Stanley Cup Playoffs Review – September 10, 2020
KUCHEROV, LIGHTNING SHOCK ISLANDERS IN THE DYING SECONDS AND PULL OUT 2-1 WIN
After the teams traded goals in the first period, Nikita Kucherov broke the deadlock with nine seconds remaining in regulation as the Lightning shocked the Islanders and stole Game 2. Tampa Bay, which owns a 2-0 lead in the Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history, are 5-0 all-time when leading 2-0 in a best-of-seven series.
* Kucherov’s tally marked the second-latest game-winning goal in regulation in Lightning postseason history, behind only Tyler Johnson (59:58: Game 3 of 2015 R2 vs. MTL). Additionally, only two players in NHL history have scored a later game-winning goal in regulation during a Conference Finals / Semifinals contest.
* Kucherov, with his seventh career game-winning goal in the postseason (all w/ TBL), boosted his career totals in Conference Finals games to 8-18—26 (23 GP) – tied with Jonathan Toews (13-13—26 in 28 GP) and Evgeni Malkin (12-14—26 in 27 GP) for the second-most among active players. The only skater with more: Patrick Kane (10-19—29 in 28 GP).
* Victor Hedman tied the game with 1:35 remaining in the first period and extended his goal streak to four games (4-3—7 in 4 GP). Only one defenseman in NHL history has had a longer goal streak in the postseason: Paul Coffey (5 GP in 1983). Of note, Dustin Byfuglien, who played the majority of his career as a defenseman, also had a goal streak of five contests with Chicago in 2010 but played each of those games as a forward.
* Tampa Bay, which posted its sixth consecutive victory and sit two games shy of the longest such run in franchise history (8-0-0 in 2011 & 8-0-0 in 2004), recorded its fourth comeback win of the 2020 postseason. The only team with more: Dallas (6).
Matt Martin opened the scoring in the first period and ended the Lightning’s stretch of either leading or being tied at 304:46. Tampa Bay, which trailed for the first time since Game 2 of the Second Round vs. Boston, posted the longest duration of time without trailing in a single postseason in franchise history and the fifth-longest during the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the last 10 years. The longer instances: Boston (423:39 in 2013), Los Angeles (364:05 in 2012), Montreal (318:48 in 2014) and Pittsburgh (314:53 in 2016).
GOLDEN KNIGHTS, STARS EYE SERIES EDGE WITH GAME 3 ON THE HORIZON
The Stars and Golden Knights, who earned shutout wins in Game 1 and 2 respectively, eye an edge in the Western Conference Final when the two square off in Game 3.
* Since the conference format was adopted ahead of the 1981-82 season, teams that take a 2-1 lead in the Conference Finals own a series record of 44-11 (.800); when a Conference Finals series is tied 1-1, the winner of Game 3 holds an all-time series record of 32-9 (.780).
* Dallas (1-0 W in Game 1) and Vegas (3-0 W in Game 2) have traded shutouts through two games. Only 11 series in NHL history have featured three straight shutouts at any point (for either team), including five that began that way: 2002 Conference Quarterfinals (OTT vs. PHI; Games 1-4), 2004 Conference Quarterfinals (TBL vs. NYI; Games 1-4), 1935 Semifinals (TOR vs. BOS; Games 1-3), 1945 Stanley Cup Final (TOR vs. DET; Games 1-3) and 2003 Conference Finals (ANA vs. MIN; Games 1-3).
* Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner leads the NHL with four shutouts this postseason (13 GP) after only posting four shutouts in an entire regular season once in his career. In 2018-19, Lehner posted six shutouts in his lone campaign with the Islanders, one shy of the single-season franchise record, to share the William M. Jennings Trophy with teammate Thomas Greiss – outdueling the Stars tandem of Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin, who finished as runners-up.
* Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen (5-16—21 in 18 GP), without points in consecutive games for the first time this postseason, sits one point shy of matching Oilers blueliner Paul Coffey in 1984 (8-14–22 in 19 GP) for the tenth-most points by a defenseman in a single playoff year in NHL history.
Bruins’ Bruce Cassidy Wins Jack Adams Award
Bruce Cassidy of the Boston Bruins is the 2019-20 recipient of the Jack Adams Award as “the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success,” as selected by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association.
Cassidy was named on 82 of the 132 ballots, including 37 first-place votes, for 288 voting points to top a competitive three-way race. Second-place Alain Vigneault of the Philadelphia Flyers received 32 first-place votes and 252 voting points, while third-place John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets was the top selection on 28 ballots in collecting 198 points.
Under Cassidy, the Bruins (44-14-12 in 70 GP) topped the NHL in both points (100) and points percentage (.714) to claim the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s best club during the regular season. Boston posted a League-best 44 wins, including 22 victories as both hosts (22-4-9) and visitors (22-10-3). The Bruins, who reached the 40-win milestone for the seventh consecutive season, also posted an NHL-best +53 goal differential while ranking in the top three in both power play (2nd; 25.2%) and penalty kill (3rd; 84.3%) efficiency.
A Jack Adams finalist for the second time in three years, Cassidy claimed the award for the first time after finishing second to Gerard Gallant (Vegas) in 2017-18. Cassidy is the fourth Bruins coach to capture Jack Adams honors, following Don Cherry (1975-76), Pat Burns (1997-98) and Claude Julien (2008-09).