Stanley Cup Playoffs Review June 2, 2021
LIGHTNING TAKE 2-0 SERIES LEAD BACK TO AMALIE ARENA
Victor Hedman assisted on the game-winning goal and Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded 31 saves on the night he was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 and took a 2-0 series lead for the second time in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The last defending Stanley Cup champion to lead 2-0 in each of their first two series went on to repeat (PIT: 2017)
Vasilevskiy (2.23 GAA, .939 SV%, 1 SO in 2021), a finalist for the Vezina Trophy for the fourth straight year, became the third Lightning goaltender to allow one or fewer goals in three straight playoff contests. The others: Ben Bishop (3 GP in 2016) and Nikolai Khabibulin (3 GP in 2003).
The Lightning improved to 32-1-0 when leading after two periods in 2020-21, regular season and playoffs combined (26-0-0: regular season & 6-1: playoffs). Colorado (35-1-0) is the only team with more wins than Tampa Bay in that scenario (31-1-0: regular season & 4-0: playoffs).
Tuesday’s contest also marked Tampa Bay’s 34th playoff win by a one-goal margin since the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs – tied with Washington for the most among all teams over that span. Chicago (33) is the only other team with at least 30.
The Hurricanes and Lightning contested the 50th game of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, with 25 won by the road team. The 2021 postseason marks the 13th in NHL history to feature the road team having won at least 50 percent of the first 50 games of a playoff year; a trend that has become a commonality within the last decade (2018: 25, 2017: 28, 2016: 27, 2012: 30 & 2011: 26).
NHL, NHLPA CELEBRATE PRIDE MONTH
This June, the NHL and NHLPA are celebrating Pride Month as part of their joint Hockey Is For Everyone year-round initiative. The focus of this year’s initiative will be ‘Why Pride Matters,’ with people from across the hockey community sharing personal stories on the importance of fostering a welcoming environment in the locker room, front office and in the stands. These stories will be shared across the League’s social and digital platforms throughout the month. Visit NHL.com/Pride for more.
AVALANCHE EYE SIXTH STRAIGHT WIN AND 2-0 SERIES LEAD
While Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche are set to contest Game 2 of their Second Round series against the Golden Knights, the Canadiens – fresh off their Game 7 victory over the Maple Leafs – are set to open their series with the Jets at Bell MTS Place.
Colorado swept its First Round series with St. Louis and benefited from a seven-goal outburst on May 30 to take Game 1 against Vegas. The Avalanche can become just the third Presidents’ Trophy winner (since 1985-86) to record a win streak of six or more games to start the ensuing postseason, joining the Rangers (7 GP in 1994) and Stars (6 GP in 1999).
William Karlsson has played a pivotal role in helping the Golden Knights even a best-of-seven series after dropping Game 1. Karlsson, one of four players with 15 playoff goals for the franchise, is the only player to find the score sheet for the Golden Knights in every Game 2 following a series-opening loss – including the 2021 First Round (2-2—4 in 4 GP).
JETS AND CANADIENS PRIMED FOR FIRST-EVER PLAYOFF MEETINGS
The Jets will host the Canadiens for Game 1 of the Second Round with 500 fully-vaccinated healthcare workers in attendance at Bell MTS Place tonight – their first-ever meeting in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Winnipeg, coming off the first series sweep in franchise history, enters Game 1 with its sights set on joining Colorado as the second team to win each of its first five games of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Only five playoff years since 1981 have featured multiple teams each record postseason-opening win streaks of five games: 2009 (BOS, DET & VAN), 1999 (DET & DAL), 1989 (MTL & PIT), 1985 (EDM & PHI) and 1981 (MNS & NYI).
Carey Price will look to build on his success from the First Round against the Maple Leafs, where he won three straight games to end the series (Games 5-7: 1.83 GAA, .945 SV%) – tied for the second-longest postseason win streak of his career (also 3 GP in 2015). He is the only Canadiens goaltender in the last 25 years with a playoff win streak of at least four games (5 GP in 2014).