June 2 — Winning From Behind & Top 2022 Series

Yesterday’s NHL Score

Last Night’s News 📰

THREE YEARS BEHIND THE BENCH: A day after stating he hoped a deal would get done, Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes and head coach Martin St. Louis agreed to a three-year contract to keep St. Louis behind the bench. St. Louis led the Canadiens to 14 wins in 37 games after Montreal won eight of their first 45 games.

MCL TEARS AREN’T FUN: Frederik Andersen revealed that he suffered an MCL tear before the start of the postseason, incurring the injury during the Carolina Hurricanes’ April 16th regular-season loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Andersen acknowledged he was close to returning when the Rangers eliminated the Canes.

STAAL-ING FOR TIME: Jordan Staal will wait until next season, when the final year of his contract runs out, to decide his future with the Hurricanes. Staal signed a 10-year, $60 million contract with the Canes on July 1, 2012, and wants to focus on the 2022-23 season before discussing an extension. 

KOPITAR PROVEN LEADER: Yesterday marked the beginning of June and the start of the NHL announcing its 2021-22 award winners. Kicking things off was the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, selected by Messier after fans and teams put forward nominees and presented to the player who exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice. This year’s winner is Anže Kopitar, who has grown the game of hockey in Southern California and Slovenia. 

RANGERS ROCK LIGHTNING: Six players recorded two points as the New York Rangers dominated a rusty looking Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 in Game 1. Filip Chytil led the way with two goals, while Igor Shesterkin made 37 saves in the victory, which gave the Rangers their first series lead in the 2022 Playoffs. 

Top Shelf Thursday – Top 2022 Postseason Series

It is hard to believe we are already watching the conference finals. It’s been a wild postseason, and I think the best is yet to come (I’m looking at you, Colorado and Edmonton). Let’s take a look at some of our favorite series thus far.

Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers

The Battle of Alberta came as advertised! Game 1 was everything we could have asked for, with the teams combining for 15 goals and fans of the home team celebrating a Matthew Tkachuk hat trick. Connor McDavid eventually took over, recording eight points in the next four games and securing the series-winning goal in Game 5. The only downside to this series was that it was over before the full seven games. 

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

We can all agree this is the Eastern Conference Final we deserved (no disrespect to the New York Rangers). The Maple Leafs were so close to finally advancing past the first round, and while the result may have been the same, the Leafs made progress as they merely lost to a great team. Tampa Bay could have easily lost Game 7 if it wasn’t for the outstanding play of goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy who made 30 saves on 31 shots. 

Calgary Flames vs. Dallas Stars

Some may say this was a boring series, but we disagree. Fans witnessed the emergence of 23-year-old Jake Oettinger and why Jacob Markström is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. Ahead of Game 1, fans and media predicted that this would be an easy series win for the Calgary Flames, but the Dallas Stars rose to the occasion and forced an intense Game 7, which Calgary won 3-2. 

Slow Starters

The Colorado Avalanche took Game 1 of the Western Conference Final Tuesday night, winning an 8-6 barnburner over the Edmonton Oilers. It’s not the way the Oilers wanted to start the series, but they aren’t unfamiliar with it, having also lost Game 1 of their first two series this postseason. Edmonton dropped the first game of round one 4-3 to the Los Angeles Kings, then bounced back to win the next two games before the Kings won the next two to take a 3-2 series lead. Edmonton was able to rebound again, winning Game 6 4-2 in L.A. and Game 7 2-0 at home.

For the third straight series, Connor McDavid and the Oilers will look to bounce back from a Game 1 loss (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

Game 1 of the Oilers’ second-round series against the Calgary Flames was similar to Tuesday night, with goals galore in a 9-6 Calgary victory. Edmonton was in an early hole again in Game 2 but came back from two two-goal deficits to win 5-3. After never trailing through the next two games, the Oilers again came back from two goals down to win Game 5 5-4 in overtime and eliminate the Flames in Calgary. Unfortunately for the Oilers, there isn’t much precedent for a team winning the Stanley Cup despite losing Game 1 of every playoff series, as just two teams have won the Cup despite dropping Game 1 of each round.

1990-91 Pittsburgh Penguins

Although the Penguins finished the 1990-91 regular season in first place in the Patrick Division, their 88 points were the seventh-most in the NHL. Pittsburgh faced division foe New Jersey Devils in the first round, losing 3-1 in Game 1. After the teams traded back-to-back victories over the next four games, the Penguins won on the road before shutting out the Devils at home in Game 7. In the second round, the Pens dropped Game 1, losing 4-2 to the Washington Capitals. Pittsburgh took Game 2 in overtime and won the next three games to eliminate the Caps in five.

Mario Lemieux and the Penguins bounced back from three Game 1 losses (plus a Game 2 loss) to win the 1991 Stanley Cup (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

The Penguins fell into a deeper hole in the conference finals, losing the first two games to the host Boston Bruins. However, Pittsburgh went on to win the next four games, all by multiple goals. Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final featured more of the same, as the Penguins lost 5-4 to the Minnesota North Stars. After winning Game 2 and then losing Game 3, they cruised through the next three games, highlighted by a series-clinching 8-0 rout in Game 6.

1966-67 Toronto Maple Leafs

Besides the 1990-91 Penguins, the only other occurrence of a team winning the Stanley Cup despite losing Game 1 of every series was during the Original Six era. Toronto finished third during the 1966-67 season, qualifying for the four-team playoffs. Facing the first-place Chicago Black Hawks in the semifinals, Chicago took the opening game 5-2, but Toronto struck back by winning four of the next five contests.

Dave Keon and the Maple Leafs didn’t let two Game 1 blowout losses stop them from winning the 1967 Stanley Cup (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI/via Getty Images)

That Stanley Cup Final against the Montreal Canadiens went much the same for Toronto. The Maple Leafs were routed 6-2 by the Canadiens in Game 1 but bounced back to win the next two (which included a double-overtime win in Game 3). Montreal took Game 4, again by a score of 6-2, but Toronto closed out the championship with two straight victories.

In Memoriam

We are officially off and running with the conference finals underway. After the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers engaged in a 14-goal Game 1 onslaught and the New York Rangers made an emphatic early statement against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, the focus firmly rests on the remaining final four.

As you’ve probably learned already, this is the space where we spare a thought for the fallen. The four ousted teams that made it possible for our last four survivors to live on might be firmly in offseason mode by now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pay tribute one last time to clubs that still fared better than 75% of the league this season. Here’s our latest “In Memoriam”:

Florida Panthers
Dates Active: 10/12/21 – 5/23/22
Cause of Death: Succumbed to the Tampa Bay Lightning hitting their championship stride.
Last Words: The Presidents’ Trophy is cool and all, but…dang.

Calgary Flames
Dates Active: 10/12/21 – 5/26/22
Cause of Death: Played the role of “the other guys” while Connor McDavid had his playoff moment.
Last Words: You call that a kicking motion? Seriously???

St. Louis Blues
Dates Active: 10/12/21 – 5/27/22
Cause of Death: Some incredible resilience ultimately ran out against the juggernaut Colorado Avalanche.
Last Words: Scoring with 2:46 remaining gives us plenty of time to make a comeback. Scoring with 5.6 seconds left? Not so much.

Carolina Hurricanes
Dates Active: 10/12/21 – 5/30/22
Cause of Death: Road games.
Last Words: No Frederik Andersen and an 0-6 road record? Getting to Game 7 of the second round doesn’t look too bad!

Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket

Stanley Cup Playoffs Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule