Stanley Cup Playoffs Review June 8, 2021

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Stanley Cup Playoffs Review June 8, 2021

CANADIENS SWEEP JETS, CLINCH BERTH IN STANLEY CUP SEMIFINALS

The Canadiens pulled ahead 2-0 in the first period, but two goals by Jets defenseman Logan Stanley evened the score before the midway point of the game, setting the stage for the 3-2 overtime winner by Tyler Toffoli which propelled Montreal into the Stanley Cup Semifinals.

Montreal completed the sweep of Winnipeg without ever trailing and have not been behind in a game over the course of their active seven-game winning streak. Their active stretch of 437:53 without trailing stands as the second-longest such run in Stanley Cup Playoffs history, behind the benchmark of 488:38 set by the 1960 Canadiens when they won their NHL-record fifth consecutive championship.

After being the last to clinch a playoff spot and last to make it through the First Round, the Canadiens became the first to clinch a spot in the final four. Montreal completed the 23rd best-of-seven sweep in franchise history, doing so after claiming a Game 7 victory against Toronto on May 31.

The Canadiens, who swept a playoff series for the first time since the 2014 First Round (vs. TBL), became the third team in NHL history to sweep a playoff round after overcoming a 3-1 deficit in its previous series, following Edmonton in the 1990 Division Finals and Tampa Bay in the 2011 Conference Semifinals.

The Canadiens carry a seven-game winning streak into the Stanley Cup Semifinals dating to Game 5 of the First Round, the club’s longest in a playoff year since a franchise-record 11-game run en route to a championship in 1993.

CANADIENS TO FACE AVALANCHE OR GOLDEN KNIGHTS IN NEXT ROUND

Montreal will face one of the top-two teams from the 2020-21 regular-season in the next round – either Presidents’ Trophy-winning Colorado or second-ranked Vegas.

Montreal has never faced Colorado in a playoff round since the franchise relocated to Denver, but the Canadiens and Nordiques went head-to-head in five postseason series in the rivalry known as “The Battle of Quebec” (1982 DSF, 1984 DF, 1985 DF, 1987 DF & 1993 DSF). Montreal held a 3-2 series edge against its provincial rival, including a six-game triumph over Joe Sakic and the Nordiques during the 1993 Division Semifinals en route to winning its most-recent Stanley Cup.

A matchup against Vegas would be a franchise-first for Montreal and the 29th different postseason opponent for the franchise since 1918 (including matchups against four non-NHL clubs). Nick Suzuki, who assisted on each of Montreal’s two series-clinching goals this postseason, was a first-round pick by Vegas in the 2017 NHL Draft (13th overall). On Sept. 10, 2018, Suzuki was traded with Tomas Tatar to Montreal for Max Pacioretty, who played for the Canadiens in each of his first 10 NHL seasons (2008-09–2017-18) including three in which he served as team captain (2015-16–2017-18).

ISLANDERS RALLY AGAIN, HEAD HOME WITH 3-2 SERIES LEAD

After allowing a David Pastrnak goal just 85 seconds after the opening faceoff, the Islanders responded with five of the next six goals to claim a 3-2 lead in their series against the Bruins. Mathew Barzal (1-1—2) tied the game with 71 seconds left in the first period, extending his goal streak to three games and helping New York claim yet another comeback win.

The Islanders have trailed by at least one goal in each of their five victories since Game 5 of the First Round against the Penguins.

The Islanders will return home to Nassau Coliseum – where they have clinched 13 series – with a chance to reach the final four in consecutive seasons for the first time since a run of six straight years from 1979 to 1984.

Barzal was one of five Islanders with multiple points as they won a playoff game despite being outshot 44-19. It was the third time that New York claimed a playoff victory with a shot differential of minus-25 or higher.

Kyle Palmieri scored his team-leading sixth goal of the postseason, marking the second straight year that the Islanders have had an in-season acquisition score as many goals in the ensuing playoffs.

DEFENDING CHAMPS LOOK TO JOIN MONTREAL IN STANLEY CUP SEMIFINALS

The defending champion Lightning will look to join the Canadiens in the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals when they visit the Hurricanes tonight, opening a two-game slate that will also see the Golden Knights and Avalanche battle for a 3-2 edge in their series.

The Lightning have won five of eight potential series-clinching games since the start of their Cup run last year, with Brayden Point leading the charge with 3-6—9 (including two GWG) despite playing in only seven of those contests. Tampa Bay can become the fifth defending Stanley Cup champion in the last 18 years to reach the final four.

One of the top two teams from the 2020-21 regular season will be a win away from the Stanley Cup Semifinals after tonight as the Avalanche put their 13-game home winning streak (including regular season) on the line against the Golden Knights. Of the 16 series in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) between the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked teams, 12 have required at least six games – including each of the seven most recent matchups.

Bruins’ Cassidy Fined $25,000

Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has been fined $25,000 for public comments critical of the officiating following Game 5 of the Second Round series against the New York Islanders Monday night in Boston. The fine money goes to the NHL Foundation.

Bruins’ Ritchie Fined for Elbowing

Boston Bruins forward Nick Ritchie has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for elbowing New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield during Game 5 of the teams’ Second Round series in Boston on Monday, June 7, 2021. The incident occurred at 13:57 of the first period. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

NHLPA and NHL Statement on Nazem Kadri Suspension

The National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association announced today that Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri’s eight-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk has been upheld by Arbitrator Shyam Das. Pursuant to this ruling, Game 6 of Colorado’s Second Round series against the Vegas Golden Knights will mark the last game of Kadri’s eight-game suspension after which he will be eligible to return.

Dumba, Lindblom and Marleau Voted Masterton Trophy Finalists

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, Philadelphia Flyers left wing Oskar Lindblom and San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau are the three finalists for the 2020‑21 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey,” the National Hockey League announced today.

The local chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) submitted nominations for the Masterton Trophy after the conclusion of the regular season and the top three vote-getters were 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 Masterton Trophy, in alphabetical order:

Matt Dumba, D, Minnesota Wild

Dumba received the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2019-20 as he contributed his time, money and efforts to a number of community initiatives, co-founded the Hockey Diversity Alliance, and spoke out against racism and intolerance in hockey. Amidst backlash and online hate directed his way, Dumba has continued the work in 2020-21, hosting the inaugural Matt Dumba Hockey Without Limits Camp in February as part of Hockey Day Minnesota 2021. “I have a platform to make a change and make a difference. It’d be a shame if I let that go to waste,” Dumba told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I think anyone that you talk to and who’s been there on the ground supporting these kids and hearing their stories, I think that they would say the same. The smiles, the hope, just the energy that we’re cultivating here is starting to change here in Minnesota, but I hope it’s across North America and eventually the world.”

Oskar Lindblom, LW, Philadelphia Flyers

Lindblom is a Masterton finalist for the second consecutive year. In December of 2019, he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, and started treatment that sidelined him for the remainder of the regular season. The hockey world celebrated on July 2, 2020, when Lindblom rang a ceremonial bell to signify the end of his treatments and again when he returned to the Flyers’ lineup for two games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs in September. An inspiration to teammates and opponents alike, Lindblom regained his regular place in the Flyers lineup in 2020-21, playing in 50 of 56 games, and was again declared cancer-free following a scan in March. “It goes up and down every day,” Lindblom said. “You can feel great one day, another day you feel like you haven’t played hockey for a while. You just have to battle through, try to be strong mentally and do your work every day and hopefully feel good.”

Patrick Marleau, C, San Jose Sharks

Marleau celebrated a pair of historic achievements in 2020-21, overtaking Gordie Howe for the most regular-season games in NHL history and later becoming the fourth player to skate in 900 consecutive contests. Marleau, 41, dethroned Howe when he stepped onto the ice for his 1,768th career game April 19 at Vegas. Marleau finished his 23rd NHL season 23rd in League history in career goals (566) and 50th in career points (1,197). “To earn a precious spot in an NHL lineup night after night, year after year, you have to earn it every single game,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a tribute recognizing Marleau’s historic feat. “You have to possess talent that is extremely elite. An incredible passion for the game. A relentless drive to stay in shape and remain impactful by continuously improving and adapting your skills so that coaches simply cannot take you out of the lineup.”

Bill Masterton Memorial Scholarship Fund

A $2,500 grant from the PHWA is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minn., in the name of the Masterton Trophy winner.

History

The trophy was presented by the NHL Writers’ Association in 1968 to commemorate the late Bill Masterton, a player with the Minnesota North Stars who exhibited to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey and who died on Jan. 15, 1968.

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