The Los Angeles Kings have taken a 1-0 series lead in the 2012 Stanley Cup finals, and that’s a very big deal because 76% of Game 1 winners in best-of-seven Cup finals have gone on to win it all.
That said, the trend has been derailed in recent years. The Boston Bruins managed to overcome a 1-0 deficit in 2011 and the Pittsburgh Penguins bounced back after surrendering Game 1 to the Detroit Red Wings in 2009.
A few more facts to chew on:
— The last team to lose Game 1 at home and still win the Stanley Cup was Tampa Bay in 2004. In the history of the NHL, only nine teams have ever bounced back in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals series after losing Game 1 at home.
— This was Martin Brodeur’s 200th postseason contest. The only other goaltender to reach that mark was Patrick Roy (247).
— Anze Kopitar netted his seventh goal of the season, but the 2012 playoffs goal-scoring leaders are still Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux and Danny Briere (eight). Not bad for a duo that hasn’t played since the second round.
— The Kings improved to 9-0 on the road in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, extending their NHL record for one playoff season. They have outscored their opponents 32-14 in the nine victories. The Kings have also won 11 straight away from home dating to the 2011 postseason, another playoff record.
— You’d think home-ice advantage would matter if a game goes to overtime, but that hasn’t been the case lately. Road teams have now claimed 12 of the last 15 overtime games in the finals.
— There’s been plenty of talk about the benefits of blocking shots, but the Los Angeles Kings only blocked six in Game 1.
— If you’re a Devils fan looking for a silver lining, here it is: The last team to win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals in overtime was the Carolina Hurricanes in 2002. The Detroit Red Wings bounced back and ended up winning the series in five games.
Serious performance: Blackhawks gain on Wild thanks to Toews’ five points
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.
Price didn’t just play for Habs; he made the difference vs. Rangers
It’s one thing for Carey Price to shake off that Paul Byron shot in warm-ups. And, honestly, that bump from Shea Weber during the game. But to play like, well, Carey Price? That would be something else.
Well, you probably saw this one coming … but Price had some absolutely great moments against the New York Rangers in an eventual 3-2 shootout win.
He was the main difference-maker, although it must be said that there’s some comic relief in Byron scoring the shootout-winner.
Price vs. Rick Nash felt like a subplot of the overall story.
On one occasion, Price made a resounding stop on a Nash breakaway:
It was quite the night for the aging power forward, however, as he nailed his other opportunity.
Some might be a little sad that Nash vs. Price didn’t go against each other in the shootout, but hey, maybe the two teams could save that for next time?
The Canadiens needed this win more than the Rangers. The Ottawa Senators actually briefly went ahead for first place in the Atlantic Division, but now Montreal has 72 points to Ottawa’s 70 … while the Sens hold two games in hand.
This tweet might only live for a few minutes, but the Ottawa Senators are in first place in the Atlantic Division.
It’s been a nice milestone night for young Jets scorers, as Nikolaj Ehlers also scored his 20th goal of 2016-17.
That 30th goal came less than 30 seconds after Leo Komarov‘s second goal of the contest, putting Winnipeg up 4-3 heading into the third period. For all we know, the Jets might need even more from Laine tonight.
No helmet, no stick, no problem as Preds’ Watson blocks shot anyway
Sometimes, when you ponder a player who opts not to wear a visor, you wonder if that person cares about their health. Then you remember that it takes a certain mixture of bravery and recklessness to be a professional hockey player in the first place.
Even so, there are moments that stand out as especially “hockey tough” – and, yes, reckless – with Austin Watson of the Nashville Predators fitting both labels well on Tuesday.
It’s already brave and dangerous to block a shot with your full gear, but Watson did so without his stick and without his helmet against the Calgary Flames. Luckily, the shot didn’t hit him up high … but dude.