Stanley Cup Playoffs Review – September 9, 2020
LEHNER POSTS ANOTHER SHUTOUT AS GOLDEN KNIGHTS EVEN SERIES WITH 3-0 WIN
Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner made 24 saves and forwards Paul Stastny, William Karlsson and Tomas Nosek all scored during the second period as the club evened the Western Conference Final at one game apiece.
* Lehner recorded his fourth shutout of the 2020 postseason (13 GP), joining teammate Marc-Andre Fleury (4 SO in 2018) as the only goaltenders since 2012 to record at least four shutouts in a single playoff year. Only five goaltenders in NHL history have recorded more shutouts in a postseason.
* Lehner extended his shutout streak to 131:44, the second-longest postseason run by a Golden Knights goaltender behind Fleury (144:04 in 2018). That stands as the longest active run by any goaltender and third-longest in the 2020 postseason, behind Thatcher Demko of the Canucks (138:40) and Semyon Varlamov of the Islanders (138:17).
* Lehner, who has earned each of his last four victories via shutout, became the sixth goaltender in NHL history to record each of his first four career playoff shutouts in the same year. The others: Miikka Kiprusoff (5 in 2004), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (5 in 2003), Patrick Lalime (4 in 2002), Olie Kolzig (4 in 1998) and Frank McCool (4 in 1945).
GOLDEN KNIGHTS, STARS SHUT EACH OTHER OUT IN CONFERENCE FINALS FIRST
After being shut out in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, the Golden Knights exacted their revenge by blanking the Stars in Game 2. It marks the first time in the modern era (since 1943-44) that the Conference Finals/Semifinals have opened with each team earning a shutout within the first two contests. It is the eighth series over that span to begin in that fashion, and second this postseason.
* Overall, it is the fifth time in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) that a team has shut out an opponent after being shut out in the previous game at any point during the Conference Finals/Semifinals. The other instances came in 1950 (TOR vs. DET), 1951 (MTL vs. DET), 1997 (DET vs. COL) and 2002 (CAR vs. TOR).
OETTINGER DEBUTS IN CONFERENCE FINALS, A FIRST FOR A GOALIE IN 55 YEARS
Jake Oettinger (5 saves) made his NHL debut when he took over in net for the Stars to start the third period. He became the first goaltender in 55 years – and only one in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) – to make his League debut in the Conference Finals/Semifinals.
* The only other netminder in the League’s modern era (since 1943-44) to make his NHL debut in the Conference Finals/Semifinals was Bob Champoux, who saw his first NHL action in Game 2 of the 1964 Semifinals when he entered in place of an injured Terry Sawchuk. Champoux backed the Red Wings to a 5-4 victory to tie the series at 1-1, but Sawchuk and Roger Crozier played the remaining games in the series.
* Oettinger, selected 26th overall by the Stars in the 2017 NHL Draft, became the 12th goaltender in League history – and second in 2020 after Boston’s Dan Vladar (Game 3 vs. TBL) – to make his NHL debut in any round of the playoffs. The only other active goaltender to do so is Jake Allen (2012 w/ STL).
ISLANDERS LOOK TO REBOUND IN GAME 2 AGAINST LIGHTNING
The Islanders will look to bounce back in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Lightning, who erupted for eight goals in the opener Monday. The Islanders are 4-1 following a loss in the 2020 postseason, rebounding with a multi-goal victory in all four of their wins, including three by a margin of four goals.
* Josh Bailey, who was held without a point in Game 1 but has six multi-point efforts in the 2020 postseason, leads the Islanders with 2-15—17 in 17 GP this postseason. Since the Islanders raised their final of four consecutive Stanley Cup championships in 1983, only one player has recorded 20 or more points in a single postseason for the franchise (Ray Ferraro in 1993: 13-7—20 in 18 GP).
* Brayden Point, who was born in Calgary, Alta., has 10 points in seven career NHL games in his home province for an average of 1.43 points per game (regular season and playoffs). That total includes 2-3—5 in Game 1 and 0-3—3 in three regular-season contests at Rogers Place, as well as 0-2—2 in three outings in his hometown at Scotiabank Saddledome.
* Nikita Kucherov, who also posted a five-point outing in Game 1, scored the 34th playoff goal of his NHL career (79 GP) to pass Martin St. Louis (33 G in 63 GP) for sole possession of the most in franchise history. He needs one goal to tie Pavel Bure (35 G in 64 GP) for eighth place on the NHL’s all-time playoff list among Russian players.
* Tampa Bay aims to win six consecutive games within a postseason for the third time in franchise history – they had eight-game runs in 2004 and 2011.
Dampy Brar Receives Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award
Dampy Brar (Apna Hockey) is the recipient of the 2019-20 Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, given “to an individual who – through the sport of hockey – has positively impacted his or her community, culture or society.”
Brar, alongside Lali Toor, co-founded Apna Hockey, an initiative that provides a network and support for South Asian hockey players. A former professional hockey player himself, playing in both the International Hockey League and the West Coast Hockey League, Brar works tirelessly to mentor and teach youth hockey, including coaching his own children’s teams. Brar was the first child on both sides of his family to be born outside of India and continues to play a major role in bringing hockey to his family’s native country. He worked with Hayley Wickenheiser and the Wickfest team in 2018 to bring the first-ever women’s hockey team to Canada from Leh Ladakh, India, where he travelled with the team to provide mentorship and support as an advocate for women’s hockey. Brar revisited Leh Ladakh in 2019 to watch the women’s team and provide them the support that female hockey players in India often do not receive. During that time, he also made a trip to a college in Punjab, India to mentor students of a roller hockey program.
The Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award honors former NHL forward Willie O’Ree, who on Jan. 18, 1958, became the first black player to compete in the League. O’Ree, who lost sight in his right eye at a young age, went on to play professional hockey for 21 years. His perseverance is unrivaled, and his impact on the game and the lives of young players still is felt today. For more than two decades, O’Ree has served as the NHL’s Diversity Ambassador, traveling across North America to schools and hockey programs to share his story and experiences as well as to promote messages of inclusion, dedication and confidence. O’Ree has used hockey as a platform to build character and teach life skills and has used his influence to foster positive values through the sport.
Other finalists for this year’s honor were Alexandria Briggs-Blake (Tucker Road Ducks Hockey) and John Haferman (Columbus Ice Hockey Club).