Get your game notes: Kings at Ducks

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Anaheim Ducks hosting the Los Angeles Kings starting at 10 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• For the 22nd time in Stanley Cup playoff history – and the 16th time since 1994 – the road team won the first four games of a best-of-seven series. In the previous 21 series, the winner of Game 5 went on to win 18 times (.857 win%). The only three teams that lost Game 5, but later won the series, were the 1980 North Stars (vs. Montreal), 1995 Sharks (vs. Calgary) and 2001 Penguins (vs. Buffalo). (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Ducks goaltender John Gibson stopped all 28 shots for a shutout in his NHL postseason debut. The 20-year-old Pittsburgh native, who won gold medals at the international level for Team USA at the U-17 (2010), U-18 (2011) and U-20 (2013) levels, made NHL history in several ways. Elias Sports Bureau
Gibson became…

— the youngest goalie in NHL history to record a shutout in his Stanley Cup playoffs debut (20 years, 330 days),

— the sixth goalie since 1954 to post a shutout in his Stanley Cup playoffs debut (the most recent of the five previous was his current back-up, Jonas Hiller, in 2009)

— the fourth-youngest goalie in NHL history to record a postseason shutout (after Detroit’s Harry Lumley in 1945, Montreal’s Patrick Roy in 1986 and Carey Price in 2008),

— the second goalie in NHL history to record a shutout in both his first regular-season (Apr. 7 vs. Vancouver) and postseason games (Boston’s Tiny Thompson did so in 1928-29)

• The Ducks helped Gibson’s cause by blocking 25 shots in Game 4, led by defensemen Ben Lovejoy (six) and Bryan Allen (five). It was the fifth time this playoff round that any team has blocked 25 or more shots. Four of those times (Montreal – 30 in Game 1, 29 in Game 3; Chicago – 25 in Game 2; and Anaheim – 25 in Game 4), the team won. The only team to lose was the Ducks, which posted 29 blocks in its Game 1 overtime loss to the Kings. They have 72 total in this series (avg. 18.0/game).

• After registering at least one point in his team’s first 10 games, Kings center Anze Kopitar was held without a point in Game 4. The playoff scoring leader (4-11–15) also committed a double-minor for high sticking in the third period, thwarting a possible comeback for his team. Only once in 55 career playoff games has Kopitar spent more time in the penalty box than he did in Game 4 (four minutes): he was assessed a five-minute major for fighting Vancouver’s Alexandre Burrows in 2012.

• As Ryan Getzlaf goes, so go the Ducks in the playoffs. The Anaheim center and team captain, who ranks second in franchise history with 25 goals (behind teammate Teemu Selanne – 35), has single goals in 25 of 78 postseason games. Including his goal that gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead in Game 4, Anaheim is 23-2 when he scores a goal.

• Kings goaltender Martin Jones relieved starter Jonathan Quick (two goals allowed on 11 shots) after the first intermission, and did not face a shot until the 5:29 point of the third period (Getzlaf). The Kings became only the third team in the Expansion Era (1968-present) to allow no shots on goal in an entire period of a playoff game. They were the second team of the trio to lose. (Elias Sports Bureau)

Should Erik Johnson be suspended for ugly play on Namestnikov?

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Vladislav Namestnikov has been the Mikael Renberg equivalent on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Legion of Doom with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov for much of this season, complimenting those two scorers with strong work of his own.

The Lightning were lighting up the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, perhaps frustrating Erik Johnson and others. Whatever the explanation might be, it was a pretty ugly sight when Johnson slashed and then boarded Namestnikov, earning those two penalties plus a game misconduct.

Plenty of people believe that supplemental discipline would be merited for Johnson’s actions. For what it’s worth, “Names” did return to action in the third period. We’ve seen instances where players return only to be hurt anyway, so we’ll see if the nifty winger sees any delayed issues.

Johnson, 29, was suspended for two games by the NHL back in 2014, but has a generally clean history otherwise.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Senators blank Canadiens in NHL 100 Classic

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One win, even in the frosty outdoors for the NHL 100 Classic, only means so much.

Still, the Ottawa Senators probably experienced some ice-cold relief on Saturday, beating the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 during a tightly defended outdoor bout.

It was 0-0 for much of the game until Jean-Gabriel Pageau tipped an Erik Karlsson shot for the first goal with about five minutes remaining in the second period. Bobby Ryan then capitalized on a rough Jonathan Drouin turnover to make it 2-0, while an empty-netter iced the icy evening for Ottawa.

For a night, it was a fun time, and Karlsson reminded us what all the fuss is about, as he logged a ridiculous 32:55 of ice time. And he seemed to be having a good time doing it.

This night laid the “Canadian” on thick, with Bryan Adams performing during the event, and Gary Bettman posing for photos with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?

via Getty

Weird, but OK then.

Generally speaking, things haven’t been that OK for the Senators lately. Such headaches did surface during this frosty-mug-on-ice event, as owner Eugene Melnyk inspired a #Melnykout hashtag on Twitter, not to mention icy barbs like these.

Fair criticisms about the Sens’ bigger picture aside, Ottawa looked nice tonight, with Karlsson shining and Craig Anderson pitching a rare shutout outdoors (shutoutdoors)?

Carey Price generated some nice saves of his own, but couldn’t will Montreal to win in his 10th consecutive start. The Habs rarely got things going against the Senators, seen most easily in Ottawa’s 38-28 advantage in shots on goal.

Nights like these make a bigger impact on fans’ memories and bottom lines, but this marks consecutive wins for the Senators either way. Considering the fact that the Senators hadn’t put back-to-back wins together since they faced the Avalanche in two contests in Sweden, it might not be a big deal, yet it’s far better than the nothing they’ve been coming up with far too often lately.

Also

In other news from the event, Mario Lemieux’s “five goals, five different ways” was named as the NHL’s greatest moment, voted by fans:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Sadly, Capitals aren’t selling this collection of Christmas songs

via Capitals
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Let’s be honest, virtually any time a team gets its players to embrace a holiday theme, it’s in the name of goofiness. And bless NHL teams for this.

When it comes to Movember, you get the fantastic combination of mustaches and charitable contributions.

The holidays are rapidly approaching (hey, I see that Amazon tab open), so we’ll start to see various New Year’s/Christmas/Festivus/etc.-themed fun. Even with that in mind, the Washington Capitals will be tough to top with their collection of Christmas tunes.

Sadly, there’s no Volume 1:

Question: which performance stood out to you the most? While Braden Holtby was fantastic (with a Tomas Plekanec-level turtleneck game), the simple entertainment of watching Alex Ovechkin sing is tough to top.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

 

Video: Michael Grabner totally meant to do this for Rangers

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Depending upon how things go for each team, the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins may very well grapple for a wild-card spot in the East.

Thankfully, it won’t come down to Michael Grabner‘s deeply weird, memorable, and fun goal against Tuukka Rask, a “bank” goal that Grabner totally meant to do. Right?

(Watch that goal in the video above this post’s headline.)

That was Grabner’s 16th goal of 2017-18, which isn’t half-bad for a guy carrying a $1.65 million cap hit this season. Prediction: the speedy winger will cost quite a bit more than that in 2018-19.

As you can see in this video, Alain Vigneault points to Grabner gathering steam in his second season with the Rangers as part of the reason this team is turning things around:

J.T. Miller added a beauty of a goal to make it 2-0, but the Bruins dug deep to tie it 2-2, so we’ll see how the rest of that game goes.

Update: The Rangers ended up edging the Bruins 3-2 in overtime thanks to Mats Zuccarello‘s patient, OTPPGWG.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.