Stanley Cup Playoffs Review – September 14, 2020
POINT, KUCHEROV, PALAT LEAD LIGHTNING TO 4-1 WIN
The line of Brayden Point (1-1—2), Nikita Kucherov (0-2—2) and Ondrej Palat (1-1—2) combined for 2-4—6 as the Lightning scored four unanswered goals – including two in a span of 12 seconds – to defeat the Islanders and move within one win of reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in franchise history (also 2004 & 2015).
* Tampa Bay owns a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series for the ninth time in franchise history. The Lightning went 8-0 in the eight previous series, including seven instances where the clinching win was earned in Game 5.
* Point (9-16—25 in 16 GP) and Kucherov (6-19—25 in 17 GP) lead the Lightning with 25 points apiece this postseason, while Palat (8-5—13 in 17 GP) owns a share of the third-most. Point and Kucherov moved into a tie with Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon (9-16—25 in 15 GP) for the most points among all players this postseason.
* Point and Kucherov need one point to match the franchise record for most in a playoff year, a mark set by Brad Richards (12-14—26 in 23 GP) during Tampa Bay’s run to the Stanley Cup in 2004.
* Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has started in all 17 games contested by the Lightning this postseason and has yet to be relieved, made 26 saves to improve to 13-4 with a 1.93 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. His record includes a 4-0 mark in the game immediately following a loss.
LIGHTNING, ISLANDERS COMBINE FOR THREE GOALS IN 27-SECOND SPAN
New York forward Brock Nelson opened the scoring at 11:27 of the second period, but Lightning forward Blake Coleman pulled Tampa Bay even 15 seconds later and teammate Ondrej Palat (1-1—2) gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead just 12 seconds after they tied the game. The three tallies in a span of 27 seconds were tied for the third-fastest three goals in NHL history by both teams in a postseason game.
* Tampa Bay’s two tallies in a span of 12 seconds are a franchise record for fastest two goals in a postseason game. They eclipsed the previous mark of 15 seconds set in Game 3 of the 2020 Second Round versus the Bruins (7-1 W).
STARS LOOK TO CLINCH FRANCHISE’S FIFTH STANLEY CUP FINAL BERTH
The Stars look to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the fifth time in franchise history when they face the Golden Knights in Game 5 of their Western Conference Final series.
* The Minnesota North Stars reached the Stanley Cup Final twice (1981 & 1991) and the Stars have clinched two berths in the championship series since relocating to Texas ahead of the 1993-94 season (1999 & 2000). Dallas won the Stanley Cup in 1999, with Brett Hull scoring the clinching goal in the third overtime of Game 6 to lift the Stars past the Sabres.
* Roman Lyashenko had the winning goal at 5:31 of the second period in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Final to power Dallas to its most-recent appearance in the championship round. Mike Keane (Game 7 of 1999 CF), Bobby Smith (Game 5 of 1991 CF) and Brad Palmer (Game 6 of 1981 SF) account for the franchise’s three other series-clinching goals in the Conference Finals/Semifinals.
* Vegas aims to become the second team to win a Conference Finals after facing a 3-1 series deficit. The only club to do so since the conference format was adopted ahead of the 1981-82 season was the Devils, who accomplished the feat against the Flyers in the 2000 Eastern Conference Final.
* Peter DeBoer of the Golden Knights is 11-5 in 16 career games as an NHL head coach when facing elimination (.688 W%). Only six head coaches in League history own a higher career win percentage in potential elimination games.
Flames’ Mark Giordano Wins Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award
Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano is the 2019-20 recipient of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, which is presented “to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season and who plays a leading role in his community growing the game of hockey.”
Messier solicits suggestions from team and League personnel to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the winner is Messier’s alone.
The 2019-20 season was Giordano’s 14th in the NHL. Leading his team to a Stanley Cup Playoffs berth, Giordano recorded 31 points during the regular season and appeared in all 10 Flames postseason games.
Away from the rink, the Flames captain continued to make an impact in the local community and beyond. Giordano was the 2017 winner of the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, given to an athlete whose continuous, demonstrated leadership has created a measured positive impact on their community through sports. He received this recognition for his efforts with Habitat for Humanity and in 2014 launched “Team Giordano,” to promote improved physical fitness and academics, as well as leadership development, at high-needs schools in the area. His commitment to these schools included a ball hockey/sport court, floor hockey equipment, school supplies and new computers along with student mentorship opportunities. This initiative has raised $500,000, impacting the lives of over 11,000 students. Giordano also participates in other community endeavors, including the team’s literacy program, the You Can Play Project and is an ambassador for inclusion, access and development of hockey through Calgary Flames Foundation programming.
The 36-year-old Toronto native has captured his third NHL trophy, adding to the NHL Foundation Player Award for outstanding charitable work and community service (2015-16) and the Norris Trophy (2018-19) as the League’s top defenseman. His Norris-winning campaign included career highs in both assists and points (17-57–74 in 78 GP) and a career-best +39 rating in leading the Flames to their first conference title since 1989-90.