsburgh’s run to the Stanley Cup, highlighted by multi-goal performances in Game 5 of the First Round vs. NYR (2-1—3) and Game 7 of the Conference Finals vs. TBL (2-0—2). His goal against Tampa Bay also stood as the series-clinching tally.

* Elias notes that Rust became the first NHL player to have each of his first three career multi-goal playoff games occur in series-clinching wins since Jeremy Roenick achieved the feat with the Blackhawks from 1990 to 1992.

NEW ADDITIONS SCORE IN OT AS OILERS, RANGERS TAKE SERIES LEADS
The Oilers and Rangers each received an overtime goal from a player acquired within the past year to take a 3-2 lead in their respective First Round series:

David Desharnais scored at 18:15 of overtime – after Oscar Klefbom tied the game with 2:46 remaining in regulation – to help the Oilers complete a multi-goal comeback and move within one victory of the Second Round. Desharnais, who was acquired on Feb. 28, tallied his first career playoff overtime goal (43 GP) to help Edmonton become the eighth team to win a game in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs in which they trailed by at least two goals.

Mika Zibanejad scored at 14:22 of overtime and Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves as the Rangers won their second straight game to reclaim the series lead. Zibanejad, who was acquired via trade during the offseason, scored his first career playoff overtime goal (21 GP) as New York overcame deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to win. Of the 35 games contested this postseason, 13 have seen a team overcome a deficit of at least one goal to win (37.1%).

* Elias notes that when teams are tied 2-2 in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series, the winner of Game 5 holds an all-time series record of 193-54 (78.1%).

LAINE, MATTHEWS AND WERENSKI VOTED CALDER TROPHY FINALISTS
Jets right wing Patrik Laine, Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski are the three finalists for the 2016-17 Calder Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition.”

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Calder Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Click here for more information.

LOOSE PUCKS
Phil Kessel, who led the Penguins in goals (10) and points (22) during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, tallied 1-2—3 to move into second place in playoff scoring (2-6—8) . . . Predators forwards Ryan Johansen (1-5—6) and Filip Forsberg (2-3—5) each notched an assist in Game 4 to finish the series with at least a point in every game . . . The NHL announced start times for First Round games on Sunday, April 23 . . . Country music singer Luke Bryan sang the U.S. national anthem before Game 4 of the Blackhawks-Predators series.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHL MORNING SKATE

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