May 17, 2022
* The Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs starts Tuesday as the Lightning-Panthers and Blues-Avalanche open their second head-to-head series in as many years.
* Jonathan Huberdeau and Nikita Kucherov combined for 21 points in the last “Sunshine State” series, while standout performers from the 2022 First Round Carter Verhaeghe and Nicholas Paul will meet again in the playoffs after squaring off at the junior level nearly a decade ago.
* Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar look to lead Colorado to its eighth straight postseason win against St. Louis, while former Avalanche forward Ryan O’Reilly can match the Blues franchise record for longest playoff goal streak.
* Wednesday will feature the Rangers-Hurricanes opening the first best-of-seven series between the franchises as well as the Oilers-Flames contesting the first “Battle of Alberta” playoff game in over 31 years.
“SUNSHINE STATE” RIVALRY PITS PRESIDENTS’ TROPHY WINNERS VS. REIGNING CHAMPS
The Panthers and Lightning find themselves contesting a head-to-head series for the second straight postseason, but this year’s “Sunshine State” showdown will look a little different with Florida having won the 2021-22 Presidents’ Trophy and Tampa Bay now carrying the title of two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.
* Nikita Kucherov and Jonathan Huberdeau each had a double-digit point total when the franchises met in the 2021 First Round, with the Lightning earning a six-game win against the higher-seeded Panthers. The last NHL player with 20-plus playoff points against one opponent over a two-year span was Colorado captain Joe Sakic versus Chicago from the 1996 Conference Semifinals to the 1997 Conference Quarterfinals.
* Florida features 10 players on its active roster who have appeared in at least one game beyond the First Round/Conference Quarterfinals, including Carter Verhaeghe who won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2020 and Ben Chiarot who faced the Lightning during the 2021 Final (w/ MTL). Verhaeghe has scored the winning goal in each of the Panthers’ last three contests, capped by the overtime clincher in Game 6 of the First Round to give the franchise its first series win in 26 years.
* Nicholas Paul played the role of “unlikely hero” for the Lightning in Game 7 of their First Round series by scoring both of Tampa Bay’s goals in its 2-1 win against Toronto. Paul and Verhaeghe met eight years ago during the OHL Playoffs, with the former scoring the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the 2014 Conference Quarterfinals as the North Bay Battalion rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Niagara IceDogs.
* Defending Stanley Cup champions own an all-time record of 4-4 in a playoff series against the Presidents’ Trophy winner (since 1985-86 when the award was introduced). The No. 1-ranked team from the regular season is 4-1 in the last five such matchups.
BLUES LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK AFTER BEING SWEPT AWAY BY AVALANCHE IN 2021
St. Louis and Colorado will also contest a head-to-head playoff series for the second time in as many years and for the third time overall, with the Avalanche earning a five-game win against the Blues in the 2001 Conference Finals and a four-game sweep during the 2021 First Round.
* Nathan MacKinnon has six goals and 10 points in five career playoff games against St. Louis, highlighted by a hat trick in Game 2 of the 2021 First Round. The most postseason goals by an Avalanche/Nordiques player versus one opponent is 12, achieved by Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg against the Red Wings.
* Cale Makar shares the League lead in scoring among defensemen with 10 points during the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the most in NHL history by a blueliner through four games in a postseason. Makar has 41 career playoff points overall and needs one to tie Adam Foote for third place among defensemen in franchise history.
* Ryan O’Reilly, who skated over 100 games alongside Foote with the Avalanche from 2009-10 to 2010-11, was one of three Blues players with five goals during their First Round series against the Wild (also David Perron & Vladimir Tarasenko).O’Reilly carries a four-game goal streak into St. Louis’ Second Round clash with Colorado, tied for his playoff career high set during the 2019 Final en route to winning the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy. The longest postseason goal streak in Blues history is five contests, achieved by Phil Roberto in 1972 and Joe Mullen in 1982.
* The Avalanche have won seven consecutive playoff contests against the Blues dating to Game 4 of the 2001 Conference Finals, a run which includes Colorado’s 2-1 win versus St. Louis in the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers Round Robin. The Avalanche’s seven straight victories mark the longest playoff winning streak against one opponent in franchise history, ahead of six-game runs versus the Canucks (Game 1 of 1996 CQF–Game 4 of 2001 CQF) and Red Wings (Game 3 of 1999 CSF–Game 2 of 2000 CSF).
“QUEST FOR THE STANLEY CUP” DOCUSERIES RETURNS MAY 27
Quest For The Stanley Cup, the behind-the-scenes documentary series chronicling the remaining eight teams competing in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs and vying for the chance to hoist the Stanley Cup, returns Friday, May 27.
* A first look, The Quest Begins, will premiere on NHL Network and the NHL’s YouTube and Facebook channels on May 20 before the series drops weekly on Friday nights starting May 27, exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S. and at YouTube.com/NHL in Canada. Click here to view the trailer.
NHL CONTINUES TO CELEBRATE ASIAN & PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH
The NHL continues to celebrate Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, sharing stories of Asian players past and present from across the hockey ecosystem. To learn more, visit NHL.com/APIHeritage.
* ESPN featured Stars sensation Jason Robertson and his unique hockey journey, from a traveling RV to the NHL.
* Sportsnet featured Flames skating and development coach Danielle Fujita, one of nearly 100 women who work in Hockey Operations across the NHL.
* Kings rookie defenseman Jordan Spence was born in Australia and played hockey in Japan before moving to Canada.
* In 2007, goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji became the first player born in Japan to play in NHL. He continues to inspire the next generation.
* Yushiroh Hirano is currently showcasing his talent with the Abbotsford Canucks of the AHL.
* Canucks prospect Arshdeep Bains led the WHL in scoring before signing an entry-level contract earlier this season.
* First Round Recap – 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs
* Series Scenarios for Tuesday, May 17
* 5.9% of brackets selected all eight teams advancing to Second Round, including Wayne Gretzky’s
* Zdeno Chara, Kevin Hayes and Carey Price named Masterton Trophy finalists
* Islanders name Lane Lambert head coach; Peter DeBoer fired by Golden Knights
* Sportsnet’s coverage of 2022 First Round delivers significant viewership gains