Stanley Cup Playoffs Review June 1, 2021
CANADIENS WIN TWICE-IN-A-CENTURY GAME 7 AGAINST RIVAL MAPLE LEAFS
The Canadiens are off to the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2015 after Carey Price made 30 saves and Corey Perry scored the series-clinching goal to complete the club’s comeback with a 3-1, Game 7 victory against the rival Maple Leafs. Montreal’s victory came in front of the first crowd in Toronto in more than a year, as 550 fully vaccinated health care workers attended the second all-time Game 7 between the century-old rivals.
Price has allowed one goal or fewer in three of his four Game 7 appearances, winning each (3-1, 1.47 GAA, .950 SV%, 1 SO). He tied Ken Dryden (3-0) for the most Game 7 victories in franchise history.
Montreal’s victory marked the 30th time in Stanley Cup Playoffs history that a team won a best-of-seven series after trailing 3-1. It was the third such victory for the Canadiens (also 2004 CQF vs. BOS and 2010 CQF vs. WSH) – only the Canucks have rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to win as many best-of-seven series (1992 DSF, 1994 CQF and 2003 CQF).
Perry, one of six Stanley Cup winners acquired by the Canadiens before or during the 2020-21 campaign, boosted his career totals in Game 7s to 4-2—6 (9 GP) and now trails only Patrice Bergeron (6 G in 12 GP) and Paul Stastny (5 G in 6 GP) for the most career goals in Game 7s among active players.
CANADIENS SET UP SERIES WITH JETS, FIXED BRACKET THE REST OF THE WAY
The Canadiens will face the Jets in the Second Round, with Game 1 slated for Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg. This will mark the first-ever playoff series between the Montreal and Winnipeg franchises. The Canadiens and original Jets also never met in the postseason.
After being the last team to clinch a spot in the postseason, Montreal became the last to enter the Second Round, completing a bracket that is underway in the other three divisions. Montreal’s victory guarantees a fixed bracket for the remainder of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, regardless of the results in the Second Round. The team that emerges from the Scotia North Division will face the Honda West Division winner (Colorado or Vegas) in the Stanley Cup Semifinals, while their counterparts from the MassMutual East Division (Boston or NY Islanders) and Discover Central Division (Carolina or Tampa Bay) clash.
GAME 7 TRENDS
Eric Staal (0-2—2) and Joel Edmundson each improved to 5-0 in career Game 7s, following defensemen Alec Martinez and Alex Pietrangelo who also did so last week with the Golden Knights. They are among a group of 10 active players who have won each of their first five career Game 7s, joining Anton Stralman (7-0), Ryan McDonagh (6-0), Carl Hagelin (6-0), Derek Stepan (6-0), Chris Kreider (5-0) and Jeff Carter (5-0).
The team that scores first improved to 137-46 (.749) in the 183 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (2-0 in 2021).
Road teams moved to 77-106 (.421) in the 183 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (1-1 in 2021).
BRUINS RALLY BUT CIZIKAS LIFTS ISLANDERS TO SPLIT IN BOSTON
The Islanders scored three straight goals in the second period, but Bruins forwards Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each scored in the last 10 minutes of regulation to force the first overtime game between the clubs in more than 40 years. In the extra frame, Casey Cizikas scored his first career playoff overtime goal as New York evened the series at 1-1.
The Islanders played their 60th all-time postseason overtime game, improving to 39-21 in those contests for a .650 winning percentage – trailing only the Lightning (.667; 22-11 in 33 GP) and Jets (.667; 4-2 in 6 GP) for the highest in League history.
After the First Round concluded with 16 overtime games – tied for the third-most in a single round in NHL history (18 in 2017 R1, 17 in 2013 CQF and 16 in 2012 CQF) – the Islanders won the first such contests of the Second Round. Overall, there have been 17 overtime games this postseason totaling 22 periods and 243:11 of action.
DISCOVER CENTRAL DIVISION TAKES SPOTLIGHT TONIGHT
The lone Stanley Cup Playoffs game tonight will see the host Hurricanes aiming to tie their Second Round series against the Lightning. Carolina has contested five consecutive one-goal games – including four straight decided in overtime to end the First Round – tied for the longest such run in franchise history (also Games 2-6 of 2006 CQF vs. MTL). Tampa Bay, meanwhile, will look to take a 2-0 lead for the second straight series to start the postseason – something achieved by only one of the past 19 defending Stanley Cup champions (Pittsburgh did so in 2017 en route to a second straight title).
Golden Knights’ Reaves Suspended Two Games
Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves has been suspended for two games as a result of his actions against Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves that resulted in a match penalty during Game 1 of the teams’ Second Round series in Colorado on Sunday, May 30, 2021. The incident occurred at 8:04 of the third period.
Video gives a full explanation of the decision.
Bruins’ DeBrusk Fined for Cross-Checking
Boston Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for cross-checking New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield during Game 2 of the teams’ Second Round series in Boston on Monday, May 31, 2021. The incident occurred at 13:04 of the third period. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Fleury, Grubauer and Vasilevskiy Voted Vezina Trophy Finalists
NMarc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights, Philipp Grubauer of the Colorado Avalanche and Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for the 2020-21 Vezina Trophy, awarded “to the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position,” the National Hockey League announced today.
NHL general managers submitted ballots for the Vezina Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winners of the 2021 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone will be revealed during the Stanley Cup Semifinals and Stanley Cup Final, with exact dates, format and times to be announced.
Following are the finalists for the Vezina Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights
Fleury, who combined with Robin Lehner to capture the William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltenders on the team that allowed the fewest goals during the regular season, ranked third in the NHL in wins (26), goals-against average (1.98), save percentage (.928) and shutouts (6) in 36 appearances. Fleury – who closed the season on a nine-game winning streak (April 11 – May 12: 1.43 GAA, .943 SV%, 2 SO) – climbed two spots into third place on the League’s all-time wins list (492), surpassing Ed Belfour (5th; 484) and Roberto Luongo (4th; 489). He also moved into a tie, with Roy Worters, for 14th place on the NHL’s all-time shutout list (67). The 36-year-old Sorel, Que., native – who yielded two or fewer goals in 25 of his 36 outings (69.4%) en route to posting the best goals-against average and save percentage of his 17-season NHL career – is a Vezina Trophy finalist for the first time. He is seeking to become the first player in Golden Knights history to win the award, following the four individual trophies the team claimed during its inaugural season in 2017-18.
Philipp Grubauer, Colorado Avalanche
Grubauer, another first-time finalist, shared the League lead with a career-high seven shutouts and ranked second in both wins (30) and goals-against average (1.95) – also personal bests – to help the Avalanche capture the Presidents’ Trophy for the third time in franchise history. He earned victories in 30 of his 40 total appearances (.750), the second-highest winning percentage among goaltenders with a minimum of five games played in 2020-21, behind only Jack Campbell (.773 in 22 GP w/ TOR). Grubauer – who also placed among the League leaders in starts (5th; 39), time on ice (5th; 2,366:52) and save percentage (8th; .922) – is the third netminder in Avalanche/Nordiques history who has been voted a Vezina Trophy finalist (following Patrick Roy: 2x and Semyon Varlamov) and is vying to become the franchise’s first player to win the award. The 29-year-old Rosenheim, Germany, native also is looking to become the second goaltender of German nationality to win the Vezina Trophy, after Olie Kolzig in 1999-00 (w/ WSH).
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
Vasilevskiy topped the NHL with 31 victories, marking the fourth consecutive season he has led the League in wins (outright or tied) – a feat last achieved by Martin Brodeur from 2002-03 through 2006-07 (4x w/ NJD). That total was aided by a 12-game winning streak from Feb. 22 – March 23 (1.64 GAA, .938 SV%, 3 SO), tied for the seventh-longest such run in NHL history in addition to being both a career high and a franchise record. Vasilevskiy – who established and matched single-season personal bests for goals-against average and save percentage, respectively – also ranked among the top goaltenders in points (t-1st; 4), saves (2nd; 1,144), time on ice (2nd; 2,523:37), games played (t-3rd; 42), shutouts (4th; 5), save percentage (6th; .925) and goals-against average (8th; 2.21). The 26-year-old Tyumen, Russia, native – who won the Vezina Trophy in 2018-19 and finished third in voting in both 2017-18 and 2019-20 – is a finalist for the fourth straight year, a streak last accomplished by Brodeur from 2002-03 through 2007-08 (5x).
Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau and Joe Cattarinich, former owners of the Montreal Canadiens, presented the trophy to the NHL in 1926-27 in memory of Georges Vezina, the outstanding Canadiens goaltender who collapsed during an NHL game on Nov. 28, 1925, and died of tuberculosis a few months later. Before the 1981-82 season, the goaltender(s) of the team allowing the fewest number of goals during the regular season was awarded the Vezina Trophy.