2020 Stanley Cup Finals Game 6 Preview
STARS AIM TO FORCE SEVENTH-AND-DECIDING GAME IN 2020 FINAL
Corey Perry and Joe Pavelski combined for all three Stars goals Saturday as they became the 16th team in Stanley Cup Final history to force Game 6 after trailing 3-1 in the series. Of the 15 previous teams to do so, only six reached Game 7 – a feat last achieved by the Oilers in 2006, when Jussi Markkanen had a 16-save shutout in Game 6 to blank the Hurricanes at Rexall Place in Edmonton. A look back at the six championship series to go the distance after a team held a 3-1 series lead:
1942 Stanley Cup Final
The Maple Leafs became the first team in NHL history to erase a 3-0 series deficit to win a best-of-seven, claiming victory on home ice in the first-ever Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final. Toronto trailed entering the third period of Game 7 but mounted a comeback with three unanswered goals, including two by Hall of Famer Sweeney Schriner.
1945 Stanley Cup Final
Three years after the Maple Leafs erased a 3-0 series deficit to win the Cup, the roles were reversed as Detroit posted back-to-back shutouts to force Game 7 after trailing 3-1. However, Babe Pratt’s Cup-clinching goal for Toronto in Game 7 – on the second half of a back-to-back set – thwarted Detroit’s comeback attempt
1954 Stanley Cup Final
After an overtime win in Game 5 to stay alive, Jean Beliveau and the Canadiens tied the series with a Game 6 victory at the famed Montreal Forum. The series shifted back to Detroit for Game 7, where the Red Wings won in overtime – one of 17 times in NHL history that the Cup has been won with an overtime goal.
1987 Stanley Cup Final
Ron Hextall made 61 saves over Games 5 and 6 as the Flyers claimed a pair of one-goal victories, but his 40-save effort in Game 7 wasn’t enough to win the Cup. His performance earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy — one of five times it has been won by a player on the losing team.
1994 Stanley Cup Final
Geoff Courtnall had two goals in both Game 5 and Game 6 to help the Canucks force a Game 7 with the Rangers, but Conn Smythe Trophy winner Brian Leetch (1-0—1) and captain Mark Messier (1-1–2) were too much in the decisive Game 7 as New York ended its 54-year Stanley Cup drought.
2006 Stanley Cup Final
Fernando Pisani scored in overtime of Game 5 and netted the winning goal again in Game 6 after the series shifted back to Edmonton, but rookie goaltender and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Cam Ward turned aside 22 of 23 shots in Game 7 to backstop the Hurricanes to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
VASILEVSKIY LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK AGAIN IN SECOND CRACK AT THE CUP
The Lightning, who have yet to lose consecutive games in the 2020 postseason, will get their second chance at claiming the second Cup in franchise history on Monday.
* Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has played a crucial part in Tampa Bay’s ability to rebound from a loss this postseason, with a perfect 6-0 record immediately following a defeat (1.41 GAA and .941 SV%).
* Vasilevskiy is one of only seven goaltenders to register at least six wins following a loss in a single postseason. The others: Jordan Binnington (8-2 in 2019 w/ STL), Miikka Kiprusoff (8-2 in 2004 w/ CGY), Ron Hextall (8-2 in 1987 w/ PHI), Nikolai Khabibulin (7-0 in 2004 w/ TBL), Henrik Lundqvist (6-4 in 2014 w/ NYR) and Marc-Andre Fleury (6-2 in 2009 w/ PIT).
* The only goaltender in NHL history to win each of his first seven or more games following a loss in a single playoff year is Khabibulin. He went 7-0 in that scenario in 2004 en route to winning the Stanley Cup with the Lightning (0.95 GAA, .963 SV%, 2 SO).
KUCHEROV AND POINT CONTINUE TO IGNITE LIGHTNING OFFENSE
Nikita Kucherov continues to lead the League offensively during the 2020 postseason, collecting 33 points in 24 games (7-26—33) to sit one point ahead of teammate Brayden Point (13-19—32 in 22 GP). Kucherov, with six assists in his last four games, joined elite company with his 26th assist of the postseason in Game 5.
* Point has had multiple points in Games 3, 4 and 5 of the Stanley Cup Final – a feat Kucherov accomplished during Games 2, 3 and 4. Only one player in NHL history has registered four consecutive multi-point performances within a Stanley Cup Final: Montreal’s Yvan Cournoyer (4-4—8 in 4 GP; Games 1-4 of 1973 SCF).
* Point (4-3—7) and Kucherov (1-6—7) share the series lead with seven points apiece, pacing a group of seven players who have at least five points through five games in the 2020 Final. Tyler Seguin (0-5—5) is one of three Stars on that list after posting back-to-back multi-assist games on Friday and Saturday.
* Additionally, should Seguin have another multi-assist outing Monday, he would become just the fourth player in NHL history to have three consecutive outings in the Stanley Cup Final with two or more assists. The only ones to do so: Wayne Gretzky (3 GP in 1988 w/ EDM), Guy Lafleur (3 GP in 1977 w/ MTL) and Harry Mummery (3 GP in 1918 w/ TAN).
WHILE DEFENSEMEN HEISKANEN, KLINGBERG FOLLOW SUIT WITH THE STARS
Miro Heiskanen (0-1—1) and John Klingberg (0-1—1) factored on Dallas’ tying and winning goals in Game 5, respectively, and continued to showcase the team’s ability to produce offense from its defense in 2020.
* Klingberg has recorded eight points over his last seven games (1-7—8) and 21 in 25 contests this postseason (4-17—21). Dallas defensemen have accounted for 67 points in the 2020 postseason (17-50—67 in 26 GP) – the second-most for any team in a single playoff year behind the 1985 Oilers (19-58—77 in 18 GP).
* Heiskanen has found the score sheet in each of his last three games, including the primary assist on Saturday’s tying goal to boost his 2020 totals to 6-20—26 in 26 games. The 21-year-old blueliner joined Hockey Hall of Fame members Paul Coffey (25 in 1985 w/ EDM), Al MacInnis (24 in 1989 w/ CGY) and Brian Leetch (23 in 1994 w/ NYR) as the fourth defenseman in NHL history with at least 20 assists in a single playoff year.