Stanley Cup Playoffs Review – September 12, 2020
ISLANDERS SCORE LATE TO WITHSTAND LIGHTNING RALLY AND WIN 5-3
After Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson helped the Lightning erase a multi-goal, third-period deficit, Islanders forward Josh Bailey (0-2—2) factored on two goals in a span of 2:49 – including an assist on Brock Nelson’s game-winning goal with 3:25 remaining in regulation – as New York earned its first win of the 2020 Eastern Conference Final.
* The Islanders’ win Friday guaranteed the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs will not have a best-of-seven sweep through the Conference Finals. The best-of-seven format has been used in all four rounds since 1987 – this marks the fourth time over that span in which no sweeps have occurred through the opening three rounds (also 2016, 2002 and 1991).
* Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final marked the second time in as many games in which the winning goal was scored within the final four minutes of regulation (Nikita Kucherov: 59:51 in Game 2). It became the ninth playoff series to have the game-winning goal scored in the final four minutes of regulation in consecutive games and second in 2020. It has never happened in three straight postseason contests.
* Bailey’s performance also marked his seventh multi-point game of the postseason (2-17—19 in 19 GP) — the most by any Islanders player since Bob Bourne (8x) and Bryan Trottier (7x) in 1983.
* Nelson (1-1—2), who collected his first points of the Conference Finals, netted his third game-winning goal of the 2020 postseason and sits tied with Anthony Beauvillier for the team lead. Only two Islanders players have scored more in a single playoff year: Mike Bossy (5 in 1983) and Clark Gillies (4 in 1977).
* Semyon Varlamov (34 saves), who posted his highest save total of the playoff year, improved to 10-5 in 2020 and became the second goaltender in Islanders history to record 10 or more wins in a single playoff year. The other: Billy Smith (5x; 15-4 in 1980, 15-3 in 1982, 14-3 in 1981, 13-3 in 1983 and 12-8 in 1984).
ISLANDERS DEPTH PROVING PIVOTAL IN 2020
* Adam Pelech scored one of two second-period goals and helped the Islanders build a two-goal lead in the middle frame. He became the 17th different Islanders goal scorer during the 2020 postseason. There is only one playoff year in franchise history with more players tallying at least once: 1983 (18).
* Pelech also became the sixth different defenseman to score for the Islanders this playoff year – the most in a single postseason in franchise history. During the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, both the Bruins (7) and Blues (6) had as many en route to the Final.
STARS LOOK TO KEEP MOMENTUM, WHILE GOLDEN KNIGHTS HOPE TO DRAW EVEN
After Alexander Radulov scored the second-fastest goal from the start of overtime in a Conference Finals contest in Game 3, the Stars look to move within one win of the Stanley Cup Final when they clash with the Golden Knights tonight in Game 4.
* A team has rallied to win their Conference Finals series after facing a series deficit of either 2-1 or 3-2 in each of the last five postseasons. All five of those teams went on to win the Stanley Cup: St. Louis (trailing 2-1 in 2019), Washington (trailing 3-2 in 2018), Pittsburgh (trailing 2-1 in 2017 and trailing 3-2 in 2016) and Chicago (trailing 3-2 in 2015).
* Miro Heiskanen paces all defensemen in both assists and points this postseason (5-17—22 in 19 GP), which are franchise records for most by a Stars/North Stars blueliner in a playoff year. He also sits one helper shy of establishing the most in a single playoff year by a Finnish player – he would eclipse Jari Kurri (14-17—31 in 19 GP) and Esa Tikkanen (10-17—27 in 19 GP), who both had 17 with the Oilers in 1988.
* Shea Theodore has points in three of his last four games, including two goals over that span. Four of Theodore’s seven markers this postseason have been either go-ahead or tying goals (57.1%). Only 11 different defensemen in NHL history have scored five or more goals in a playoff year that either gave their team the lead or tied a game, including just three over that last 20 years: Rob Blake (5 in 2001 w/ COL), Alec Martinez (5 in 2014 w/ LAK) and Brent Burns (5 in 2016 w/ SJS).
* Teams that hold a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series own an all-time series record of 288-29 (.909), including a 10-0 mark in 2020. Additionally, since the conference format was adopted ahead of the 1981-82 season, teams that hold a 3-1 lead in the Conference Finals own an all-time series record of 34-1 (.971).
Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon Wins Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon is the 2019-20 recipient of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability,” as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
MacKinnon received votes on 132 of 170 ballots, including 64 first-place selections, in collecting 984 voting points. Second-place Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs was the first choice of 21 voters in amassing 616 points and third-place Ryan O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blues attracted 10 first-place votes and 561 total points. O’Reilly had finished second in Lady Byng voting in each of the past two seasons.
MacKinnon ranked fifth in the NHL with 35-58—93 in 69 games, 43 points more than his next-closest teammate, to lead the Avalanche into the playoffs for the third consecutive season. He also placed among the top 10 in the League in power-play points (4th; 31), assists (6th; 58), power-play goals (t-6th; 12), goals (9th; 35) and power-play assists (t-10th; 19), while topping the NHL in shots on goal (318). MacKinnon did so while registering a career-low 12 penalty minutes, the second-fewest among the League’s top 25 scorers; no other NHL forward averaged more time on ice (21:13) in 2019-20 while taking fewer penalties.
The 25-year-old Halifax, N.S., native captured the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in his first appearance as a finalist and becomes the third player in franchise history to win the award, following O’Reilly in 2013-14 and Avalanche GM Joe Sakic in 2000-01.
MacKinnon also is among the three finalists for two other individual honors, the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award. The winner for these awards will be revealed during a 30-minute program during the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. More details on that show will be shared in the coming days.