Stanley Cup Qualifiers Review – August 9, 2020

Stanley Cup Qualifiers Review – August 9, 2020

Avalanche forward J.T. Compher (1-1—2) tied the game at 18:58 of the third period, but Alex Tuch scored the winner with 15.9 seconds remaining in overtime as the Golden Knights concluded round robin play with a 3-0-0 record and the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Vegas will face Chicago in the First Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking their first-ever head-to-head meeting in a postseason series.

* The Golden Knights are 8-1-0 in nine all-time regular-season games against the Blackhawks (CHI: 1-6-2). William Karlsson (5-4—9 in 9 GP) and Reilly Smith (4-5—9 in 8 GP) are the franchise’s all-time scoring leaders against Chicago with nine points apiece, while Patrick Kane paces Blackhawks players with eight versus Vegas (3-5—8 in 9 GP).

* Alec Martinez (2-1—3 in 8 GP), Paul Stastny (0-2—2 in 7 GP) and Ryan Reaves (8 GP) are the only members of the Golden Knights’ roster with postseason experience against the Blackhawks. Martinez faced Chicago in two postseason series with Los Angeles (4-1 L in 2013 CF & 4-3 W in 2014 CF) – in the second matchup, he scored the overtime winner on Corey Crawford in Game 7 to power the Kings to their second Stanley Cup Final in a three-year span (also 2012).

* The 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers have featured six game-tying or go-ahead goals scored in the final 90 seconds of regulation. That marks the most-ever through the first eight days in any NHL postseason – six playoff years have featured four such goals through the first eight days (1983, 1985, 1988, 2001, 2013 & 2014).

* The six game-tying or go-ahead goals scored in the final 90 seconds of regulation are tied for the most in an entire opening round of an NHL postseason. The 2013 Conference Quarterfinals and 2014 First Round also featured six such goals.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored twice in 6:20 to become the 10th different Philadelphia rookie to record a multi-goal game in the postseason as the Flyers finished round robin play with a 3-0-0 record and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia, which enters the First Round as the highest-seeded team in its conference for the first time since 2000, will face Montreal.

* The Flyers and Canadiens have met in six all-time postseason series, with each club winning three of the head-to-head matchups. Philadelphia earned five-game wins in each of the last two, which were in the 2008 Conference Semifinals and 2010 Conference Finals.

* Current Flyers forwards Claude Giroux (3-3—6 in 5 GP) and James van Riemsdyk (1-1—2 in 5 GP) both played in the 2010 Conference Finals, while Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made one appearance in relief of Jaroslav Halak.

Colorado, which concluded round robin play with a 2-0-1 record and the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, will face Arizona in the First Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tampa Bay, which went 2-1-0 in round robin play to secure the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, will face the winner of tonight’s Game 5 showdown between Toronto and Columbus.

* The Avalanche and Coyotes franchises have met in one all-time head-to-head postseason series, with Colorado earning a five-game win in the 2000 Conference Quarterfinals. Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic had four points (1-3—4 in 5 GP), while Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet – who began the 1999-00 season with Phoenix – was traded to Philadelphia just over a month before the series began.

* Gabriel Landeskog (8-8—16 in 25 GP) and Nathan MacKinnon (3-13—16 in 19 GP) own the most career regular-season points versus the Coyotes among current Colorado players. Taylor Hall has 32 career regular-season points versus Colorado (15-17—32 in 27 GP), the most among current Arizona players; Phil Kessel owns the second-highest total with 17 (11-6—17 in 18 GP).

* The Lightning and Blue Jackets met in the 2019 First Round when Columbus captured the first series win in franchise history by becoming the first team in NHL history to sweep a best-of-seven series in the opening round against the team with the best regular-season record. Tampa Bay and Toronto have never met in the postseason.

The 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers will conclude with a decisive Game 5 showdown between the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets as well as the final two round robin games that will determine the third and fourth seed in both the Western and Eastern Conference.

* After the Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs traded shutout victories in Games 1 and 2, then shocked each other with three-goal comeback wins in Games 3 and 4, respectively, the two clubs that entered the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers with identical points percentages during the regular season (.579) will play a winner-take-all game on Sunday to advance to the First Round.

* While this is the first time Columbus will compete in a winner-take-all game regardless of series length – the Toronto franchise owns a 20-13 record in winner-take all contests (excluding total goals series).

* The Maple Leafs have lost each of their last three winner-take-all contests – all in Game 7s against the Bruins (2013 CQF, 2018 R1 and 2019 R1). Toronto’s last winner-take-all victory in the postseason was in Game 7 of the 2004 Conference Quarterfinals against Ottawa (4-1 W) – also the team’s last series win of any kind.

* Teams that score first in a winner-take-all Game 5 are 19-6 and have won five of the last seven instances (NYR: 1986 DSF, NYI: 1985 DSF, QUE: 1985 DSF, MTL: 1985 DSF & MNS: 1984 DSF). However, the Blues (1986 DSF) and Islanders (1984 DSF) won Game 5 despite surrendering the first goal.

* Eight of 25 winner-take-all Game 5s have required overtime (32.0%). Dale Hunter (1982 DSF w/ QUE: 00:22 1OT) scored the fastest goal to begin an overtime period in a decisive Game 5 and Ken Doraty (1933 SF w/ TOR: 4:46 6OT) netted the game-winning goal in the NHL’s longest overtime in a Game 5.

* The most points in a winner-take-all game in a best-of-five series is five, set by Blues teammates Greg Paslawski (3-2—5) and Doug Gilmour (0-5—5) during the 1986 Division Semifinals vs. the North Stars. Additionally, Gilmour’s five-assist outing also stands as the most by any player in a fifth-and-deciding game.

* The most goals in a winner-take-all game in a best-of-five series is four, set by Babe Dye during the 1922 Stanley Cup Final vs. the Millionaires. His four-goal performance propelled the St. Patricks to their second Stanley Cup championship.

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