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ICYMI: NHL Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Qualifiers Edition – Aug. 3, 2020

 

THREE HARD LAPS

Joonas Korpisalo (CBJ) and Alex Stalock (MIN) each posted shutouts in the opening games of their best-of five-series, a feat only one other goaltender has accomplished in the last 81 years.

Nazem Kadri scored a buzzer-beating go-ahead goal with 0.1 seconds on the clock in the third period as the Avalanche edged the Blues in their round-robin opener.

* Four of six games on Monday’s schedule will be Game 2s. Teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-five series possess an all-time series record of 55-1 (.982) – with more details in the preview below.

KORPISALO, STALOCK PERFECT IN SERIES OPENERS
Joonas Korpisalo of the Blue Jackets and Alex Stalock of the Wild each posted a shutout to give their respective club a 1-0 series lead. Aside from Korpisalo and Stalock, only one other goaltender in the last 81 years posted a shutout in the opening game of a best-of-five series: Buffalo’s Bob Sauve in the 1983 Division Semifinals.

* Korpisalo turned aside all 28 shots he faced to become the 14th goaltender in NHL history – and 10th in the modern era (since 1943-44) – to record a shutout in his postseason debut. It was the first playoff shutout in franchise history and the first by a goaltender against the Maple Leafs in the postseason since Arturs Irbe for the Hurricanes in Game 4 of the 2002 Conference Finals.

* Making his second playoff start and first in more than six years, Stalock also made 28 saves to record his first career postseason shutout and victory. He became the fourth goaltender to record a playoff shutout for the Wild, joining teammate Devan Dubnyk (2), Ilya Bryzgalov (1) and Darcy Kuemper (1). Stalock played a career-high 38 games in 2019-20, hitting the 20-win mark for the first time and posting a career-best four shutouts (two back of the League lead).

COYOTES TAME PREDATORS EN ROUTE TO GAME 1 VICTORY
The Coyotes raced to a 3-0 lead in the opening period – with Phil Kessel and Taylor Hall each recording a pair of assists – and Michael Grabner netted the eventual winning goal as Arizona edged Nashville in Game 1 of their best-of-five series. It was the Coyotes’ first playoff win in more than eight years (since Game 4 of the 2012 Conference Finals at Los Angeles).

* Kessel, who registered 1-3—4 in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final versus Nashville (6 GP) as a member of the Penguins, recorded his 21st career multi-point game in the postseason, the third-most among active U.S.-born skaters behind Patrick Kane (34) and Joe Pavelski (24).

* Grabner scored his second career shorthanded goal in the playoffs (also Game 2 of 2017 R2). Only three active players have more career shorthanded goals in the postseason: Patrick Marleau (4), Jonathan Toews (3) and Patrice Bergeron (3).

AVALANCHE, FLYERS WIN ROUND-ROBIN OPENERS
The Avalanche and Flyers each earned wins as the battle for seeding among the top four teams in each conference began with round robin play in the West and East:

Nazem Kadri scored the go-ahead, game-winning goal with 0.1 seconds remaining in the third period as Colorado stunned the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues. Kadri recorded the second go-ahead goal at 19:59 of the third period in postseason history – Jussi Jokinen scored the other for the Hurricanes in Game 4 of the 2009 Conference Quarterfinals against the Devils.

Carter Hart turned aside 34 shots and four different Flyers players scored as Philadelphia defeated Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston. Hart, who will turn 22 on Aug. 13, became the youngest Flyers goaltender to earn a win in the postseason, eclipsing the previous mark held by Pete Peeters (22 years, 235 days in Game 1 of 1980 PRLM).

PREVIEW OF TODAY’S ACTION
An action-packed Monday in the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers features a six-game slate, including four Game 2s and two round robin matchups.

* Teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-five series own an all-time series record of 55-1 (.982), a total includes three series involving non-NHL clubs (1920 SCF1925 SCF1926 SCF). The Islanders are the lone team to advance after losing the first two games in a best-of-five series, rallying to defeat the Capitals in the 1985 Division Semifinals.

* Of the eight teams playing in Game 2s Monday, seven have contested a best-of-five series previously – noted here with their record in the second game of those series: the Canadiens (6-8), Rangers (7-5), Blackhawks (6-4), Oilers (6-1), Flames (4-3), Penguins (1-2) and Hurricanes (1-1 as the Whalers).

BEST OF THE BEST-OF-FIVES
A few players to watch in today’s best-of-five series:

* Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin has recorded multiple points in four of his 16 career playoff games, including 1-1—2 in Game 1 on Saturday. Only one other blueliner in Hurricanes/Whalers history has as many multi-point games in the postseason: Dave Babych (6 in 31 GP).

* Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, a finalist for the 2019-20 Vezina Trophy, led the NHL with 18 wins in appearances following a loss of any kind during the 2019-20 regular-season (18-7-1). The next-closest goaltenders in that regard were Carey Price (14-13-3) and John Gibson (14-15-2).

* Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored in Game 1 to boost his totals to 67-120—187 in 165 career playoff games and now needs one point to tie Joe Sakic (84-104—188 in 172 GP) and Doug Gilmour (60-128—188 in 182 GP) for eighth place on the NHL’s all-time playoff points list.

* After putting on a record-setting five-point performance in Game 1 on Saturday, Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik looks to become the 11th player in NHL history to post at least six points through his first two career playoff games. The only active players to do so are Nathan MacKinnon (1-6—7 in 2014 w/ COL) and Tyler Seguin (3-3—6 in 2011 w/ BOS).

 

PUBLICATION WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHLmedia.com

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