Scoring first is always important, but it might matter even more in the 2012 Stanley Cup finals. New Jersey and the Los Angeles Kings are a combined 16-3 in the playoffs when scoring first.
Of course, you’d be hard pressed to find a scenario that the Kings haven’t excelled in during their postseason run, but the Devils are just 4-5 in the playoffs after surrendering the first goal.
It goes beyond that though. Both of these teams have been exceptionally good at protecting a lead in the playoffs. The Devils and Kings have only lost a combined three games when leading after 20 minutes. They also have a perfect record in games where they’ve led after 40 minutes.
“We’ve been focusing on starts, and our starts have been pretty good, getting the first goal,” Anze Kopitar said. “It’s easier when you’re not playing catch-up hockey, and obviously everybody knows that. It’s easier with the lead.”
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger