NHL ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE FOR 2022 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS FIRST ROUND
After the final matchup for the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs was decided during the 1,311th and penultimate game of the season Friday, the NHL announced the dates, starting times and national television coverage for the opening round. Four series begin Monday, May 2, on ESPN, ESPN2, Sportsnet, CBC and TVA Sports, followed Tuesday by the remaining four matchups. Later in the week, the Stanley Cup Playoffs will air on Turner Sports networks for the first time ever, starting with two doubleheaders on TNT and TBS on Thursday, May 5.
BRACKET SET FOR 2022 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
It took until the 15th and final game of the night’s action, but the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs bracket was finalized Friday with wins by the Penguins, Maple Leafs, Wild and Stars helping to confirm the six remaining First Round matchups. More notes on each series can be found below.
* Click here to register for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge, which will remain open through Game 1 of each First Round series. Brackets will be locked at 6:59 p.m. ET on May 4, before the puck drops for the first Game 2 of the First Round schedule.
* Formerly Southeast Division rivals, the Capitals and Panthers will clash in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time, with Florida looking for its fourth series victory in franchise history and first since the 1996 Conference Finals (4-3 W vs. PIT).
* While Washington looks to defeat the Presidents’ Trophy winner in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time, Florida looks to become the third consecutive winner of the award to advance past the First Round (also COL: 2021 & BOS: 2020). The last winner of the Presidents’ Trophy to win multiple playoff rounds were the 2014-15 Rangers (4-3 L in CF).
* The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs mark the first-ever meeting between the Maple Leafs and Lightning in the postseason. Outside of the NHL’s inaugural season, Toronto owns an all-time record of 11-12 (.478) in series when facing an opponent for the first time. Tampa Bay is 10-6 (.625) in that scenario.
* The Maple Leafs, looking for their first series victory since the 2004 Conference Quarterfinals, have defeated the defending-Stanley Cup champions in a best-of-seven series four times in franchise history including three in the Final (1967 SCF vs. MTL, 1962 SCF vs. CHI, 1947 SCF vs. MTL & 1945 SF vs. MTL). Toronto also went on to win the Cup in 1945.
* The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs mark the seventh all-time postseason meeting between the two franchises, with Boston holding a 5-1 series edge in the previous six matchups. The two clubs last squared off during the 2020 First Round, when the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Bruins ousted the Hurricanes in five games.
* Carolina, which captured a Game 7 win against Boston during the 2009 Conference Semifinals, looks for multiple series wins against just its third opponent. The others: New Jersey (3-1) and Montreal (2-5).
* The Penguins and Rangers are set to meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the eighth time and first since a string of three straight head-to-head series from 2014 to 2016. Three of the last four series between Pittsburgh and New York have resulted in the winner going on to reach the Final (2008 CSF, 2014 R2 & 2016 R1).
* Pittsburgh, which opens its First Round series on the road, is 12-5 in 17 all-time playoff games at Madison Square Garden. The Penguins’ postseason winning percentage of .706 at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” marks the highest such total by a franchise in NHL history (min. 5 GP).
* Colorado and Nashville are clashing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time after first doing so during the 2018 First Round, a series that saw the Predators register a shutout victory in a series-clinching game for the first time in franchise history.
* Roman Josi (23-73—96 in 80 GP) and Cale Makar (28-58—86 in 77 GP) finished first and second in NHL scoring among defensemen in 2021-22, respectively. Colorado and Nashville’s First Round series marks just the third in League history to feature two blueliners go head-to-head in the postseason after each posting 80-plus points in the regular season. The others: Paul Coffey and Denis Potvin (1984 SCF) as well as Potvin and Larry Robinson (1977 SF).
* Dallas and Calgary are set to face off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third time (2020 R1 & 1981 SF). The winner of each previous series eventually reached the Final, with the Stars advancing in 2020 and North Stars doing so in 1981.
* Flames teammates Elias Lindholm (42 G), Matthew Tkachuk (42 G) and Johnny Gaudreau (40 G) as well as Dallas forward Jason Robertson (41 G) each concluded the 2021-22 season with 40-plus goals. The 2022 First Round matchup between the two clubs will mark just the fourth best-of-seven series in the past 21 years to feature four players with 40 goals in the regular season (NJD vs. PIT: 2001 CF, COL vs. NJD: 2001 SCF & TBL vs. CBJ: 2019 R1).
* The Wild (53-22-7, 113 points) clinched the No. 2 seed in the Central Division and will have home ice advantage for their 2022 First Round series against the Blues. Minnesota will look to seek revenge – the last series the Wild held home ice advantage in was the 2017 First Round against St. Louis, a series they lost 4-1.
* This marks the third time the Blues and Wild have played each other in the playoffs with each team winning a series. The first time they met was during the First Round of the 2015 playoffs with Minnesota winning in six games, followed by the Blues beating the Wild in five games during the First Round in 2017.
* After an Edmonton victory secured the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Division, Los Angeles enters the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs with the No. 3 seed – securing the second First Round matchup of the postseason. The two teams will meet in the playoffs for the eighth time ever and first time in 30 years, with the Oilers owning a 5-2 series edge after eliminating the Wayne Gretzky-led Kings in their last meeting.
* The 1992 Division Semifinals marked the last of four consecutive head-to-head meetings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the two clubs since Wayne Gretzky was traded to Los Angeles from Edmonton ahead of the 1988-89 season (also 1991 DSF, 1990 DF & 1989 DSF). The 1992 postseason (2-5—7 in 6 GP) marked just the second playoff year of Gretzky’s career in which he collected fewer than 10 points after he notched 2-1—3 (3 GP in 1980) during his first-ever appearance.
MORE PLAYERS HIT GOAL-SCORING MARKS AHEAD OF SEASON FINALE SUNDAY
The number of 20-, 30- and 40-goal scorers increased as several teams played their final games of the 2021-22 regular season, which concludes Sunday when the Jets and Kraken square off in the NHL’s 1,312th and final contest of the campaign. A sneak peek at the theme of the #NHLStats 2021-22 Regular Season Recap, which will be released Saturday and updated following Sunday’s finale:
* Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin and Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly became the NHL’s 136th and 137th 20-goal scorers this season, eclipsing 1980-81 (135) for the most in a single campaign in League history.
* Senators captain Brady Tkachuk, Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi and Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault became the NHL’s 49th, 50th and 51st members of the 30-goal club, marking the most in a single season since 1993-94 (55). Mark Scheifele (29 G), Pierre-Luc Dubois (28 G) and Nikolaj Ehlers (28 G) of the Jets and Jared McCann (27 G) of the Kraken can also reach the mark Sunday.
* Lightning captain Steven Stamkos reached 42 tallies on the season, bringing the number of 40-goal scorers in 2021-22 to 17. That marks the League’s highest single-season total in 26 years (18 in 1995-96).
FINAL SCORES AND HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIDAY’S 15 GAMES
Twenty-eight teams contested their regular-season finales Friday during the 19th 15-game day in NHL history and first since May 1, 2021. A total of 104 goals were scored, marking the most in a single day in League history (previous: 103 on Jan. 23, 1993).
Some other highlights include:
* Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos (3-0—3) netted his 10th career hat trick and became the first player in franchise history to register nine consecutive multi-point games, besting Vincent Lecavalier (8 GP in 2007-08). Only three players in the past 30 years have posted a streak of at least that length: Jaromir Jagr (10 GP in 1995-96), Mario Lemieux (12 GP & 10 GP in 1992-93) and Alexander Mogilny (9 GP in 1992-93).
* Detroit’s Moritz Seider became the 10th defenseman in the past 40 years to record 50+ points in a season as a rookie. He is one of three active blueliners to achieve that feat, following Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar in 2019-20.
* Arizona trailed by four goals in the opening frame, but rallied to end the season with a victory while becoming the second team to overcome a three-goal deficit and win in consecutive games this season, joining Florida (Nov. 30 & Dec 2, 2021). The Coyotes’ wins were against the Stars and Predators, who were battling for playoff position in the Western Conference Wild Card race.
* Cole Caufield scored his first career NHL hat trick as the Canadiens tallied 10 goals and became the first team since the 1973-74 Kings to net a double-digit total in a regular-season finale.
* EBUG Tom Hodges, who resides in Plano, Texas,played in the third period for the Ducks stopping two of the three shots he faced followed by an entertaining post-game interview.
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