June 7 — From Playoff Debut to Scoring 100

Yesterday’s NHL Score

Last Night’s News 📰

RIP YOUNGBLOOD: Eric Nesterenko, long-time Chicago Black Hawks forward and father of the titular character in the 1986 film “Youngblood,” passed away yesterday at 88 years old. Nesterenko won a Cup with the Black Hawks in 1961 and led Chicago back to the Final in 1962, 1965, and 1971.

STROME SLATED TO SKATE: New York Rangers center Ryan Strome is likely to play in Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Strome suffered a lower-body injury in the second period of Sunday’s Game 3 loss, causing him to miss the rest of the game. For the Lightning, forward Brayden Point is still out.

CONNOR WINS LADY BYNG: Winnipeg Jets forward Kyle Connor has won the Lady Byng Trophy, presented to the NHL’s most gentlemanly player. Jaccob Slavin finished second in the voting, while Minnesota Wild captain Jared Spurgeon was third. Connor tied for the second-fewest number of minor penalties during the 2021-22 season. 

CASSIDY OUT IN BOSTON: The Boston Bruins stunned the hockey world by announcing the firing of Bruce Cassidy on Monday. Cassidy went 399-245-108 over six seasons in Boston, with playoff appearances each season. However, the Bruins are now seeking a new voice in hopes of winning their first Cup since 2011.

LEHKONEN DOES IT AGAIN: For the second postseason in a row, Artturi Lehkonen scored a goal in overtime to send his team to the Stanley Cup Final. Acquired from the Montreal Canadiens at the trade deadline, Lehkonen notched the game-winner at 1:19 of overtime to give the Colorado Avalanche a 6-5 victory and 4-0 series sweep over the Edmonton Oilers. 

Trivia Tuesday

How Well Do You Know Kyle Connor?

  1. Which university did Connor attend for the 2015-16 season?
    • Boston University
    • University of Michigan
    • University of Denver
    • Boston College

  2. How many times has Connor finished a season with at least 50 points during his career?
    • Two
    • Three
    • Four
    • Five

  3. Against which team did Connor score his first NHL goal?
    • Chicago Blackhawks
    • St. Louis Blues
    • Dallas Stars
    • Toronto Maple Leafs

Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.

A Playoff Coming Out Party

The Edmonton Oilers are headed home in heartbreaking fashion after being on the wrong side of a 6-5 overtime loss and four-game sweep in the Western Conference Final. Still, regardless of the loss, Dylan Holloway now has a story to tell his grandkids of the rare circumstances surrounding his NHL debut (even if it only resulted in 3:27 of ice time).

It seems pretty wild that a team good enough to survive into the latter stages of the postseason would need to call upon a 20-year-old without a sniff of experience in the league. However, Holloway’s playoff arrival isn’t as uncommon as you may think. Some pretty notable names in the sport got their start on hockey’s biggest stage include:

Cale Makar

Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It turns out that the guy who scored the first goal of Holloway’s debut (and had a four-point night) offers a pretty good blueprint for starting a career off in the postseason. A little under two years after being selected fourth overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Makar got his first taste of NHL action in Game 3 of Colorado’s first-round series against the Calgary Flames in 2019. It should be no surprise for those who followed the torrid start in his young career in the years since that he scored in the first period.

Gaye Stewart

Gaye Stewart isn’t a Hall of Famer, but he sure is an incredible story. His three-game debut in the 1942 Stanley Cup Final for the Toronto Maple Leafs coincided with the league’s first comeback from being down three games and the only time it ever happened in a Final. The following year, Stewart won the Calder Trophy. Then, after two years away from the game for military service, he came back to lead the NHL with 37 goals in 50 games.

Chris Kreider

Chris Kreider, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Makar is just one of the stars of the 2022 Postseason to debut during the playoffs, as Chris Kreider offered an early taste of his penchant for clutch scoring. Arriving during the New York Rangers’ 2012 Conference Final run, the 52-goal scorer lit the lamp five times before playing a regular-season game.

Brett Hull

Contrary to popular opinion, Ken Dryden does not fit the mold of playoff debutant, getting into six regular season games before his legendary Conn Smythe-winning 1971 Postseason effort. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t another Hall of Famer who does. Brett Hull didn’t achieve a full-time NHL role until the 1987-88 season, but his introduction to the league came during the 1986 Stanley Cup Final between the Calgary Flames and Canadiens.

By the Numbers: Playoff Century Club – Defensemen

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman had two assists in the team’s Game 3 win over the New York Rangers Sunday, including the secondary helper on Ondřej Palát’s goal with 42 seconds remaining in the third period that gave the Lightning a 3-2 victory.

Those two helpers put the 31-year-old Hedman over 100 career playoff points. The veteran, who now has 101 points (21 goals, 80 assists) in 146 career postseason games, is the 14th defenseman in NHL history to reach the mark. Here are a few numbers of interest regarding those other great defensemen.

Tampa Bay Lightning Defenseman Victor Hedman celebrates a goal with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov (Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

196 – Playoff points Paul Coffey scored during his career, the most of any defenseman. The Hall-of-Famer played in 194 total postseason games with six different teams during the 1980s and ’90s, finishing with 59 goals and 137 assists.

139 – Career postseason assists Ray Bourque recorded, which is the most of any defenseman in NHL history. The legendary Boston Bruins blueliner also had 41 goals, giving him 180 points in 214 career playoff games, good for third all-time.

266 – Playoff games Chris Chelios played during his career, more than any other defenseman. In those 266 games, he had 144 points (31 goals, 113 assists), which ranks seventh all-time among rear guards.

3 – Defensemen in the club who have played for one team their entire career, starting with Hedman in his 13th season in Tampa Bay. Nicklas Lidström, who ranks second among defensemen in playoff points with 183 (54 goals, 129 assists), spent 20 years with the Detroit Red Wings, while Denis Potvin, who is fourth with 165 points (56 goals, 109 assists), played his entire career in New York with the Islanders.

6 – Stanley Cup titles Larry Robinson won, which is the most of anybody on the list. Robinson won all six championships with the Montreal Canadiens during the 1970s and ’80s. He finished his career with 144 playoff points (28 goals, 116 assists).

0 – Stanley Cup titles won by Brad Park, who scored 125 points (35 goals, 90 assists) in 161 career postseason games. The Hall-of-Famer is the only defenseman with at least 100 playoff points that did not win a championship.

9 – Points Duncan Keith needs to become the 15th player to reach 100. The 38-year-old Edmonton Oilers blueliner has 19 goals and 72 assists in the postseason and is the next-closest active player, followed by 35-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins staple Kris Letang with 90.

Trivia Answers

  1. University of Michigan
  2. Five
  3. Dallas Stars

Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket

Stanley Cup Playoffs Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule