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NHL Morning Skate for Monday, May 7, 2018: Expansion Vegas Golden Knights continue to set records with advancement to Western Conference Finals



The Golden Knights continued their unprecedented season by advancing to the Western Conference Final with a Game 6 victory, while the Lightningclinched a berth in the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in four seasons with a Game 5 win.

Marc-Andre Fleury
turned aside all 28 shots he faced and Jonathan Marchessault’s fourth goal of the series stood as the game winner as the Golden Knights earned a series-clinching shutout win in consecutive rounds to advance to the Western Conference Final.

* The Golden Knights became just the third franchise in NHL history to win multiple series in its inaugural season. The first postseason in League history saw the Toronto Arenas win the 1918 NHL Final, a two-game total-goals series, by a 10-7 margin against the Montreal Canadiens before defeating the Pacific Coast Hockey Association’s Vancouver Millionaires to win the Stanley Cup. In 1968, the St. Louis Blues defeated the Philadelphia Flyers and Minnesota North Stars to emerge from the all-expansion West Division and advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

* In fact, only five other franchises have won multiple series in their first trip to the postseason: Montreal Maroons (1926; second season), Boston Bruins (1927; third season), New York Islanders (1975; third season), Florida Panthers (1996; third season) and Minnesota Wild (2003; third season).

* Among teams to debut in the conference era (since 1974-75), only four others reached the Conference Finals within their first four seasons. The Quebec Nordiques, Minnesota Wild and Florida Panthers each advanced to the Conference Finals in their third season, while the Edmonton Oilers did so in their fourth. The Nordiques and Oilers were part of the World Hockey Association before joining the NHL.

* Vegas owns an 8-2 record through its first 10 playoff games – the best record through a franchise’s first 10 postseason contests in NHL history. Only two other clubs have required fewer than 14 games to record their eighth all-time playoff win: Florida needed 11 games to win each of their first two series en route to an appearance in the 1996 Stanley Cup Final and Buffalo won eight of their first 13 playoff games from 1973 to 1975.

* The line of Jonathan Marchessault (4-7—11), Reilly Smith (1-10—11) and William Karlsson (4-6—10) combined for the opening goal on Sunday and are the top three point producers for Vegas in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Golden Knights became the third franchise in NHL history to feature three players with at least 10 points apiece through the first 10 games of its inaugural postseason, joining the New York Islanders in 1975 (Jude DrouinJ.P. PariseEd Westfall) and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 1997 (Paul KariyaDmitri MironovTeemu Selanne).

Three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury registered his third straight shutout in a series-clinching win, following a 2-0 victory with the Penguins in Game 7 of the 2017 Second Round at WSH and a 1-0 win with the Golden Knights in Game 4 of the 2018 First Round at LAK. He recorded his fourth career series-clinching shutout overall, trailing only Chris Osgood (5) for the most by a goaltender in NHL history.

* Fleury earned his 14th career postseason shutout, including an NHL-best four in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, to move into a tie with Dominik HasekJacques Plante and Ed Belfour for sixth place on the NHL’s all-time list among goaltenders. He is the first goaltender to record four shutouts in a single postseason since 2011, when Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo and Boston’s Tim Thomas each registered four.

* Fleury, who played Games 1-3 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Final with the Penguins, is set to become the fifth goaltender to make consecutive appearances in the Conference Finals with different clubs (since conferences were introduced in 1974-75). The only other netminders to achieve that feat: Glen Hanlon (NYR and DET), Glenn Healy (NYI and NYR), Mike Smith (TBL and PHX) and Antti Niemi (CHI and SJS).

* Fleury improved to 8-2 in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs (1.53 GAA, .951 SV%, 4 SO). His goals-against average and save percentage lead the League among goaltenders to appear in at least five games in the 2018 postseason.

J.T. Miller‘s second period marker stood as the series-clinching goal as the Lightning won Game 5 to advance to the Eastern Conference Final for the fifth time in franchise history (also 2004, 2011, 2015 and 2016). The Lightning improved to 6-0 in a series in which they held a 3-1 lead – including a 2-0 mark in the first two rounds of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Brayden Point (1-0—1) led all Lightning skaters with 3-4—7 in the five-game series and shares second on the club with 4-6—10 overall, trailing only Nikita Kucherov (6-6—12). He ranked third among Tampa Bay skaters with 32-34—66 in the 2017-18 regular season while matching a franchise record with 12 game-winning goals.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 27 saves, including stopping all 14 shots he faced in the third period, to improve to 8-2 in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs(2.20 GAA, .927 SV%). A finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2017-18, Vasilevskiy shared the League lead among all goaltenders with 44 wins during the regular season.

* The Lightning became the eighth team in the last 20 years (since 1998) to clinch a berth in the Conference Finals three times in a four-year span. All but one of the previous seven clubs captured the Stanley Cup at least once during that four-year period.

* The Lightning will face the winner of the Capitals-Penguins series in the Eastern Conference Final (WSH leads 3-2). Tampa Bay has faced each team twice in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, owning a 2-0 series record against Washington (4-2 W in 2003 CQF, 4-0 W in 2011 CSF) and a 1-1 mark against Pittsburgh (4-3 W in 2011 CQF, 4-3 L in 2016 CF).


· Start times set for Second Round game on Thursday, May 10

· Capitals aim to seize opportunity in Game 6 against Penguins (via Tom Gulitti)

· Penguins confident facing elimination in Game 6 against Capitals

· Sidney Crosby enjoying best career start to playoffs for Penguins
The Capitals and Jets look to secure Game 6 victories to advance to the Conference Finals. Washington has reached the Eastern Conference Final on two prior occasions (1990 and 1998), while Winnipeg is looking to advance three rounds deep for the first time in franchise history.

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NHL announces 2nd Round Stanley Cup schedule for Thursday May 10





NEW YORK (May 6, 2018) – The National Hockey League today announced the following updates to the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round schedule:


Thursday, May 10


· The start time of Game 7 of the Second Round series between the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators, if necessary, has been set for 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 10, in Nashville. The game would be televised on NBCSN in the U.S. In Canada, the game would be on CBC, Sportsnet and TVA Sports.


NHL Morning Skate for Sunday, May 6, 2018: Stanley Cup Playoffs Edition; Capitals put 2-time defending champion Penguins on brink of elimination after winning game 5




Rookies Kyle Connor (WPG) and Jakub Vrana (WSH) posted three points apiece as the Jets and Capitals took 3-2 leads in their respective Second Round series. When a best-of-seven series is tied 2-2 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as was the case in both of Saturday’s contests, the winner of Game 5 holds an all-time series record of 202-54 (78.9%).

The Jets scored four goals in the second period, led by a pair from Kyle Connor (2-1—3), en route to a Game 5 win and a 3-2 lead in their Second Round series. Winnipeg, which added two more goals in the final frame, paces all teams with a 3.80 goals per game average in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

* Connor, who led all rookies with 31 goals in the 2017-18 regular season, scored his first two goals of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He established Jets/Thrashers franchise records for most goals and points in a playoff game by a rookie.

* Only one rookie recorded more points in a playoff game with the original Winnipeg Jets: Dale Hawerchuk in Game 2 of the 1982 Division Semifinals (0-4—4 vs. STL). Only three scored two goals in a postseason contest: Paul MacLean (Game 2 of 1982 DSF vs. STL), Keith Tkachuk(Game 6 of 1992 DSF vs. VAN) and Teemu Selanne (Game 3 of 1993 DSF vs. VAN).

Mark Scheifele (1-1—2) has collected multiple points in six of his last seven outings dating to Game 4 of the First Round at MIN (8-5—13). He is tied for second in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs with nine goals overall (9-5—14).

Evgeny Kuznetsov
(1-2—3) tied the game 52 seconds into the third period and Jakub Vrana (1-2—3) scored the go-ahead goal with 4:38 remaining in regulation as the Capitals took a 3-2 lead in their Second Round series.

* The Capitals hold a 3-2 lead in a Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the Penguins for the fourth time in 11 meetings and first since the 1995 Conference Quarterfinals (4-3 PIT series win). Washington went on to win the series on one prior occasion, doing so in the 1994 Conference Quarterfinals (4-2 series win).

* Vrana became the second Capitals player to score a winning goal in the final five minutes of regulation in their Second Round series, joining Alex Ovechkin in Game 3 (58:53). Elias notes that Washington became the first team to score two such goals in a playoff series since 2016, when San Jose did so in the Second Round vs. NSH en route to an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final.

* Vrana became the fourth rookie in franchise history to record three points in a postseason game, joining Sergei Gonchar (Game 1 of 1995 CQF at PIT), Richard Zednik (Game 3 of 1998 CF at BUF) and Kuznetsov (Game 5 of 2015 FR vs. NYI).

* Less than 24 hours after his wife gave birth to a baby boy, John Carlson scored his 16th career playoff goal (all w/ WSH) to move into a tie with Kevin Hatcher for the most by a defenseman in franchise history. He has recorded 3-8—11 in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, one shy of the franchise record for most points in a postseason by a defenseman.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (66-118—184) scored his 66th career playoff goal to pass Bryan Trottier (71-112—183) and Nicklas Lidstrom(54-129—183) for sole possession of 11th place on the NHL’s all-time playoff points list and tie Joe Nieuwendyk and Denis Savard for 19th place on the League’s all-time postseason goals list. Only one player in franchise history has scored more playoff goals than Crosby: Mario Lemieux (76).

* Crosby (9-11—20) reached the 20-point mark in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth time in his NHL career, the most in franchise history. Elias adds that only four players in NHL history have recorded at least 20 points in more postseasons than Crosby: Wayne Gretzky (9x), Mark Messier(7x), Jari Kurri (6x) and Glenn Anderson (5x).

Sidney Crosby
became the third player to reach the 20-point mark in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, joining Penguins teammate Jake Guentzel(10-11—21) and Bruins forward David Pastrnak (6-14—20).

* The 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs are just the fourth postseason to feature at least three players with 20-plus points by the conclusion of the second round. The others: 1981 (Mike BossyWayne GretzkyKen Linseman), 1983 (Gretzky, Rick MiddletonBarry Pederson) and 1989 (Gretzky, Tim KerrBrian Propp).

* Only four players recorded more than 20 points in the entire 2017 postseason: Evgeni Malkin (10-18—28), Crosby (8-19—27), Phil Kessel (8-15—23) and Guentzel (13-8—21).


· Lightning coach Jon Cooper, facing Bruins in playoffs, has sentimental ties to them (via Dave Stubbs)

· Bruins top line has been first-rate in playoffs (via Amalie Benjamin)

· Golden Knights can make more history in Game 6 against Sharks (via Nick Cotsonika)

· Panthers cheer on Vino Rosso at 144th Kentucky Derby
The Lightning and Golden Knights look to clinch berths in the Conference Finals on Sunday. Vegas can join the Toronto Arenas (1917-18) and St. Louis Blues (1967-68) as the only franchises in NHL history to win multiple series in their inaugural season. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, looks to return to the Eastern Conference Final after appearances in 2004, 2011, 2015 and 2016.

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Lucan, Ontario to host 2018 Kraft Hockeyville Game between Toronto and Ottawa on September 18




TORONTO/NEW YORK (April 19, 2018) – The 2018 Kraft Hockeyville-winning community Lucan, Ontario, will host the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators in a preseason ‘Battle of Ontario’ matchup on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. The twelfth annual campaign received more than 9 million votes across the country, with the Lucan Community Memorial Centre receiving the highest number of votes as previously announced by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman during Hockey Night in Canada on March 31, 2018.


“We’re absolutely thrilled to have the Senators back and are excited to welcome the Maple Leafs who will be playing in a Kraft Hockeyville game for the first time,” said Joanna Milroy, Director of Portfolio Marketing at Kraft Heinz Canada.  “This will be a Kraft Hockeyville matchup Canadians will not forget!”


In addition to hosting the preseason matchup, Lucan, a southwestern Ontario town with a population of 4,500 residents, will experience a variety of programming within the community including NHL player and alumni visits, hockey clinics, and a pregame fan festival.


As previously announced, the Lucan Community Memorial Centre – a central hub for residents with structures nearly 70-years old – will receive $250,000 in arena upgrades. The arena, which supports boys and girls minor hockey and skating programs, will use the upgrade funding to replace arena seating, improve the locker rooms, and add a modern sound system.


“For the twelfth year, people across Canada continue to show the world the importance of local rinks in their community,” said Brian Jennings, NHL Chief Brand Officer and Executive Vice President. “The road to the NHL starts at community rinks in places just like Lucan, Ontario. Congratulations to every community that was nominated, and to every youth hockey player, coach, hockey parent, and volunteer that can continue to call these rinks home. The League is proud to support communities that rally around their arenas so future generations have a place to play.”


Lucan, Ontario will also receive $10,000 in equipment from NHLPA Goals & Dreams. The equipment donation will be distributed through the local organizing committee to a grassroots hockey program in the community to be used in the purchase of new equipment to help underserved youth play hockey. This donation continues the work of the players’ charitable initiative, which for more than 18 years has assisted grassroots hockey programs all around the world.


“Players relish the opportunity to skate and play at rinks like the Lucan Community Memorial Centre, as it takes them back to their own childhood hockey experiences,” said Sandra Monteiro, NHLPA Chief of Global Business Strategies. “The players from the Maple Leafs and Senators are excited to hit the ice for Kraft Hockeyville and showcase their Ontario rivalry for the passionate fans in Lucan.”


Kraft Hockeyville Canada is a partnership with Kraft Heinz, the National Hockey League (NHL®), and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) to support local rinks and community centres. Since its inception in 2006, Kraft Hockeyville has awarded more than $3.2 million to 77 communities across Canada and has celebrated 11 NHL preseason games in eight different provinces. Tickets to the preseason game are free and awarded to the winning community. Details on how to get tickets will be provided to the community closer to game day. For more information, visit


Kings’ Doughty, Lightning’s Hedman, Predators’ Subban named NHL finalists for Norris Trophy



Drew Doughty skating in black uniform 2016 photo By mark6mauno - https photos mark6mauno, CC BY-SA 2.0, https

Victor Hedman 2014 photo By Lisa Gansky from New York, NY, USA - IMG_7804, CC BY-SA 2.0, https

P.K. Subban 2017 photo Michael Miller - Own work via wikipedia commons

NEW YORK (April 19, 2018) – Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators are the three finalists for the 2017-18 James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” the National Hockey League announced today.


Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Norris Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 20, during the 2018 NHL Awards™ presented by Hulu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.


Following are the finalists for the Norris Trophy, in alphabetical order:


Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings

Doughty paced the NHL in total time on ice (2,200:31) and average time on ice (26:50) while anchoring a Los Angeles defense that allowed a League-low 203 goals. He also set a career high and ranked seventh among NHL defensemen with 10-50—60, becoming the first Kings blueliner to collect 60 points since 2005-06 (Lubomir Visnovsky: 17-50—67). Doughty – who appeared in all 82 games for the fourth straight season – reached a trio of career milestones, picking up his 100th goal Jan. 30 and 300th assist and 400th point Feb. 7 (102-320—422 in 770 GP). Only one defenseman has registered more goals, assists or points for Los Angeles: Rob Blake (161‑333—494 in 805 GP). The 28-year-old London, Ont., native is a Norris Trophy finalist for the fourth time after winning the award in 2015-16, finishing second in voting in 2014-15 and placing third in 2009-10.


Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

Hedman shared first place among NHL defensemen with a career-high 17 goals, tied for the second-most in one season by a Lightning blueliner (behind Dan Boyle: 20 in 2006-07). He also ranked fifth among League defensemen with 63 points, becoming the first blueliner in team history to top 60 points in multiple campaigns (16‑56—72 in 2016-17). Hedman established a career high with a +32 rating, ranking sixth in the League and second among defensemen, and also set personal bests in time on ice per game (25:51) and total time on ice (1,990:30), placing fifth and ninth overall, respectively. The 27-year-old Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, native is a Norris Trophy finalist for the second straight season after finishing third in voting in 2016-17. He is vying to become the first player in Tampa Bay history to win the award.


P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators

Subban powered a Predators defense that led the NHL in goals (56) and points (206) in 2017-18. He set a career high and shared fourth place among League blueliners with 16 goals. Subban also ranked eighth among NHL defensemen with 59 points, one shy of his personal best established in 2014-15 (15-45—60 w/ MTL). The 28-year-old Toronto, Ont., native – who collected 11-19—30 in 31 outings from Dec. 13 – Feb. 22 – played in all 82 games for the third time in his career (also 2013-14 and 2014-15), placing 11th in the League in total time on ice (1,977:24) while registering a +18 rating. Subban is seeking his second career Norris Trophy following his win in 2012-13 (w/ MTL). A finalist for the third time, he also is aiming to become the first player in Nashville history to capture the award.



The James Norris Memorial Trophy was presented in 1953 by the four children of the late James Norris in memory of the former owner-president of the Detroit Red Wings.


Announcement Schedule

The three finalists for NHL Trophies are being announced by NBC Sports in the United States and Sportsnet/TVA Sports in Canada during pregame programming for the Stanley Cup Playoffs through Monday, April 30. The series of announcements continues on Friday, April 20, when the three finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy will be unveiled.


2018 NHL Awards™ presented by Hulu

The 2018 NHL Awards™ presented by Hulu will be held Wednesday, June 20, at The Joint, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s state-of-the-art concert and entertainment venue. It marks the second year that the NHL Awards™ will be held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, home to world-class entertainment, dining and party hotspots as well as concerts and special events. NBCSN and Sportsnet will broadcast the event live in the United States and Canada, respectively, at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.


A full lineup of presenters and entertainment will be announced at a later date. Fans can tweet about the event using the official hashtag #NHLAwards.

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