Last Night’s News 📰
“D”-BOER: The NHL head coach carousel continues to turn, as the Dallas Stars reportedly hired Pete DeBoer as their new bench boss. Vegas fired DeBoer after a disappointing 2021-22 season for the Golden Knights, but he brings seven years of head coach expertise to Dallas.
COMPLETING COLLEGE WHILE CHASING CUPS: Veteran defenseman Jack Johnson has been busy this postseason, with his most recent accomplishment coming off the ice. In his 16th NHL season, Johnson finally completed his college degree from the University of Michigan, taking courses during the offseason and online throughout the pandemic.
CAN BÄCKSTRÖM RESURFACE?: Washington lost another forward to long-term recovery from surgery after Capitals forward Nicklas Bäckström underwent a resurfacing procedure on his left hip. Two players have had similar surgeries in the past with opposite results. Ed Jovanovski returned to the Florida Panthers for 37 games after undergoing the procedure in 2013-14, and Ryan Kesler has yet to return from his surgery following the 2018-19 season.
FIRST GOAL FOR THE AGES: Imagine scoring your first professional goal, in overtime, in the American Hockey League (AHL) Calder Cup Final. That’s how things played out last night for defenseman Matthew Kessel of the Springfield Thunderbirds, scoring the OT-winner in Game 1 against the Chicago Wolves, 5-4. Kessel, selected by the St. Louis Blues in the fifth round of the 2020 Draft, joined the Thunderbirds following his junior season at UMass-Amherst.
Rarity of Cup Final Blowouts
Colorado’s 7-0 Game 2 thumping of the Lightning was remarkable for its relatively anonymous band of goal scorers. Not to mention how it made the two-time defending champions—and all-world goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy—look like absolute pushovers. One less discussed remarkable element of the statement win: it simply isn’t the type of score you see in a Stanley Cup Final.
How rare is Game 2’s one-sidedness? In the post-expansion era (after 1967), only four Cup Final games had winning spreads of more than five goals. The Avs’ touchdown and shutout offer reasons to look back on those four instances and see how those series played out.
1991 Game 6 – Pittsburgh 8, Minnesota 0
The Minnesota North Stars held a brief 2-1 series lead over Mario Lemieux’s Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1991 Cup Final, but it didn’t last long. Pittsburgh won the next three to put the North Stars on the brink, including a four-goal rally in Game 5 that came up just short. There was no such comeback in Game 6, as Pittsburgh wrapped up the series in record-breaking fashion, and Lemieux tallied a goal and three assists.
1996 Game 2 – Colorado 8, Florida 1
Maybe the Avs enjoy something about Game 2 of the Final and beating teams from the state of Florida by seven. Colorado’s Cup run during its first season in Denver included an 8-1 triumph over the Florida Panthers en route to a series sweep. Peter Forsberg had a hat trick before the end of the first period, just one fewer goal than the Panthers managed all series.
2011 Game 3 – Boston 8, Vancouver 1
In retrospect, the 2011 Stanley Cup Final was incredibly weird. And no, not just because of the riots. A seven-game series would immediately suggest a tight, compelling classic—however, Vancouver narrowly eked out its three victories by a combined 5-2 score, while the Boston Bruins outscored the Canucks 21-3 in their four wins. Most of that damage came in Game 3, as Boston notched four goals in the second and third periods in response to an 0-2 series hole.
2017 Game 5 – Pittsburgh 6, Nashville 0
In our most recent entry on the list, the Penguins used a 6-0 blowout to crush the soul of the resilient Nashville Predators in their first and only Cup Final appearance. The Preds had rallied out of an 0-2 hole to take the series back to Pittsburgh, but the Pens were ready with six goals in the first 40 minutes and a dominant defensive effort in front of Matt Murray. Nashville wasn’t even able to score in Game 6, either.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar scored two third-period goals on Saturday night to cap off Colorado’s 7-0 rout of the Tampa Bay Lightning, giving the Avalanche a 2-0 series lead heading to Tampa Bay. Makar now has 24 total points (seven goals, 17 assists) in 16 games this postseason, tied with Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov and the New York Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad for third behind the Edmonton Oilers’ dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
A defenseman has finished in the top-three in postseason points each of the last two years, but only three times in the past 15 years. With Makar looking highly likely to have a spot on the playoff points podium when all is said and done this year, here is a look at the last three defensemen to accomplish the feat.
Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning (2021)
The Stanley Cup champion Lightning occupied the top five spots on the points leaderboard last postseason, led by Kucherov (32) and Brayden Point (23). Hedman tied teammate Steven Stamkos for third with 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) in 19 games. This year, the 31-year-old has 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) through 19 games.
Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars (2020)
In 2020, the Dallas Stars made it to the Stanley Cup Final, falling to the Lightning in six games. Heiskanen was a big part of that, scoring 26 points (six goals, 20 assists) in 27 games, putting the defenseman behind only Tampa teammates Kucherov (34) and Point (33). This year, the 22-year-old scored three points (one goal, two assists) in seven playoff games.
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks (2016)
Before two defensemen finished in the top three in playoff points the last two years, one did it in the previous decade. That one was the bearded Burns, who scored 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists) in 24 games during the Sharks’ 2016 run to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Burns finished second in points that postseason, behind only teammate Logan Couture (30).
Player Spotlight – Patrick Kane
With the future of the Chicago Blackhawks unclear, there are multiple question marks surrounding star forward Patrick Kane. The 33-year-old is a three-time Stanley Cup champion and one of the best U.S.-born players in the league. Fans know plenty about what he has brought to the ice, but what about his life outside of hockey? Let’s check in.
What Was Your Favorite Cartoon Growing Up?:
Preferred Way to Pass Time on Team Flights:
Pizza or Burgers:
The All-Time Best TV Show Is?:
If You Could Pick Any Other Job What Would It Be?:
Go-to Karaoke Song:
Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket
Stanley Cup Playoffs Leading Scorers
Stanley Cup Final Schedule
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