Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Five

Get your game notes: Wild at Avalanche

21 Comments

Tonight on CNBC, it’s the Colorado Avalanche hosting the Minnesota Wild starting at 9 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• The Wild and Avalanche are meeting for the second time in a Game 7 at Pepsi Center in Denver. In 2003, Minnesota’s Andrew Brunette scored at 3:25 of overtime in Game 7 of the 2003 Western Conference Quarterfinals to end the playing career of Avs goaltender Patrick Roy. As a player, Roy was 7-2 at home in Game 7s (including 4-2 for Colorado), and 0-5 on the road (0-3 for Colorado).

• The home team has won all seven games in a playoff series nine times in NHL history, most recently in the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals, won by Los Angeles over San Jose. The last time that the home team won the first six games of a series and lost in Game 7 was also last season, in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, when the N.Y. Rangers blanked Washington 5-0 in the series decider.

• The NHL’s two leading scorers this postseason, Minnesota’s Zach Parise (3-7–10) and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon (2-8–10), have feasted on their opponents on home ice this series. That is something that bodes well for the Avs’ rookie, who will play Game 7 at home, where he’s scored all 10 of his points.

• MacKinnon, who in Game 5 became the highest-scoring teenager playing in his first playoff series (18 years, 237 days), is tied with Maurice “Rocket” Richard for the most points at home in his first-ever playoff series. The Hockey Hall of Famer registered 10 points in three games at the Montreal Forum for the Canadiens in the 1944 NHL Semifinals. Elias Sports Bureau

• Parise set two Wild playoff records in Game 6, becoming the first Minnesota player to register four points (two goals, two assists) in a playoff game, and the fastest to score a goal (49 seconds into the first period). Since arriving in Minnesota before the 2013 season, Parise has registered a point in 13 of 15 games versus Colorado (regular season and playoffs), and multiple points in five of those 15.

• The Minnesota-Colorado series has featured four one-goal games, including three games settled in overtime. In their last 15 postseason meetings, the Wild and Avs have contested 12 one-goal games. (Seven were won by Minnesota.) Two other times, in Games 2 and 6 of this series, the teams were separated by one goal late, until empty-net goals widened the final margin.

• Four times this series, Avs coach Patrick Roy has pulled goalie Semyon Varlamov (3-3 record, 2.45 GAA, .923 save%) with more than two minutes to go in the third period and down by a goal. The Avs tied the game with the extra attacker in their two comeback attempts at home, and won both in overtime.

• Avalanche center Paul Stastny scored a shorthanded goal in Game 6 for his fourth goal of the playoffs, tied for the NHL lead with Jamie Benn (DAL), Wayne Simmonds (PHI), Justin Williams (LAK) and Vladimir Tarasenko (STL). Stastny became only the 15th player in Stanley Cup playoff history to score goals at even strength, on the power play, shorthanded, and in overtime in one series. He joined his father, Peter, who did it for the Quebec Nordiques versus the Hartford Whalers in 1987. Elias Sports Bureau

Looking to make the leap: Daniel Sprong

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 15:  Daniel Sprong #41 of the Pittsburgh Penguins handles the puck in front of Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators during the game at Consol Energy Center on October 15, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Getty
3 Comments

This is part of Pittsburgh Penguins day at PHT…

Daniel Sprong was stuck in a difficult position during the 2015-16 season.

He ended up being just one of eight players from the 2015 draft to play in the NHL, spending the first two months of the season in Pittsburgh after earning a spot on the roster thanks to an impressive training camp and preseason performance. But once there the Penguins really didn’t seem to know what to do with him. He showed flashes of the talent that earned him a spot on the roster, but it was also clear that his play away from the puck needed work and that he never completely had the trust of then-coach Mike Johnston.

If he was not a healthy scratch, he was only playing limited minutes.

But because he was only 18 years old, he was not eligible to play in the American Hockey League during the regular season due to the AHL-CHL transfer agreement.

That meant if he wasn’t going to play in Pittsburgh, a league that was probably a little too advanced for him at the time, he had to return to the QMJHL to play for his junior team, the Charlottetown Islanders, in a league that he was probably too good for. It’s an agreement that works great for the CHL, but doesn’t really give prospects the best chance to develop that season because their only options are a league where they are overmatched or a league where they are probably the best player on the ice every time they go over the boards.

Eventually, the Penguins were left with little choice and did in fact return him to the Q where he, quite predictably, dominated the competition and recorded 46 points in 33 games.

At the conclusion of Charlottetown’s season, he was able to play for the Penguins’ AHL team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during the playoffs where he scored five goals and added two assists in only 10 games.

The problem he is going to face this season is that the Penguins’ forward group is already mostly locked in at the start as they are returning everybody from their Stanley Cup winning roster, which is going to make things tight for somebody new to break into the lineup.

But Sprong is clearly the team’s best forward prospect at the moment and one of the few players in the system that seems to have top-six potential. Whether it’s through his own play forcing his way into NHL action or an injury, he should have an opportunity to be a factor at some point this season.

‘He’s earned it’ — Jets name Wheeler new captain

CALGARY, AB - MARCH 16: Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on March 16, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Getty
7 Comments

It was widely assumed that Blake Wheeler would inherit Andrew Ladd‘s captaincy in Winnipeg and, on Wednesday, the club made it official.

Wheeler, 30, will become the second player to captain the Jets since the franchise moved from Atlanta in 2011, with Dustin Byfuglien and Mark Scheifele serving as alternates.

The Wheeler decision was something of a no-brainer, as he’s one of the club’s longest tenured player (seven seasons and counting), spending the the last three as one of Ladd’s alternate captains.

In the summer of ’13, Wheeler inked a six-year, $33.6 million extension with the Jets and has since established himself as one of the clubhouse leaders. He was a prominent voice during the Evander Kane saga, mincing no words when explaining what was expected of Jets players.

“There’s a standard that everyone needs to live up to,” Wheeler said, per the Sun. “We’re professionals, we make a lot of money. And we’re expected to uphold a certain standard. That’s the code we live by.

“If you don’t like it then there’s other places to go. This is the way we do things.”

Flyers unveil golden 50th anniversary jerseys

GirouxGold
@NHLFlyers
8 Comments

It might seem inappropriate to release Flyers news on Pittsburgh Penguins day at PHT but, given the immediate backlash to said news, maybe it’s appropriate after all.

On Wednesday, the Flyers unveiled their commemorative 50th anniversary jerseys, which are basically regular Flyers jerseys, but with some gold on them.

Not sure what else to say. They’re gold. Guess it’s worth mentioning the inside collar of each jersey is emblazoned with “EST. 1967,” an homage to the year the Flyers entered the NHL as an expansion franchise.

Oh yeah, Philly will wear the new third jersey 12 times this season, per TSN.

Shortly after the release, the Internet went ahead and did what it does:

For more on the jerseys, click here.

Stars promote White, Janko to assistant GM roles

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: Jim Nill of the Detroit Red Wings works the draft floor during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
1 Comment

The Dallas Stars made some front office adjustments on Wednesday.

Longtime executive Les Jackson, 63, has been “elevated” from his role as Jim Nill’s assistant GM to “senior advisor to the general manager” while Scott White, the GM of Dallas’ AHL affiliate in Texas, has been promoted to AGM.

White will work alongside fellow new AGM Mark Janko, who was promoted from his role as the club’s director of hockey administration.

What does it all mean?

Not a ton, though it’s interesting to note the club is shifting Jackson’s role after he was close to taking the Arizona gig earlier this year.

Jackson was believed to be the original frontrunner to replace the outgoing Don Maloney but, after he and the Coyotes were unable to strike a deal, the club proceeded to hire 26-year-old John Chayka, the youngest GM in NHL history.