Stanley Cup Playoffs Review – September 13, 2020
STARS STIFLE GOLDEN KNIGHTS IN 2-1 WIN, MOVE WITHIN ONE OF STANLEY CUP FINAL
Jamie Benn and Joe Pavelski each scored, while Anton Khudobin turned aside 32 of 33 shots as the Stars stifled the Golden Knights in Game 4. Dallas, which has taken a 3-1 series lead for the second time during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, has allowed just six goals in four games against Vegas in the Conference Finals after surrendering 15 goals through four games during the Second Round versus Colorado.
* Since the conference format was adopted ahead of the 1981-82 season, teams that hold a 3-1 lead in the Conference Finals own a series record of 34-1 (.971).
* Khudobin improved to 7-1 when making at least 30 saves in a game this postseason. Only one other goaltender in 2020 has earned at least five wins in that scenario: Jacob Markstrom (5-3 w/ VAN).
* The Dallas netminder also eclipsed 500 saves in the 2020 postseason with his 32-save outing in Game 4 (527). His 527 saves are the third-most by a Stars/North Stars goaltender in a single playoff year, behind Ed Belfour (606 in 2000 and 574 in 1999).
* Benn has recorded a point on each of the Stars’ game-winning goals against the Golden Knights. Should he record a point on their series-clinching goal, he would become only the fourth player to do so on all four game-winning goals within a Conference Finals series. The others: Kings forward Wayne Gretzky (1993 vs TOR), Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque (1988 vs NJD) and Islanders forward Mike Bossy (1983 vs BOS).
* Pavelski’s tally marked his 57th career playoff goal. Among players drafted in the 7th round or later, only Doug Gilmour (60 in 182 GP) and Luc Robitaille (58 in 159 GP) have more. Additionally, only Joe Mullen (60) and Mike Modano (58) have more among U.S.-born players in NHL history.
ISLANDERS, LIGHTNING READY FOR PIVOTAL GAME 4
The Islanders look for their second win in as many games when the puck drops for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final today. Meanwhile, the Lightning have their sights set on a commanding 3-1 series and moving within one win of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.
* Since the conference format was adopted ahead of the 1981-82 season, teams that hold a 3-1 lead in the Conference Finals own a series record of 34-1 (.971). When the Conference Finals is tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 holds a series record of 20-8.
* Lou Lamoriello is no stranger to series deficits in the Conference Finals. He guided New Jersey to a 5-2 series record in the Conference Finals as general manager of the team from Sept. 10, 1987 – May 4, 2015, including wins in each of its last five appearances. The Devils overcame a series deficit in three of their five Conference Finals wins with Lamoriello at the helm, rallying from 3-1 to defeat the Flyers in 2000, 1-0 to defeat the Senators in 2003 as well as 1-0 and 2-1 to defeat the Rangers in 2012.
* Should the Islanders rally and defeat the Lightning, New York can become the ninth team in NHL history – and fourth in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) – to overcome a multi-game deficit to win a Conference Finals/Semifinals series. The previous two instances – the Devils (2000) and Penguins (1991) – each went on to win the Stanley Cup.
* Without captain Steven Stamkos throughout the duration of the 2020 postseason, Nikita Kucherov (6-17—23 in 16 GP) co-leads the Lightning in scoring. Kucherov, with points in three straight games and 4-13—17 over his last 10 contests, trails only two players for the most in a single playoff year by a Lightning player. Only Brad Richards (12-14—26) and Martin St. Louis (9-15—24) recorded more, both doing so in 2004 en route to capturing the franchise’s first and only Stanley Cup.
Islanders’ Lou Lamoriello Wins Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award
Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders is the 2019-20 recipient of the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award. Voting for this honor was conducted among NHL Club General Managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media at the conclusion of the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Lamoriello was named on 24 of 40 ballots, including a leading 11 first-place selections, for 86 voting points to top a close four-way race. Julien BriseBois of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Jim Nill of the Dallas Stars both received eight first-place votes in collecting 71 and 61 points for second and third place, respectively. They narrowly edged fourth-place Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche (five first-place votes, 60 points).
The Islanders have continued their upward trajectory in the second season under Lamoriello, who joined the team as President of Hockey Operations in May 2018 and was named GM the following month. After last season’s gains, which included a 23-point improvement, the League’s top defensive record and a playoff series win under new head coach Barry Trotz, the Islanders have built on that success this season by advancing to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in 27 years. Lamoriello signed free agent goaltender Semyon Varlamov and forward Derick Brassard last summer, as well as re-signing several core forwards including captain Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson. He later acquired defenseman Andy Greene and forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau in February prior to the trade deadline.
A three-time Stanley Cup champion and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee in the Builders Category in 2009, Lamoriello is in his 32nd season as an NHL general manager. He has claimed Jim Gregory honors in his first year as a finalist and is the first Islanders GM so recognized.
The NHL General Manager of the Year Award was first presented in 2009-10. It was renamed in 2019-20 in honor of Jim Gregory, the 2007 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee who served as Toronto Maple Leafs general manager and a League executive for four decades.