Stanley Cup Playoffs Review – September 2, 2020
DEMKO SHINES IN FIRST CAREER PLAYOFF START AS CANUCKS WIN 2-1 AND FORCE GAME 6
J.T. Miller (0-2—2) factored on both Vancouver goals and Thatcher Demko turned aside 42 of 43 shots in his first career playoff start as the Canucks edged the Golden Knights to stave off elimination and force a Game 6 Thursday.
* Demko became the 15th goaltender in NHL history – and second in as many days – to win his first career playoff start with his team facing elimination (also Michael Hutchinson Monday w/ COL). Only two of those 14 other goaltenders recorded more saves than Demko’s 42 (since 1955-56): Pascal Leclaire (56 in Game 5 of 2010 CQF w/ OTT) and Jose Theodore (56 in Game 4 of 1997 CQF w/ MTL).
* The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs is just the second postseason in League history to feature multiple goaltenders accomplish the feat (also 2010: Michael Leighton and Leclaire) and the first to occur in consecutive days.
* Additionally, only five other rookie goaltenders since 1955-56 have recorded more saves in a game when facing elimination than Demko:
* Miller has factored on six consecutive Canucks goals dating to Game 2 of this series (0-6—6). He matched the NHL playoff mark for longest stretch of consecutive team goals with an assist in a single postseason, joining Henrik Sedin (2011 w/ VAN), Denis Savard (1992 w/ MTL), Doug Gilmour (1986 w/ STL) and Don McKenney (1958 w/ BOS).
* Quinn Hughes also collected his 13th assist of the 2020 postseason in the effort and established an NHL record for the most by a rookie defenseman in single playoff year, besting the previous mark set by Al MacInnis (12 in 1984 w/ CGY) and later matched by Janne Niinimaa (12 in 1997 w/ PHI).
Both the Canucks and Flyers overcame a deficit to win Tuesday, bringing the total number of comeback victories in the 2020 postseason to 39. Only four playoff years in NHL history have featured more: 1991 (45), 1999 (44), 2010 (42) and 1987 (40).
FLYERS WITHSTAND ISLANDERS LATE RALLY AND STAVE OFF ELIMINATION WITH 4-3 OT WIN
Brock Nelson and Derick Brassard each scored in the final five minutes of regulation to help the Islanders erase a 3-1 deficit, but Scott Laughton scored 12:20 into overtime to help the Flyers stave off elimination and force a Game 6 Thursday.
* Laughton, who scored his first career overtime goal (regular season or playoffs), became the sixth different player in Flyers history to score an overtime goal in a game when facing elimination.
* Carter Hart (29 saves), who improved to 4-0 following a loss in the 2020 postseason, became the fifth active goaltender to win a game when facing elimination game before his 23rd birthday. The others: Seymon Varlamov (4x; last: Game 6 of 2009 CSF w/ WSH), Matt Murray (Game 6 and 7 of 2016 CF w/ PIT), Braden Holtby (Game 6 of 2012 CSF w/ WSH & Game 7 of 2012 CQF w/ WSH) and Carey Price (Game 7 of 2008 CQF w/ MTL).
* Captain Claude Giroux, collected two points (1-1—2), including an assist on Laughton’s game-winning goal and has 18 career points when facing elimination (5-13—18 in 18 GP). Only three players in Flyers history have more with the franchise: Brian Propp (13-11—24 in 21 GP), Paul Holmgren (4-15—19 in 13 GP) and Ken Linseman (4-15—19 in 10 GP).
PREVIEW OF TODAY’S ACTION
The Avalanche will look to build off their six-goal performance in Game 5 and stave off elimination once again in Game 6. Meanwhile, the Stars aim to advance to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2008.
* Nathan MacKinnon has recorded seven multi-point games since Aug.1, including six in his last seven outings. He can become the first player to reach 25 points in a postseason in 14 games played or fewer since Kings captain Wayne Gretzky in 1993 (8-17—25 in 14 GP).
* Miro Heiskanen can become the seventh defenseman in NHL history with an assist streak of seven or more games in a postseason. He would join Boston’s Bobby Orr (11 GP in 1972), Calgary’s Al MacInnis (10 GP in 1989), Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman (8 GP in 2018), Anaheim’s Dmitri Mironov (7 GP in 1997), Montreal’s Larry Robinson (7 GP in 1978) and Philadelphia’s Jimmy Watson (7 GP in 1976).