Los Angeles Kings v Anaheim Ducks - Game Five

Get your Game 7 notes: Kings at Ducks

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Anaheim Ducks hosting the Los Angeles Kings at 9 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• The Kings and Ducks will meet in the sixth Game 7 of the 2014 playoffs, and third of the second round. The road team is 4-1 in Game 7s so far in 2014. Since the playoffs went to best-of-seven series in all rounds in 1987, it is only the third time that four road teams won Game 7s in a single postseason (previously done in 2009 and 2010). Never have five road teams won in a single postseason.

• The Kings became the fourth team in Stanley Cup playoff history to win four straight games after falling behind three-games-to-none, in their first-round series vs. San Jose. Then, they won Game 6 vs. Anaheim, down three-games-to-two. If they win Game 7 tonight, they will become only the third team in history to win six straight games when facing elimination in one postseason. The N.Y. Islanders won eight straight in 1975 and the Minnesota Wild won six straight in 2003. Elias Sports Bureau

• Kings winger Justin Williams has never lost in a Game 7 (5-0) and has figured prominently in each of his team’s Game 7 wins (See table). Williams (5-5–10) has the game-winning goal in two games, an assist on the game-winning goal in two others, and an empty-net goal that clinched a Stanley Cup title.

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• The Ducks’ 20-year-old goaltender, John Gibson (2-1, 1.69 GAA, .946 save%, one shutout), will join a select group when he starts Game 7 in his first-ever playoff series. Only Harry Lumley (DET, 1945), Patrick Roy (MTL, 1986), Jim Carey (WSH, 1995) and Carey Price (MTL, 2008) previously started a Game 7 in their first-ever playoff series before turning 21. Lumley, Roy and Price all won.

• Kings winger Marian Gaborik, who is also 5-0 all-time in Game 7s (2-0 with Minnesota, 2-0 with the N.Y. Rangers, 1-0 with L.A.), leads the playoffs in goals, with eight. Five of those goals have come in this series. Only one other player has scored five times in a postseason series in 2014: Colorado center Paul Stastny, in the first round vs. Minnesota. (The Avalanche lost in seven games.)

• Only one Anaheim player, center Saku Koivu, has a winning career record (2-1) in Game 7s, with both wins coming with Montreal vs. Boston (2004, 2008). Four current Ducks were on the squad that last won a Game 7 for the franchise, in 2006: forwards Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne (who scored the game-winning goal in a 3-0 win vs. CGY) and defenseman Francois Beauchemin. Selanne was also on the winning side the only other time Anaheim won a Game 7, in 1997 vs. PHX.

• Kings center Anze Kopitar, who leads the playoffs in scoring (4-13–17), has not scored a goal this series, but has contributed in other ways. He leads all players with seven assists (including five in L.A.’s three wins) and a +4 rating. In Games 5 and 6, he went 16/19 (84.2%) on faceoffs vs. Ducks center (and fellow Selke Trophy finalist) Ryan Getzlaf after going 20/43 (46.5%) in Games 1-4.

Foley is ‘9.5’ out of 10 confident that NHL will expand to Vegas

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 10:  NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (L) and Fidelity National Financial Inc. Chairman and President of Hockey Vision Las Vegas Bill Foley pose during a news conference at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino announcing the launch of a season ticket drive to try to gauge if there is enough interest in Las Vegas to support an NHL team on February 10, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A Las Vegas franchise would play in a USD 375 million, 20,000-seat arena being built on the Strip by MGM Resorts International and AEG that is scheduled to open in the spring of 2016.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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On a scale of 1 to 10, Bill Foley is “9.5” confident that the NHL will grant him an expansion team for Las Vegas.

That was the main takeaway from an interview Foley did with KSNV NBC in Las Vegas.

At the same time, despite his high level of confidence, Foley would appreciate an answer sooner rather than later — especially if the team is to start playing in 2017-18.

” I don’t want to give the league too much time,” he said, smiling. “They’re doing their job, they’re doing their process and so on. We would really like to have the word by June.”

Foley was asked what he believed to be the biggest “concern” the NHL had about expansion. He replied that it was a matter of whether the league expanded by one team or two (Quebec City has also applied for a franchise), but also the expansion draft.

“Who’s available in the draft? Are players with no-trade clauses…are they going to be part of the draft or not part of the draft?” Foley wondered. “So the owners and the league have a lot of things to do and to figure out.”

Full video of the interview can be found here.

Related: Bettman rejects notion that the NHL is waiting for Seattle

Goalie nods: Backup extraordinaire Montoya gets the call versus Wings

Florida Panthers goalie Al Montoya watches game action against the New Jersey Devils' during the second period of a NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
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The Florida Panthers have had no problem giving Roberto Luongo the odd night off this season. That’s because Al Montoya has been one of the best backups in the league.

Montoya (8-2-1, .931) will get the call tonight in Detroit, with Luongo (23-13-5, .930) expected to start tomorrow in Buffalo.

The Panthers have the highest team save percentage in the NHL, at .926 (which includes empty-net goals).

“They both give us a chance to win every night,” Panthers d-man Brian Campbell told the Miami Herald recently. “Both make huge saves for us at times. You need consistent saves every night and they both bring it. Montoya gets put into a tough spot a lot of times and nothing seems to change.”

Beyond Montoya, other NHL backups with particularly good numbers include the Flyers’ Michal Neuvirth (.933), the Kings’ Jhonas Enroth (.931), the Blues’ Brian Elliott (.930), the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss (.929), and the Wild’s Darcy Kuemper (.928).

Petr Mrazek will start for the Red Wings. He used to be Detroit’s backup, but he’s since surpassed Jimmy Howard for the starting job.

Elsewhere…

Cory Schneider for the Devils at MSG, versus Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers.

John Gibson for the Ducks in Pittsburgh, versus Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.

— Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Lightning in Ottawa, versus Craig Anderson for the Sens.

Blues put Pietrangelo on IR with knee injury

Pietrangelo-Coyle
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Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.

Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.

Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.

The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.

The first day of the playoffs is April 13.

Update:

Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made

“I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds

Alain Vigneault
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Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.

This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.

“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”

Simmonds’ punch left McDonagh concussed and unable to play tonight versus New Jersey, with no timetable for his return.

Earlier this season, Vigneault voiced his frustration with the league after Rangers center Derek Stepan suffered broken ribs in Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey.

Vigneault felt the hit was late.

“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” the former Vancouver Canucks coach said, recalling the contentious 2011 final.

Beleskey was not suspended.