Stanley Cup Playoffs Review – September 6, 2020
VETERANS NELSON, BAILEY HELP ISLANDERS BLANK FLYERS IN GAME 7
Veterans Brock Nelson (1-2—3) and Josh Bailey (0-2—2), who have skated with the Islanders since their NHL debuts in 2013 and 2008, respectively, combined for 1-4—5 in Game 7 and Thomas Greiss turned aside all 16 shots he faced as New York blanked Philadelphia to advance to the Conference Finals for the first time since 1993.
* The Islanders earned their fourth Game 7 win in franchise history, following series-clinching victories in the 1975 Quarterfinals (1-0 W at PIT), 1987 Division Semifinals (3-2 4OT W at WSH) and 1993 Division Finals (4-3 OT W at PIT). Saturday marked their first Game 7 win after surrendering a 3-1 series lead.
* Nelson became the first player in franchise history with three points in a Game 7. Six Islanders had collected two points in a Game 7 before Saturday, a feat last achieved by Roman Hamrlik in the 2002 Conference Quarterfinals (0-2—2 at TOR).
* Nelson led the team with eight points this series (4-4—8 in 7 GP), while Bailey paced New York with seven assists (0-7—7 in 7 GP). Bailey has 15 assists this postseason overall (2-15—17 in 16 GP), the most in a playoff year by an Islanders player since Bob Bourne (8-20—28 in 20 GP) during their run to the Stanley Cup in 1983.
* Greiss, who started for the first time since Game 4 when the Islanders completed the second half of a back-to-back set, became the second goaltender in franchise history to record a shutout in a Game 7 (also Glenn Resch in 1975 QF). He concluded the Second Round with a 2-1 record in three appearances (1.08 GAA, .960 SV%, 1 SO).
LAMORIELLO PASSES TORREY FOR SECOND ON ALL-TIME SERIES WINS LIST
Lou Lamoriello earned his 29th career postseason series win as an NHL general manager to pass longtime Islanders executive Bill Torrey (28) for second place on the League’s all-time list. He trails only Glen Sather (41).
* Nine of New York’s 10 previous appearances in the Conference Finals/Semifinals were with Torrey, the franchise’s first general manager, at the helm. Don Maloney, who succeeded Torrey, was the Islanders’ general manager during their berth in 1993.
MORE GAME 7 QUICK HITS
* Anthony Beauvillier scored his fifth goal in a series-clinching win this postseason (also 2-0—2 in Game 4 of SCQ & 2-0—2 in Game 5 of R1). His five goals in series-clinching wins are the second-most in a playoff year by an Islanders player, behind only franchise icon Mike Bossy in 1983 (8-1—9 in 4 GP).
* Scott Mayfield and Andy Greene became the second and third different defensemen in franchise history to score a goal in a Game 7, joining Denis Potvin in the 1978 Quarterfinals (1-0—1 vs. TOR) and 1987 Division Finals (1-0—1 at PHI).
* Greene (37 years, 311 days) became the third-oldest defenseman in NHL history to score a goal in a Game 7, behind Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom (39 years, 364 days) in the 2010 Conference Quarterfinals (2-1—3 at PHX) and Washington’s Roman Hamrlik (38 years, 30 days) in the 2012 Conference Semifinals (1-0—1 at NYR).
ISLANDERS TO FACE LIGHTNING IN CONFERENCE FINALS
The Islanders will face the Lightning in the 2020 Eastern Conference Final, which marks their third all-time head-to-head postseason meeting following five-game triumphs by Tampa Bay in both the 2004 Conference Quarterfinals and 2016 Second Round. The Islanders went 2-1-0 in three games versus the Lightning during the 2019-20 regular season (TBL: 1-2-0).
* The 2004 Conference Quarterfinals between the Lightning and Islanders began with four straight shutouts – three by Tampa Bay’s Nikolai Khabibulin (Games 1, 3 & 4) and one by New York’s Rick DiPietro (Game 2). It remains one of two series in NHL history to begin with at least four consecutive shutouts (also 2002 CQF: OTT vs. PHI).
* The Islanders and Lightning will contest Game 1 of their series on Monday, Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. ET.
GOLDEN KNIGHTS, STARS OPEN WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
The Golden Knights and Stars, who both earned Game 7 wins on Friday, square off in Game 1 of the 2020 Western Conference Final. This marks the first all-time head-to-head postseason meeting between Vegas and Dallas.
* The Golden Knights, riding the wave of the franchise’s first-ever Game 7 win, will make a second Conference Finals appearance since their inaugural season in 2017-18. The first instance was in 2018, when Vegas earned a five-game triumph over Winnipeg to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
* The Stars/North Stars franchise has reached the Conference Finals seven times since the series was introduced in 1982, with the last instance before 2020 occurring over 12 years ago (also 1984, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2000 & 2008). Minnesota also reached the Semifinals four times before 1982, including during its inaugural season (1968, 1971, 1980 & 1981).
* Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen (3-10—13 in 8 GP) and teammate Denis Gurianov (2-6—8 in 6 GP) enter the series with active point streaks of eight and six games, respectively. Heiskanen can become the first defenseman with a nine-game run in a playoff year since Pittsburgh’s Larry Murphy in 1995 (2-13—15 in 9 GP), while Gurianov can become the first rookie with a streak of seven or more games in a postseason since 1982 when Quebec’s Marian Stastny (3-10—13 in 10 GP) and St. Louis’ Joe Mullen (7-10—17 in 7 GP) combined for the feat. Stastny’s 10-game run is the longest postseason point streak by a rookie in NHL history.
* Heiskanen (5-16—21 in 16 GP) leads the Stars in scoring this postseason, while fellow defenseman Shea Theodore (6-10—16 in 15 GP) paces all Golden Knights skaters with 16 points. Since 1967-68 when the NHL expanded from six to 12 teams, only four other Conference Finals/Semifinals series have started with a defenseman leading each team in points (outright or tied).
* The 2020 Western Conference Final also marks the second series in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to feature two teams who both won their previous series that postseason after surrendering a 3-1 series lead. The only other instance was in the 2008 Conference Semifinals between the Flyers and Canadiens.
Golden Knights’ Reaves Suspended One Game for Illegal Check to the Head
Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves has been suspended for one game for an illegal check to the head of Vancouver Canucks forward Tyler Motte during Game 7 of the teams’ Second Round series in Edmonton on Friday, Sept. 4. The incident occurred at 16:26 of the second period. Reaves was assessed a match penalty for illegal check to the head.