Stanley Cup Playoffs Review June 9, 2021

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Stanley Cup Playoffs Review June 9, 2021

VASILEVSKIY HAS ANOTHER SERIES-CLINCHING SHUTOUT AS LIGHTNING ADVANCE

Andrei Vasilevskiy (29 saves) recorded his third consecutive series-clinching shutout (also Game 6 of 2020 SCF & Game 6 of 2021 R1) as Tampa Bay foiled Carolina and advanced to the Stanley Cup Semifinals.

Vasilevskiy became the first goaltender in NHL history with a clinching shutout in three consecutive series. He also joined Ben Bishop (4), Marc-Andre Fleury (4), Carey Price (3) and Tuukka Rask (3) as the fifth active netminder with three or more career series-clinching shutouts.

Vasilevskiy became the first NHL goaltender to record each of his first three career playoff shutouts in potential series-clinching games. Dwayne Roloson (Game 6 of 2006 CSF & Game 7 of 2011 CQF) is the only other goaltender to have each of his first two career postseason shutouts come in series-clinching fashion.

Brayden Point scored the third series-clinching goal of his NHL career (also Game 5 of 2020 R1 & Game 6 of 2020 SCF), eclipsing Victor Hedman (2), Alex Killorn (2) and Martin St. Louis (2) for the most in franchise history. Point (8-4—12 in 11 GP) has eight goals in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, tied with Nathan MacKinnon (8-5—13 in 9 GP) for the League lead.

TAMPA BAY TO FACE NEW YORK OR BOSTON IN NEXT ROUND

The Lightning’s opponent in the Stanley Cup Semifinals will be the Islanders or Bruins. Tampa Bay eliminated both clubs during the 2020 postseason en route to claiming a championship, with reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Victor Hedman leaving his mark on each series.

The Lightning are 3-0 in three all-time postseason series against the Islanders, including a six-game victory during the 2020 Conference Finals in which Anthony Cirelli scored the clinching goal in overtime to lift Tampa Bay into the Final. The two other series were the 2004 Conference Quarterfinals and 2016 Second Round.

Hedman (8-6—14) and Nikita Kucherov (6-8—14) have 14 points apiece in 11 career playoff contests against the Islanders dating to Game 1 of the 2016 Second Round. Hedman’s eight postseason goals are the most in NHL history by a defenseman against the franchise – the only skaters with more are Mike Gartner (12), Brian Propp (11), Rick MacLeish (10), Mark Messier (10), Gilbert Perreault (10) and Steve Shutt (10).

Tampa Bay is 2-1 in three all-time playoff series against Boston, including five-game wins in the 2018 and 2020 Second Round. The Bruins ousted the Lightning in seven games during the 2011 Conference Finals en route to winning a Stanley Cup.

Last year, Hedman scored the series-clinching goal in the second overtime of Game 5 to lift Tampa Bay past Boston. He became the sixth defenseman in NHL history to score a series-clinching goal in a game which required multiple overtimes.

VEGAS RALLIES AGAIN TO EARN OVERTIME WIN, 3-2 SERIES LEAD

Alex Tuch and Jonathan Marchessault tallied goals 3:04 apart as the Golden Knights erased a 2-0 third-period deficit and Mark Stone scored just 50 seconds into overtime to complete the comeback, vaulting Vegas to a 3-2 lead in its Second Round series.

Stone scored the first playoff overtime goal of his NHL career to reach 50 career postseason points (23-27—50 in 66 GP). He has 18 playoff goals since joining the Golden Knights in 2018-19, which ranks fifth in the NHL over that span behind Brayden Point (23), Nathan MacKinnon (23), Brad Marchand (22) and David Pastrnak (19).

Vegas extended its winning streak to three games, earning each victory in come-from-behind fashion. Marchessault pulled the Golden Knights even in each contest – he became the third player in NHL history to score a tying goal in three or more consecutive games within a playoff year, joining Steve Larmer with the Blackhawks in 1989 (4 GP) and Luc Robitaille with the Kings in 1991 (3 GP).

Marc-Andre Fleury (28 saves) earned the 88th postseason win of his NHL career to move into a tie with Billy Smith and Ed Belfour for fourth place on the League’s all-time list.

Mark Stone became the fourth player to score a goal in the opening minute of an overtime period during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, following Brad Marchand (Game 2 of R1), Josh Bailey (Game 5 of R1) and Nick Suzuki (Game 5 of R1). The four goals scored in the opening minute of overtime periods are the highest such total within a single postseason in NHL history, eclipsing the three from 1980 (Yvon Lambert, Al MacAdam & Steve Vickers) and 2015 (Matt Beleskey, Brent Seabrook & John Tavares).

ISLANDERS LOOK TO LOCK UP FINAL-FOUR REMATCH VS. LIGHTNING

With the defending champion Lightning awaiting their opponent in the Stanley Cup Semifinals, the Islanders will attempt to set that matchup in stone when they host the Bruins for Game 6 at Nassau Coliseum. A New York win would set up a rematch of the 2020 Eastern Conference Final, with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final once again on the line. The same opponents have met in the final four in consecutive postseasons only once in the last 20 years – the Blackhawks and Kings battled in the Western Conference Final in both 2013 and 2014, with each team winning once.

The Islanders played three potential-series clinching games in the 2020 Second Round, eventually sealing the victory in Game 7 when veterans Brock Nelson (1-2—3) and Josh Bailey (0-2—2) combined for five points in the winner-take-all showdown against the Flyers. Nelson (7-6—13) and Bailey (2-11—13) each have 13 points in 11 career potential series-clinching games for the Islanders, tied with Duane Sutter (6-7—13 in 31 GP) for 10th place in franchise history.

Bruins forward David Pastrnak posted his second multi-goal game of the series in Game 5 and leads all players in both goals (5) and points (8) in this series. Since 1978, only two Bruins players have scored six or more goals in a single playoff series: Cam Neely in the 1991 Division Finals (7 G in 7 GP vs. MTL) and Barry Pederson in the 1983 Division Finals (7 G in 7 GP vs. BUF).

Fox, Hedman and Makar Voted Norris Trophy Finalists

Adam Fox of the New York Rangers, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche are the three finalists for the 2020-21 James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” the National Hockey League announced today.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Norris 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 Norris Trophy, in alphabetical order:

Adam Fox, New York Rangers

Playing in his second NHL season, Fox ranked among the top defensemen in assists (1st; 42), points (2nd; 47), power-play assists (2nd; 21), takeaways (3rd; 38) and power-play points (3rd; 23) across 55 contests. Fox, who also placed seventh among all skaters in total time on ice (1,358:51) while recording a +19 rating, accumulated nearly half of his points during a 12-game streak from March 17 – April 8 (3-19—22), the fourth-longest by any player in 2020-21 and second-longest by a blueliner behind only Dougie Hamilton (14 GP w/ CAR). The 23-year-old Jericho, N.Y., native is the Rangers’ first Norris Trophy finalist since 1996-97, when Brian Leetch won the award for the second time (also 1991-92 w/ NYR), and is seeking to become the fourth player in franchise history to capture the trophy, after Leetch, Harry Howell (1966-67) and Doug Harvey (1961-62).

Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

Hedman placed among the leading defensemen in points (3rd; 45), assists (t-5th; 36) and goals (t-7th; 9) through 54 appearances (0.83 P/GP), matching the second-best points-per-game rate of his 12-season NHL career (behind only 2016-17: 0.91 P/GP). Hedman, who also ranked second among all skaters (forwards and defensemen) in power-play assists (23) and sixth in power-play points (24), finished seventh in the entire NHL in average time on ice (25:03) – the second-highest rate of his career after 2017-18 (25:51). The 30-year-old Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, native – who won the Norris Trophy in 2017-18 and placed third in voting in 2016-17, 2018-19 and 2019-20 – is a finalist for the fifth consecutive season, a streak last achieved by fellow countryman Nicklas Lidstrom from 1997-98 through 2002-03 (6 straight seasons).

Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche

Makar, the reigning Calder Memorial Trophy winner, ranked sixth among defensemen with 8-36—44 (44 GP) despite missing 12 of Colorado’s 56 contests (21.4%). His average of 1.00 points per game topped all blueliners in 2020-21 and marked the second time in Avalanche/Nordiques history a defenseman has produced at such a rate, after Steve Duchesne in 1992-93 (20-62—82 in 82 GP w/ QUE). The 22-year-old Calgary native is vying to become the first Norris Trophy winner in franchise history, following top-three finishes by Rob Blake (3rd in 2001-02), Ray Bourque (2nd in 2000-01) and Sandis Ozolinsh (3rd in 1996-97). He and Fox each are seeking to become the second defenseman in League history to take home the award in his second NHL season (or earlier), after Bobby Orr accomplished the feat in 1967-68 (2nd NHL season w/ BOS).

History

The James Norris Memorial Trophy was presented in 1953 by the four children of the late James Norris in memory of the former owner-president of the Detroit Red Wings.

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