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‘NHL’ Articles

Pro Hockey

NHL crowns a new champion tonight! Blues at the Bruins Game 7 Preview

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GAME 7 OFFICIALS

The referees for tonight’s game are Gord Dwyer (No. 19) and Chris Rooney (No. 5). The linesmen are Derek Amell (No. 75) and Scott Cherrey(No. 50).

 

GAME 7 TRENDS

* This marks the 17th Game 7 in Stanley Cup Final history and first since 2011, when the Bruins defeated the Canucks, 4‑0, at Rogers Arena to end a 39-year championship drought. Boston rallied from a 2-3 series deficit with a 5-2 victory in Game 6 at TD Garden to ultimately capture its sixth and most recent Stanley Cup.

 

* Five current Bruins dressed for that 2011 Game 7: Patrice Bergeron (2-0—2, GWG, 4 SOG, +4), Zdeno Chara (27:12 TOI, +2, 2 PIM), David Krejci (18:34 TOI, 2 SOG, 9/14 FO), Brad Marchand (2-1—3, 3 SOG, +3) and Tuukka Rask (DNP).

 

* Home teams own a 12-4 advantage in the 16 prior Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Final, but road teams have won each of the past two – in 2011 (BOS at VAN) and 2009 (PIT at DET).

 

* This marks the sixth Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, one shy of the single-year record achieved in 1994, 2011 and 2014.

 

* Including all rounds, this marks the 178th Game 7 in NHL history. The team that scores first is 131-46 (.740), including an 11-5 record in the Stanley Cup Final and 3-2 clip in 2019. Home teams are 104-73 (.587), including a 4-1 edge in 2019.

 

* Forty-four prior Game 7s have required overtime (24.9%), including a record-setting three of five this year. Home teams are 23-21 in those contests (2-1 in 2019).

 

* Only two Stanley Cup Final Game 7s have gone to overtime, both won by Detroit at home: in 1950, when Pete Babando scored at 8:31 of double-overtime to lift the Red Wings over the Rangers, and 1954, when Tony Leswick scored at 4:29 of the extra session to power Detroit past Montreal.

 

Click here for a closer look at all of the Game 7s in Stanley Cup Final history.

 

* There also were seven winner-take-all games in the Stanley Cup Final prior to 1939, when the series shifted to the best-of-seven format. Those all were decided in Game 5: in 1918 (Arenas-Millionaires), 1920 (Senators-Metropolitans), 1921 (Senators-Millionaires), 1922 (St. Patricks-Millionaires), 1928 (Rangers-Maroons), 1931 (Canadiens-Black Hawks) and 1937 (Red Wings-Rangers).

 

* Both the Bruins and Blues are playing in a Game 7 for the second time this postseason; Boston eliminated Toronto in the First Round (5-1), while St. Louis ousted Dallas in the Second Round (2-1, 2OT). The Bruins have played multiple Game 7s in a single playoff year one other time (2011), while the Blues have done so in three prior postseasons (1968: 2‑0, 1986: 1-1 and 2016: 2-0).

 

* Either the Bruins or Blues will become the 13th team in NHL history to win multiple Game 7s en route to a Stanley Cup, with 2019 marking the third such instance under the current playoff format (also 2014 LAK and 2017 PIT).

 

* This marks the fifth championship Game 7 between franchises from Boston and St. Louis (across the NHL, MLB and NBA). MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Boston Red Sox in seven games in both the 1946 and 1967 World Series. The Boston Celtics beat the St. Louis Hawks in Game 7 of the 1957 and 1960 NBA Finals.

 

BRUINS SET FOR SECOND STANLEY CUP FINAL GAME 7

The Bruins are contesting their second Stanley Cup Final Game 7 (also 2011) and first at home in the franchise’s 95-year history. In fact, the city of Boston is playing host to a championship Game 7 for the first time in exactly 35 years, when the NBA’s Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 111-102, on June 12, 1984, at Boston Garden.

 

Overall, the Bruins have played in an NHL-record 27 Game 7s (22 at home) and have a League-high 15 wins (14-8 at home). That includes a 5-1 victory in Game 7 of this year’s First Round, when Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom each collected 1-1—2 to lift Boston over Toronto.

 

In that series, the Bruins overcame a 2-3 series deficit to advance – a feat they also achieved in their lone other Stanley Cup Final Game 7 (2011 vs. VAN).

 

Center Patrice Bergeron leads Boston with six goals and 10 points in 11 career Game 7s (6-5), while center David Krejci has a team-high nine assists in 10 career Game 7s (6-4). Captain Zdeno Chara is set to play in his 14th career Game 7 (6-7; 0-4—4), which would surpass Patrick Roy (6-7) and Scott Stevens (7-6) for the most in NHL history.

 

Goaltender Tuukka Rask is 3-2 in five career Game 7 appearances (3.18 GAA, .877 SV%), with one such victory in overtime – in the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. TOR. Teammate Jaroslav Halak is 2-1 in three such outings (1.68 GAA, .953 SV%).

 

Bruce Cassidy has served behind the bench for two Game 7s, both wins vs. TOR (in R1 in both 2018 and 2019).

 

BLUES READY FOR FIRST STANLEY CUP FINAL GAME 7

The Blues are playing their 18th Game 7 (9-8) and 11th on the road (4-6). Only two franchises in NHL history have contested more Game 7s as visitors: the Maple Leafs (16) and Canadiens (12).

 

In Game 7 of this year’s Second Round vs. DAL, left wing Pat Maroon scored at 5:50 of double-overtime to propel St. Louis into the Conference Finals for the second time in four years (also 2016). Maroon became the fourth player in Blues history to score a Game 7 overtime winner, following Ron Schock (1968 SF vs. MNS), Kevin O’Shea (1972 QF vs. MNS) and Pierre Turgeon (1999 CQF vs. PHX).

 

Center Robby Fabbri tops St. Louis with three assists and four points in two career Game 7s (2-0). Defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who has not played in a game this postseason, is the only Blues player with multiple goals in Game 7s (2-1—3 in 3 GP; 3-0).

 

Goaltender Jordan Binnington made his Game 7 debut in the Second Round, stopping 29 of 30 shots in St. Louis’ double-overtime victory vs. DAL.

 

Head coach Craig Berube is 1-1 in two career Game 7s behind the bench; his lone loss came with the Flyers in the 2014 First Round at NYR.

 

ROAD TEAM ADVANTAGE?

The road team has won four of the first six games in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final – the highest such total since 2004, when the Lightning and Flames each won twice as visitors. There only have been three instances of road teams combining to win five games in a single Stanley Cup Final: in 1945 (TOR-DET), 1966 (MTL-DET) and 2000 (NJD-DAL).

 

St. Louis is seeking to become the seventh team in NHL history – and first since 2000 – to win three games as a visitor during the Stanley Cup Final. The only teams that have done so: the 1921 Senators (at VMI), 1928 Rangers (at MMR), 1945 Maple Leafs (at DET), 1966 Canadiens (at DET), 1990 Oilers (at BOS) and 2000 Devils (at DAL). Each of the prior six won the Stanley Cup.

 

The Blues are 9-3 overall on the road this postseason, outscoring opponents 38-29. Only five teams in League history have won 10 games as visitors during a single playoff year: the 1995 Devils (10-1), 2012 Kings (10-1), 2000 Devils (10-2), 2018 Capitals (10-3) and 2004 Flames (10-4).

 

BRUINS AIM TO WIN SPECIAL TEAMS BATTLE

Boston has scored at least one power-play goal in four of six games so far this series, going 7-for-23 (30.4%) with the man-advantage while killing off 17-of-18 (94.4%) St. Louis power plays.

 

Overall, the Bruins are clicking at 32.9 percent on the power play this postseason (24-for-73). Only one team in NHL history has posted a higher power-play conversion rate within a single playoff year (since 1977-78, minimum: 50 PPO): the 1981 Islanders (37.8%, 31-for-82).

 

Boston’s 24 power-play goals also are tied for a single-year franchise record set in 1991 (24-for-100). It is the highest total by any team in one postseason since 2006, when Carolina had 31 and Edmonton had 24.

 

BLUES, BINNINGTON LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK (AGAIN)

The Blues are 7-2 following a loss this postseason, outscoring opponents 26-17 in those contests.

 

Goaltender Jordan Binnington has started all nine of those games, compiling a 1.86 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. Only five goaltenders in NHL history have posted as many wins after defeat within a single postseason: Nikolai Khabibulin (8-0 in 2004 w/ TBL), Ron Hextall (8-2 in 1987 w/ PHI), Miikka Kiprusoff (8-3 in 2004 w/ CGY), Marc-Andre Fleury (7-2 in 2009 w/ PIT) and Henrik Lundqvist (7-4 in 2014 w/ NYR).

 

Binnington, who in Game 5 tied the single-postseason record for overall wins by a rookie goaltender, is seeking to become the first rookie netminder in NHL history to earn all 16 victories for his team in one playoff year.

 

Binnington also is attempting to match a League record with his 10th road win of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which would equal Martin Brodeur (10-1 in 1995, 10-2 in 2000, both w/ NJD), Jonathan Quick (10-1 in 2012 w/ LAK), Braden Holtby (10-3 in 2018 w/ WSH) and Kiprusoff (10-4 in 2004 w/ CGY).

 

Only three rookie goaltenders in NHL history have won Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final: Toronto’s Frank McCool in 1945 (at DET), Montreal’s Ken Dryden in 1971 (at CHI) and Carolina’s Cam Ward in 2006 (vs. EDM). Hextall lost Game 7 of the Final in 1987 (at EDM), but took home the Conn Smythe Trophy (15-11, 2.76 GAA, .908 SV%, 2 SO).

 

MARCHAND GOALS = BOSTON VICTORIES

Bruins left wing Brad Marchand scored his 30th career playoff goal (and ninth of 2019) in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Boston improved to 25-1 all time when Marchand scores in the postseason, with the team’s lone such loss in Game 5 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. WSH.

 

Only two other players in NHL history have registered at least 20 career playoff goals, with their team suffering no more than one loss in games in which they scored: Bob Gainey, whose Canadiens had a perfect 22-0 record when he found the back of the net (25 G), and Bobby Rousseau, whose teams went 23-1 when he scored (27 G w/ MTL, MNS and NYR).

 

Marchand now has seven career goals in the Stanley Cup Final (7-4—11 in 19 GP). Only two players in Bruins history have more such goals: Bobby Orr (8-12—20 in 16 GP) and Johnny Bucyk (8-5—13 in 24 GP).

 

O’REILLY ATTEMPTS TO JOIN SHORT LIST

Blues center Ryan O’Reilly (7-14—21 in 25 GP) has scored in three straight games (4-1—5) to match a franchise record for points in a single playoff year, equaling Brett Hull (1990: 13-8—21 in 12 GP), Doug Gilmour (1986: 9-12—21 in 19 GP) and Bernie Federko (1986: 7-14—21 in 19 GP).

 

O’Reilly, who was acquired via an offseason trade, is seeking to become the 14th player in NHL history to score in four consecutive Stanley Cup Final games and first since Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky in 1985 (7-4—11 in 4 GP vs. PHI).

 

RASK IN SERIES-CLINCHING, ELIMINATION GAMES

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask owns a 9-12 record in 21 career potential series-clinching games, compiling a 2.60 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and three shutouts in those contests. That includes a 3-0 clip this year, with a 0.33 goals-against average, .990 save percentage and two shutouts (95 SV/96 SA).

 

Rask also is 6-5 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in 11 career games when facing elimination. That includes a 3-0 record this year, with a 1.34 goals-against average and .953 save percentage (82 SV/86 SA).

 

STANLEY CUP FINAL REMAINS TIGHT ON SCORE SHEET

Four of the six games thus far in the Stanley Cup Final have been decided by one goal, or two goals following an empty-net strike. Overall, the series has been tied or within one goal for 81.5 percent of total playing time. A breakdown:

 

Time Tied Separated by 1 Goal Separated by 2 Goals Separated by 3+ Goals Total Time
134:03 (36.8%) 162:29 (44.7%) 19:29 (5.4%) 47:50 (13.1%) 363:51

 

The Bruins and Blues have held leads for similar times, with Boston doing so for 34.3 percent of total playing time (124:43) and St. Louis at 28.9 percent (105:05).

 

GAME PREVIEW WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

 

A look at some of the recommendations to improve hockey by NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the recommendations from Tuesday’s NHL/NHLPA competition committee meeting:

NHL Morning Skate for Monday, May 13, 2019: Stanley Cup Playoffs Edition

PUBLICATION WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

 

Krug and Bruins defense spark offense to lead Boston to 2-0 series lead; Charlestown, Mass. native Grzelcyk records first multi-goal game; Sharks, Blues set for Game 2 at SAP Center

 

May 13, 2019

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THREE HARD LAPS: QUICK HITS FROM SUNDAY

 

Torey Krug and the Bruins defense led the offense as Boston secured its fifth consecutive playoff win and a 2-0 lead in the Conference Finals.

 

* With his mother Kathleen in attendance, Charlestown, Mass., native Matt Grzelcyk netted his first career multi-goal game (regular season and playoffs).

 

* Since the conference format was adopted during the 1981-82 season, teams that take a 2-0 lead in the Conference Finals own a series record of 30-2 (93.8%).

 

DEFENSE, DEPTH PROPELS BRUINS TO 2-0 SERIES LEAD

Bruins defensemen Matt Grzelcyk (2-0—2), Torey Krug (0-3—3) and Connor Clifton (1-0—1) combined for three goals and six points as Boston took a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Final. The Bruins earned their fifth consecutive playoff win, their longest win streak in a postseason since an equal run during the 2013 postseason.

* With chants of “We Want the Cup” echoing through TD Garden, the Bruins won the first two games in a best-of-seven series for the 32nd time in franchise history – winning 24 of the previous 31 series (77.4%). Since the conference format was adopted during the 1981-82 season, teams that take a 2-0 lead in the Conference Finals own a series record of 30-2 (93.8%).

* A Charlestown, Mass., native and former Boston University captain, Grzelcyk netted his first career multi-goal game in either the regular season or playoffs (155 GP). Grzelcyk achieved the feat in front of his mom, Kathleen, who was watching from the stands at TD Garden – where his father, John, has worked as a member of the changeover crew for 52 years dating back to the franchise’s time at Boston Garden.

 

* Grzelcyk became just the sixth different Bruins defenseman in the last 35 years to score multiple goals in a playoff game. A member of the 2015 NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team, two-time Hockey East All-Star and NCAA East All-American, Grzelcyk also led defensemen in points at the 2014 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, pacing a group that included Carolina’s Jaccob Slavin (his teammate at the time).

* Sunday marked the 14th time in Bruins franchise history in which defensemen accumulated at least six points in a playoff game and first since Game 2 of 2013 Conference Semifinals against the Rangers.

 

* Krug, who accounted for two of those six points against New York in 2013, registered three assists in a playoff contest for the second time in his career (also Game 2 of 2018 First Round). He became the fifth defenseman in franchise history with multiple such outings.

* Clifton, a fifth-round pick by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2013 NHL Draft, netted his first career goal (regular-season or playoffs: 29 GP). A four-year alumnus of Quinnipiac University, Clifton became Boston’s 19th different goal scorer of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, matching the franchise mark for most in a single playoff (also 19 in 1988).

 

Did You Know? The Flyers featured an NHL-best 21 different goal scorers in 1987 en route to earning a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.

DID YOU KNOW?
After finishing the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs tied for the team lead in goalsJake DeBrusk (22 years, 207 days) has found the score sheet in five of his last six contests (2-3—5). The Bruins’ first-round pick (14th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft is one of 32 different players age 22 or younger to score in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the most in a single postseason since 1992 (36).

HURRICANES HEAD HOME UNDER FAMILIAR CIRCUMSTANCES
The Hurricanes find themselves in familiar territory after heading home in a 2-0 deficit.

* Carolina, winners of each of their five games at PNC Arena in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, overcame a two-game deficit in the First Round against Washington. Only the 2011 Bruins (CQF and SCF) and 2009 Penguins (CSF and SCF) have overcome a 2-0 deficit to win multiple series in a playoff year – both en route to capturing the Stanley Cup.

* Additionally, the Hurricanes are the 31st team in NHL history, and the fourth in the last 10 years, to have had each of their first three playoff series begin with either team taking a 2-0 lead. The others: 2013 Kings (CQF: W, CSF: W and CF: L), 2012 Kings (CQF: W, CSF: W and CF: W) and 2009 Penguins (CQF: W, CSF: W and CF: W).

 

PLAYOFF QUICK CLICKS

 

Elias Pettersson focused on winning games for Canucks next season, not awards

World Championship Buzz: Alex DeBrincat, Colin White lead United States to first win

Facts and Figures: Logan Couture closing in on Sharks playoff record for goals

Pete DeBoer excels for Sharks adjusting to opponents in playoffs

Jordan Binnington inspires confidence in Blues for Game 2 against Sharks

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL GAME 2 TONIGHT IN SAN JOSE

After combining for nine goals in Game 1, the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues will renew acquaintances again tonight at SAP Center. San Jose owns a 7-2 record on home ice this postseason, one shy of matching a franchise record for home wins in a playoff year.

 

* The Blues aim to tie the series at one game apiece – something they’ve done 13 times after losing the opener in a best-of-seven – before returning to St. Louis for Games 3 and 4.

 

* The Sharks, meanwhile, eye a 2-0 series lead for the 12th time in franchise history, owning a 9-2 series record in the previous 11 instances. They have won their last three such series – 2016 First Round and Second Round – but their two series losses in that scenario came when they had home-ice advantage (2014 R1 and 2006 CSF).

Timo Meier is one of five Sharks players among the top eight in playoff scoring this year, notching three points in Game 1 to boost his totals to 5-8—13 in 15 games. Selected ninth overall in the 2015 NHL Draft – a year that saw Connor McDavid picked at No. 1 – Meier shares the lead among his draft class with 18 career playoff points (7-11—18 in 30 GP); Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen has 6-12—18 (18 GP).

 

* Ryan O’Reilly scored in Game 1, led all Blues forwards in time on ice (19:43) and went 15-for-32 in the faceoff circle (46.9%). O’Reilly has built a reputation as a faceoff specialist, with his 47.7% success rate during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs ranking fifth among remaining players (min. 175 faceoffs). San Jose’s Tomas Hertl (55.7%) is one of the players ahead of him; the two went head-to-head 22 times in Game 1, with Hertl holding a 12-10 edge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NHL updated Coach’s Challenge Tracker for 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL COMMUNICATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

 

A list of all challenges through playoff games played May 12

 

May 13, 2019

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

15 Coach’s Challenges | 11 upheld | 4 overturned

· 10 for goalie interference | 9 upheld | 1 overturned (1 to “no goal” / 0 to “goal”)

· 1 initiated by Situation Room for goalie interference | 1 upheld | 0 overturned

· 3 for offside | 0 upheld | 3 overturned (all to “no goal”)

· 1 initiated by Situation Room for offside | 1 upheld | 0 overturned (all to “no goal”)

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Team Requested Opposing
Boston 1 2
Carolina   2
Columbus 1 1
NY Islanders   2
Pittsburgh 1  
Tampa Bay 1  
Toronto   1
Washington 2  

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Team Requested Opposing
Calgary 1 1
Colorado 2 2
Dallas 1  
Nashville    
San Jose 1 2
St. Louis   2
Vegas 1  
Winnipeg 1  

 

SITUATION ROOM INITIATED CHALLENGES – 2

In the final minute of play in the third period and at any point in overtime (regular season and playoffs), Hockey Operations initiates the review of any scenario that would otherwise be subject to a Coach’s Challenge. This process has been initiated for the following teams:

 

East: Pittsburgh, Toronto

 

OVERTURNED

Teams to either have their goal taken down or counted based on a challenge of any sort.

 

On-ice call changed from “goal” to “no goal” – 4
East: Boston, Columbus, NY Islanders

West: Colorado

 

 

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round Wrapup: Conference Finals sees new teams

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

 

Final four have combined for seven Stanley Cups; Joe Thornton, Brent Burns and Jay Bouwmeester vying for first Cup; Veteran captains Zdeno Chara and Justin Williams aim for another title

 

UNPREDICTABILITY CONTINUES INTO SECOND ROUND OF 2019 PLAYOFFS

The 2019 Conference Finals are comprised of two of the top six teams from the regular-season – Boston (No. 3) and San Jose (No. 6), who finished second in their respective conferences – and two teams that ranked outside the top 10 – Carolina (No. 11) and St. Louis (No. 12).

* The Blues and Hurricanes’ journeys to the third round are each marked by strong performances in the 2019 calendar year – St. Louis ranked last overall in the NHL standings on Jan. 2 while Carolina also found itself among the bottom nine on that day.

 

* This marked the fourth time in six years under the current playoff format – and 14th time in NHL history – that the second round required multiple Game 7s. The two Second Round Game 7s garnered record in-market ratings for all four clubs involved.

 

* St. Louis advanced to the Conference Finals by winning the third Game 7 this postseason to require overtime – the most ever in one playoff year.

 

* There have been 15 overtime contests this postseason – five more than the entire 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs (10 of 84 GP).

 

* The Hurricanes won a pair of one-goal games to take a 2-0 series lead back to Raleigh, where they set a franchise record for attendance and completed their first-ever best-of-seven sweep. The score was tied or within one goal for 85% of the series (206:23 of 244:04), including each of the first 183:06 – Carolina took the first multi-goal lead of the series in the final minute of Game 3. Overall, the Hurricanes led by more than one goal for less than 40 minutes (37:41).

 

* The other three series in the Second Round also were tightly contested: the Bruins became the seventh team in NHL history to win each of their first two series despite trailing 2-1 in each; the Blues overcame a 3-2 series deficit to win for the fourth time in franchise history (also 1972 QF, 1991 DSF and 1999 CQF); after erasing a 3-1 series deficit in the opening round, the Sharks eliminated the Avalanche despite allowing them to tie the series three times.

 

* The competitive balance seen in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs has been characteristic of recent postseasons - 88% of all possible second-round games have been played since the current playoff format was introduced in 2014 (148 of 168). That represents a 7% increase from the final six years of the previous format (82%; 138 of 168).

 

More than half of games contested in the Second Round were decided by a one-goal margin (58%; 14 of 24 GP).  Overall, nearly half of all games played thus far in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been decided by one goal (49%; 34 of 70 GP).

 

* Prior to the Hurricanes this year, only one Wild Card team had reached the Conference Finals since the division-based playoff format was introduced in 2014. The Predators came within two victories of winning the Stanley Cup in 2017 as the No. 2 Wild Card in the Western Conference.

 

* Carolina, the No. 7-ranked team in the Eastern Conference, is the 20th team in NHL history to reach at least the Conference Finals/Semifinals after ranking outside the top six in its conference (since 1974-75 when conferences were introduced). Eight of the previous 19 clubs to do so advanced to the Final, with only one claiming the Stanley Cup – the 2012 Kings won as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

 

* Only 26 remaining brackets in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge presented by Jägermeister have selected the correct series winner in each of the first two rounds (0.0019%). Of those 26, there is an almost even split on who they have picked to win the Stanley Cup: San Jose (30.77%), Boston (23.08%), Carolina (23.08%), St. Louis (23.08%).

 

NEW TERRITORY FOR PLAYERS AND TEAMS

The four teams in the 2019 Conference Finals have won a total of seven Stanley Cups, including only four in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68). Only 40 players on the remaining teams have played a game beyond the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with only 11 winning a Cup.

* A team in search of its first-ever Stanley Cup is guaranteed to reach the Final as the Blues (51st season) and Sharks (27th season) go head-to-head in the Western Conference Final. The Eastern Conference Final pits two teams that have a combined two Stanley Cups in the past 46 years (Bruins: 2011, Hurricanes: 2006).

 

* The Bruins roster features six Stanley Cup winners, the most among remaining clubs. Captain Zdeno Chara, goaltender Tuukka Rask and forwards Patrice BergeronDavid Krejci and Brad Marchand all won with Boston in 2011, while Joakim Nordstrom won as a rookie with Chicago in 2015.

 

* Boston’s opponent in the Eastern Conference Final brings as many combined Cups (6), the next-largest contingent of champions (4) and the only remaining Conn Smythe Trophy winner in Carolina captain Justin Williams (2014). Williams won his first championship in 2006 with the Hurricanesand is the only remaining player with three Stanley Cups (also 2012 and 2014 Kings); teammate Jordan Staal won with the 2009 Penguins, while forward Teuvo Teravainen and injured defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk won alongside Nordstrom with the 2015 Blackhawks.

 

* Every player to skate with St. Louis this postseason is vying to put his name on the Stanley Cup for the first time. Martin Jones is the only player on San Jose with his name on the prized trophy – he won a Cup with the 2014 Kings after playing 19 regular-season games and two playoff appearances.

 

* Only 40 players between the Blues (13), Sharks (12), Bruins (11) and Hurricanes (4) have skated in either the Conference Finals or Stanley Cup Final.

 

* While St. Louis has the most players with experience in the Conference Finals or Stanley Cup Final, they have the fewest combined games played in those rounds. Overall, the 40 players have a combined 471 games played past the second round (San Jose: 171, Boston: 148, Carolina: 80, St. Louis: 72).

 

^The above information is based on skaters who have played at least one game and goaltenders who have at least dressed in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Therefore, goaltenders Jaroslav Halak (BOS) and Jake Allen (STL) are included, but forward Jordan Nolan (STL) and goaltender Scott Darling (CAR) are not. Also, Oskar Sundqvist (STL) does not have his name on the Cup (he did not meet the criteria for either the 2016 or 2017 Penguins).

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD: 2019 WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

The 2019 Western Conference Final will mark the 10th time that two teams will meet in the Conference Finals after both contesting a Game 7 in their previous series – with the Sharks and Blues also meeting in the last such clash.

San Jose Sharks (No. 2 Pacific, No. 2 West, No. 6 NHL)

* After equaling the highest point total in a series by a defenseman in 25 yearsBrent Burns (5-9—14) enters the Conference Finals tied for the League lead in points – matching three others including teammates Tomas Hertl (9-5—14) and Logan Couture (9-5—14). Burns (1,043 GP) is one of three remaining players with at least 1,000 career regular-season games in pursuit of his first Stanley Cup – teammate Joe Thornton (1,566 GP) and St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (1,184 GP) are the others.

 

* Thornton (413-1,065—1,478 in 1,566 GP), who leads all active players in career assists and points, can join Ray Bourque (1,612 GP) and Dave Andreychuk (1,597 GP) as the third player to win his first Stanley Cup after skating in 1,500 or more regular-season games. Bourque is the only player in NHL history to win his first career Stanley Cup after recording 1,400 or more regular-season points.

 

* Though all but one player on San Jose is in search of his first Stanley Cup, the Sharks possess a deep roster that includes five players with at least 10 points and seven players with three or more goals. Couture and Hertl are the 11th set of teammates in NHL history to each score nine or more goals through the first two rounds of the playoffs – a feat achieved only one other time in the last 22 years (Jake Guentzel and Sidney Crosby with the 2018 Penguins; 12 GP).

 

 

St. Louis Blues (No. 3 Central, No. 5 West, No. 12 NHL)
* The Blues are led offensively by forward Jaden Schwartz (8-3—11) and captain Alex Pietrangelo (2-9—11) who share the team lead with 11 points apiece through 13 games. Only five players in franchise history have scored more goals in a playoff year than Schwartz, with Brett Hullholding the top two spots on that list (13 in 1990 and 11 in 1991). In his third season as captain, Pietrangelo needs one point to equal the Blues record for most in a playoff year by a defenseman – Al MacInnis was the last St. Louis blueliner to hit the mark (4-8—12 in 1999).

* Calder Trophy finalist Jordan Binnington has backstopped St. Louis to all eight wins in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs after earning 24 victories in the regular season (32 GP) – a franchise record for a rookie goaltender. Only seven rookie goaltenders in NHL history have earned eight or more wins in a postseason for an eventual Cup winner, including only four in the past 73 years: Matt Murray (2016 Penguins), Cam Ward (2006 Hurricanes), Patrick Roy (1986 Canadiens) and Ken Dryden (1971 Canadiens).

 

* St. Louis native Pat Maroon – the double-overtime hero in Game 7 of the Second Round – is looking to win his first Stanley Cup, likewise for each of his teammates. Maroon can become the second Missouri-born player in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup – Brandon Bollig (St. Charles, Mo.) won in 2013 with the Blackhawks.

 

* Rookie Robert Thomas, 19, assisted on both St. Louis goals in Game 7 against Dallas and has collected five points overall this postseason (1-4—5 in 13 GP). Only one teenager in franchise history has had as many points in a postseason: Rod Brind’Amour posted 5-8—13 during the 1990 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The only teenager to post more than 13 points in a postseason for any team is Brian Bellows, who had 2-12—14 with the 1984 North Stars.

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD: 2019 EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

The two most veteran captains in the NHL will go head to head as 42-year-old Zdeno Chara leads the Bruins against 37-year-old Justin Williamsand the Hurricanes. Chara is aiming to become the fifth player to hoist the Stanley Cup at age 42 or older, while Williams vies for his fourth career Cup – a feat achieved by only one active player.

Boston Bruins (No. 2 Atlantic, No. 2 East, No. 3 NHL)

Tuukka Rask posted a 1.71 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage in the Second Round against Columbus – his third-best series in terms of save percentage behind the 2013 Conference Finals (.985 SV% vs. PIT) and 2014 First Round (.961 SV% vs. DET). One of five remaining Bruins who won with the club in 2011, Rask aims to become the fourth goaltender ever to win multiple Stanley Cups with Boston – Frank Brimsek(1939, 1941), Gerry Cheevers (1970, 1972) and Eddie Johnston (1970, 1972) are the only ones to do so. Rask (Savonlinna, Finland) also can become the second goaltender born outside of North America to capture the Stanley Cup multiple times – Dominik Hasek (Pardubice, Czech Republic) is the only one to do so.

 

* The Bruins are led on offense by Brad Marchand (5-8—13), David Pastrnak (6-5—11) and David Krejci (4-6—10) through their first 13 games of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. During their run to the Stanley Cup in 2011, Krejci led all NHL players in goals and points (12-11—23 in 25 GP) while Marchand paced all rookies with 11-8—19 (25 GP) – the third-most goals and points in a playoff year ever by a rookie.
* Eight different Boston players have accounted for its eight game-winning goals in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including Charlie Coyle (5-3—8 in 13 GP) and Marcus Johansson (2-3—5 in 11 GP) who have played pivotal roles in the Bruins’ postseason success after both were acquired leading up to the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline.

 

Carolina Hurricanes (No. 1 Wild Card, No. 7 East, No. 11 NHL)

* Williams played with Carolina from 2003-04 to 2008-09 – winning a Stanley Cup alongside current head coach Rod Brind’Amour in 2006 – before departing for parts of nine seasons with the Kings and Capitals. Wearing the captain’s “C” for the first time this season, Williams aims to help the Hurricanes become the second team in League history to win the Stanley Cup after ranking outside the top six in its conference. He played a pivotal role for the 2012 Kings when they became the first NHL team to accomplish the feat, winning the Stanley Cup after entering the postseason as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

 

Jordan Staal enters the Conference Finals tied for second on the team with 4-5–9 this postseason, a stat line that includes the tying goal in Game 7 of the First Round and overtime winner in Game 1 of the Second Round. In his 13th NHL season and seventh with the Hurricanes, Staal aims to become the second member of his family to hoist the Cup with Carolina – brother Eric Staal won in 2006 and is the all-time franchise leader in playoff goals and points.

 

* It has been nearly 75 years since brothers won the Stanley Cup with the same franchise, but never together. Busher and Art Jackson are the only set of brothers to each win the Stanley Cup with the same franchise, but never to do so in the same season – Busher won in 1932 with the Maple Leafs and Art followed in 1945. Overall, 15 sets of brothers have won the Stanley Cup with the same franchise (regardless of when those titles came), with Scott and Rob Niedermayer the only ones to do so in the last 35 years – they were teammates with the 2007 Ducks.

 

* Brind’Amour is the first rookie NHL head coach to reach the Conference Finals since Guy Boucher did so in 2011 with Tampa Bay. The 48-year-old was named to his current role on May 8, 2018 after skating with the Hurricanes for 10 seasons (1999-00 to 2009-10), captaining the franchise to its first Stanley Cup in 2006. Nicknamed “Rod the Bod” during his playing career, Brind’Amour has been integral to each of the franchise’s four trips to the Conference Finals and now is eight wins from becoming the first in over 50 years to win the Stanley Cup as head coach after also doing so as a player.

 

* Overall, 14 individuals have won the Cup as both a head coach and player – including seven who have done so with the same franchise – with Toe Blake the last to do so in 1968 when he claimed the last of his 11 championships (3 as a player, 8 as head coach). Only two players have captaineda Stanley Cup winner and then led the same franchise to a championship as head coach: Blake with the Canadiens and Hap Day with the Maple Leafs. Eddie Gerard was captain of the original Ottawa Senators for three of his four Stanley Cups as a player (he also won with Toronto) and was coach of the Montreal Maroons’ championship team in 1926, but never won with the same franchise in both roles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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