May 1, 2022
* The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin May 2 with 16 teams each on the hunt for 16 wins – yet only one can hoist hockey’s holy grail. Four series will contest Game 1 on Monday.
* The 2021-22 season sparked an offensive renaissance that will see high-scoring stars compete for hockey’s ultimate prize. Three of the NHL’s 50-goal scorers will compete on the Eastern Conference side of the bracket, while the Western Conference includes five of the eight 100-point scorers and the two highest-scoring defensemen.
* The final game of the 2021-22 regular season is set for Sunday, when the Kraken (27-48-6, 60 points) visit the Jets (38-32-11, 87 points) at 2 p.m. ET.
ONE MORE SLEEP UNTIL THE STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
We are one day away from puck drop on the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, with 16 teams set to chase the historic championship trophy including three in search of the first Stanley Cup in franchise history (Florida, Minnesota and Nashville). After a regular season that saw offensive production like we haven’t seen in decades, many of the players who topped the lists will feature prominently in the First Round.
EASTERN CONFERENCE PACKED WITH 50-GOAL SCORERS
All eight playoff teams from the Eastern Conference finished the season with at least 100 points – the first time in NHL history that eight clubs from the same conference have done so.
* The Eastern Conference playoff bracket will feature three players that reached the 100-point mark in the regular season (Jonathan Huberdeau:30-85—115 in 80 GP, Auston Matthews: 60-46—106 in 73 GP & Steven Stamkos:42-64—106 in 81 GP) as well as three of the League’s four 50-goal scorers (Matthews: 60, Chris Kreider: 52 & Alex Ovechkin: 50).
* With Matthews tracking to win the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for the second straight season, a player skating for an Eastern Conference team will have led or co-led the NHL in goals for 11 consecutive campaigns and 15 of the past 16 seasons dating to 2006-07. With 2010-11 recipient Corey Perry now playing for the Lightning, the last six winners of the Richard Trophy will all be skating in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket, with each series featuring at least one former winner. The others include Matthews (1x; not including 2021-22), Ovechkin (9x), David Pastrnak (1x), Sidney Crosby (2x) and Stamkos(2x).
WESTERN CONFERENCE FULL OF 100-POINT PLAYERS
The Western Conference seeding came down to the wire, decided in the third period of the 1,311th game of 2021-22 – the second-last contest of the regular season. Three of the four First Round series in the West had playoff implications secured on a 15-game Friday as Calgary-Dallas and Colorado-Nashville both locked in their matchup, while Minnesota secured home ice advantage over St. Louis.
* Five of the eight 100-point scorers will be on display in the West, led by Connor McDavid (44-79—123 in 80 GP), who is tracking to earn his fourth Art Ross Trophy (also 2020-21, 2017-18 & 2016-17). It also was the first 100-point campaign for three players in the West: Johnny Gaudreau (40-75—115 in 82 GP), Kirill Kaprizov (47-61—108 in 81 GP) and Matthew Tkachuk (42-62—104 in 82 GP). This marks just the second time in the past 25 years that one conference has had five different 100-point skaters in the playoffs, with the only other time over that span the Eastern Conference in 2007 (Sidney Crosby, Vincent Lecavalier, Dany Heatley, Martin St. Louis & Marian Hossa).
* The Western Conference bracket will also feature the two top-scoring defensemen with leading point scorer Roman Josi (23-73—96 in 80 GP) facing the highest goal scorer among blueliners, Cale Makar (28-58—86 in 77 GP). The pair achieved rare defensive feats this season as Josi became the highest-scoring defenseman in 29 years and eighth different blueliner to accumulate at least 96 points in a season, while Makar became just the 15th defenseman in NHL history to score 28 goals in a campaign and the third in the past 27 years.
CUP HALF FULL OR CUP HALF EMPTY?
Is home ice really an advantage?
Is it better to go into the postseason on a hot stretch?
Does the Stanley Cup winner always make a big splash on Trade Deadline Day?
#NHLStats explores some of the facts, myths and talking points often heard on broadcast, talk radio, and around water coolers and sports bars heading into the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
THE 2021-22 SEASON IN THREE WORDS: ONE TO REMEMBER
With 99.9% of the 2021-22 regular season completed and one full game remaining to add to the numbers, #NHLStats has compiled a recap. From a plethora of goals, an onslaught of hats raining from the stands, to teams consistently finding ways to flip the score and mount a comeback – the 2021-22 campaign could be described in three words: one to remember. Click here to read the full 2021-22 Regular Season recap.
* The goal total in 2021-22 was led by the Panthers, who became the highest-scoring team (340 GF) in 26 years (PIT: 362 GF in 1995-96).
* 78% of goals scored in regulation and overtime have come at even strength, tied for the second-highest percentage in the NHL’s expansion era (behind 79% in 1972-73).
* 102 hat tricks were scored, the most in 29 years (112 in 1992-93). They were scored by 84 different players, the most in 40 years and tied for second most in NHL history (86 in 1981-82 & 84 in 1980-81).
JETS, KRAKEN CLOSE OUT REGULAR SEASON SUNDAY
After 1,311 games contested over the past 201 days, the Kraken (27-48-6, 60 points) visit the Jets (38-32-11, 87 points) for the final chapter of the 2021-22 regular season. The highest scorer entering the contest is Kyle Connor (46-46—92 in 78 GP), who is one of 16 players with 90-plus points this season and currently is tied with Marian Hossa (2005-06; 39-53—92 in 80 GP w/ ATL) for the fourth-most points by a Jets/Thrashers player in a single campaign.