Milan Lucic, Alex Burrows

Interesting stats and facts from Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals

After two very tight games in Vancouver, the 2011 Stanley Cup finals really took a turn toward the ugly during Game 3 in Boston. The penalty box attendants were busier than they have been in decades of finals series while the red light went on over and over again for the Bruins.

NHL.com collected some interesting numbers from Game 3 and the series in general in two different stories.

Perhaps the most interesting fact comes from this article, which points out that last night’s contest featured the most penalty minutes in a Stanley Cup finals game since the last time the Bruins appeared in 1990. It’s unclear how many were taken during that Bruins-Edmonton Oilers series in ’90 (feel free to share that fact in the comments), but last night’s game included 70 minutes for the Vancouver Canucks and 75 for the Bruins, totaling 145 PIM overall.

Going further, John Kreiser compiled a list of other stats and interesting tidbits from the game and the series overall. You can read all of them here, but these are some of the highlights. I’ll add some commentary and our own stats when appropriate.

1 — Combined first-period goals by the Canucks and Bruins in the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final. The teams went scoreless on 19 shots in the first period of Game 3, and goaltenders Roberto Luongo of Vancouver and Tim Thomas of Boston have combined to stop 69 of 70 first-period shots thus far in the series.

Even Game 3 featured a strong start for both goalies. Luongo has been strong in some serious penalty killing predicaments, shutting down a lengthy 5-on-3 power play and double-minor in Game 1 and that five-minute major in Game 3.

5 — Games played by the Bruins this spring that have been decided by three or more goals. Boston has won four — the first three came in Games 1, 3 and 4 during Boston’s four-game sweep of Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Their only three-goal loss was 5-2 to Tampa Bay in the opener of the conference finals.

7 — Goals in the margin of victory, the most in a Stanley Cup Final game in exactly 15 years. Colorado beat Florida 8-1 in Game 2 of the 1996 Final on June 6, 1996.

While it’s a small sample, it seems like the Bruins are more comfortable in wide-open games. Every now and then, Luongo & Co. simply let a game get away from them. That was especially clear in Game 3 and some of the lower moments of the Canucks’ first round series against the Blackhawks.

9 — Games during this year’s playoff in which the Bruins have won after scoring first, as they did it Game 3 They’ve lost only once — in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay.

It’s a bit surprising that the Bruins have been so comfortable in high-scoring games, but their track record of success after taking 1-0 leads was easy to see coming.

10 — Times in which the Bruins have won despite being outshot by their opponents during this year’s playoffs. Boston is now 10-4 when being outshot.

If you want a sign of how resilient this Bruins team has been, that stat might be the best way of showing it. Of course, ultimately, the most important numbers are 2-1, the Canucks’ series lead. We’ll see if Boston can carry the momentum earned from Game 3 or if Vancouver can take a stranglehold on the SCF with a Game 4 win.

Lightning, Islanders make East playoff races even more confusing

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Ben Bishop #30 of the Tampa Bay Lightning makes the third period save as Ryan Strome #18 of the New York Islanders looks for a rebound at the Barclays Center on November 1, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Whenever you groan at what seems like a quiet trade market, take a step back and ask yourself this: “Who is really out of it?”

For a while there, it felt reasonable to dismiss the chances of teams like the Florida Panthers, New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. Now? There’s probably only a handful of teams that can really be comfortable, at this very point, with calling themselves sellers.

The Islanders took care of their business with a 3-1 win against the fading (probably selling?) Detroit Red Wings, even with Petr Mrazek making a save like this.

Meanwhile, Ben Bishop might just be putting his game together (while Nikita Kucherov‘s game remains very much together) as the Tampa Bay Lightning throttled the Edmonton Oilers 4-1. Bishop might just end up being indispensable – or at least not worth trading – as he’s on a five-game winning streak.

With those wins, the races for the last seemingly available Eastern Conference playoff spots just get that much muddier.*

Third place in the Atlantic: Maple Leafs – 67 points in 59 games, 28 wins, 27 ROW

Second wild card: Panthers – 66 points in 58 GP, 28 W, 25 ROW

Bruins – 66 points in 59 GP, 30 W, 28 ROW
Islanders – 66 points in 59 GP, 28 W, 27 ROW
Flyers – 63 points in 59 GP, 28 W, 23 ROW
Lightning – 62 points in 59 GP, 27 W, 25 ROW
Sabres – 62 points in 60 GP, 26 W, 25 ROW

Wow, that’s crazy-close. Naturally, teams like the Islanders and Flyers lack the luxury of having a third spot in reasonable reach – unless things get truly wild – but that’s quite the congested group of playoff hopefuls.

And, sure, the Bolts are among those facing longer odds, but the way things keep swinging wildly this season, who knows? Especially with a team with a track record of success and high expectations like the Lightning.

* – We’ll arbitrarily cut off the East race at the Devils, but just in case you’re wondering, they have 60 points, the Red Wings have 58 and the Hurricanes have 56. Also, the Ottawa Senators hold the second spot in the Atlantic with 70 points and the Montreal Canadiens lead the division with 72, so that group could see quite a bit of movement over the last quarter of the season.

Forsberg’s hat trick, own-goal highlights Predators’ wild OT loss to Flames

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If you want to summarize the kind of night the Nashville Predators experienced, you could do worse than to draw parallels to Filip Forsberg‘s experiences.

The highs were quite high, you see. Forsberg & Co. carved away at the Calgary Flames’ 4-1 lead as his hat trick (see above) eventually gave the Predators a fleeting 5-4 edge.

We all should have seen more drama coming … and it did. Forsberg ended up being at the wrong place at the wrong time in overtime; the Flames’ 6-5 overtime winner ended up going off of his foot. Ouch.

Mark Giordano ended up being credited with that goal. The game was just a barn-burner.

While it was an up-and-down night for both the Flames and Predators, Pekka Rinne‘s evening was pretty much uniformly dismal.

Rinne was pulled early in the second period after giving up four goals on 13 shots, making way for Juuse Saros (who actually ended up gtting tagged with the loss).

The Flames can breathe a sigh of relief after winning the game despite coughing up a big lead, improving to 64 points and strengthening their grip on the second wild card spot. That “charity point” comes in handy for Nashville, leaving the Predators with 65 points and a game in hand on the Flames.

Serious performance: Blackhawks gain on Wild thanks to Toews’ five points

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If the Chicago Blackhawks are going to make up some serious ground and overtake the Minnesota Wild for the Central Division title, they’ll need wins like these.

It’s only fitting that “Captain Serious” Jonathan Toews did the heavy lifting, generating a hat trick and two assists as the Blackhawks beat the Wild 5-3 on Tuesday.

Yes, Toews was involved in every goal. And yes, the Blackhawks won this one in regulation after beating the Wild in overtime last time around. It’s a nice swing for Chicago:

Central Division title chase

1. Wild – 84 points in 59 games (39 wins, 36 ROW)
2. Blackhawks – 79 points in 60 games (37 wins, 35 ROW)

Yeah, that’s still a substantial edge for Minnesota … but this is a significant swing.

Even beyond the name recognition that comes with Toews & Co., the Blackhawks’ push shouldn’t be surprising. They’re red-hot in February so far, going 7-1-0 despite playing seven of eight on the road (strangely losing that lone home contest).

The Wild have played reasonably well in their own right, yet this loss sends them into a bye week with some frustration … and maybe some questions about whether they can hold the Blackhawks off.

Also, tonight marked a nice milestone for Joel Quenneville:

Matthews, Leafs get last laugh in OT vs. Laine and the Jets

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Hockey fans tend to get their radars up about over-hyping things, particularly promising rookies.

Is it hasty, then, to wonder if there’s something to a rivalry between Auston Matthews (and the Maple Leafs) vs. Patrik Laine (plus the Jets)? If nothing else, the two have come up big in two very exciting games.

Back in October, Laine generated a hat trick as the Jets beat the Maple Leafs 5-4 in overtime. This time around, it was another 5-4 overtime decision … only Matthews and the Maple Leafs took this round.

This isn’t to take anything away from Laine’s performance, mind you. He scored two goals on Tuesday, becoming the rare modern rookie to muster 30 goals. He reminded hockey fans that he only needs the smallest window to make you pay with his deadly, world-class shot.

MORE on that goal and the violence that ensued here.

But Matthews wouldn’t be denied, either, and fittingly did so in a quieter fashion. (Virtually everyone seems a little quieter when Laine’s around, it seems.)

The Maple Leafs’ outstanding rookie managed three assists in this game, giving him 52 points in 59 games. He also has six points in a three-game run and eight in his past five.

Laine? He now has 54 points in 55 games, extending is own point streak to five games (seven goals, three assists).

In other words, it’s really close … just like the games when these two budding stars (and their young, promising teammates) meet.

You might even be tempted to believe the hype.