Get your game notes: ‘Hawks at Kings

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the L.A. Kings hosting the Chicago Blackhawks starting at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• After a four-point performance (3-1—4) in Game 2, Kings center Jeff Carter registered three more points (1-2—3) in Game 3. Carter became the first L.A. player to post 3+ points in consecutive playoff games since 1993, when Wayne Gretzky had back-to-back four-point nights in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final vs. TOR (3-1—4) and Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final vs. MTL (1-3—4). Carter and Gretzky were on the winning side in each of their two multi-point games. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• This series, the Kings’ second line (a.k.a. “That 70s Line”) of #70 Tanner Pearson (0-4—4) – #77 Carter (4-4—8) – #73 Tyler Toffoli (3-0—3) has combined for 15 points (7-8—15), exactly as many as the rest of the Kings’ roster combined (4-11—15). In Game 3, Toffoli scored a goal for the third straight game, becoming only the third rookie since 1992 to score at least one goal in three consecutive conference final or Stanley Cup Final games in one playoff year. (Elias Sports Bureau)

Dwight King: Los Angeles 2012 Western Conference Final Games 1, 2, 3 (four goals)
Chris Kreider:  N.Y. Rangers 2012 Eastern Conference Final Games 1, 2, 3 (three goals)
Toffoli: Los Angeles 2014 Western Conference Final Games 1, 2, 3 (three goals)

• While Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews scored two first-period goals on his only two shots on goal of the game in Game 3, teammate Patrick Kane was kept off the score sheet for the third straight game. Kane, who scored three goals in the second round vs. MIN (including his “Showtime” goal in Game 1 and series-clincher in overtime of Game 6), has zero points, seven shots on goal and a -3 rating vs. L.A.

• In the past three postseasons (2012-2014), Carter has 22 playoff goals, the most in the NHL (Chicago’s Brian Bickell is next, with 17). In the past five (2010-2014), Carter and two other former Philadelphia Flyers have the most goals. All three are playing on one of the teams currently vying for the 2014 Stanley Cup title: Montreal’s Daniel Briere (30), Chicago’s Patrick Sharp (28) and Carter (28).

• The Blackhawks, who went 1-2 on the road in each of their first two series this postseason, would be guaranteed of a losing road record in this series with a loss at Staples Center in Game 4 (or a potential Game 6). The 1969-70 St. Louis Blues were the last team to reach the Stanley Cup Final after posting a losing road record in all of their series leading up. (In a three-round playoff system, the Blues went 1-2 on the road vs. both Minnesota and Pittsburgh, then were swept by Boston in the Final.) (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Through the first two rounds (vs. STL and MIN) and first five periods of the Western Conference Final (vs. LA), the Blackhawks allowed four goals on 50 shorthanded opportunities, for an NHL-best 92.0% penalty-kill efficiency. In their last four periods (the third period of Game 2 and all of Game 3), they allowed three PPG (Carter, Jake Muzzin, Slava Voynov) on five shorthanded opportunities (40.0%).

• Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has allowed nine goals on his last 45 shots faced (.800 save%) after allowing only one goal on 43 shots to begin the series. Crawford, who was the losing goalie in Games 2 and 3, has only lost three straight playoff games on two previous occasions: Games 1-3 vs. Vancouver in 2011 (his first-career playoff games) and Games 2-4 vs. Detroit in 2013.

• This postseason, Chicago has allowed 23 goals in seven road games (3.29 goals/game). In those games, the Blackhawks are 0-5 when allowing three or more goals; 2-0 when allowing two or fewer. During the 2013-14 regular season, the Blackhawks were 4-11-6 when allowing 3+ goals in a road game; 15-3-2 when allowing two or fewer.

Video: Johansen, Fisher join in Predators’ conference title celebration

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After reaching their first ever Western Conference Final, the Nashville Predators topped that in a big way, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.

There were a lot of firsts and rarities along the way.

In ousting the Anaheim Ducks with a 6-3 victory in Game 6, GM David Poile’s team advanced to the championship round for the first time in his lengthy time as an executive.

Peter Laviolette also became the fourth coach in NHL history to bring three different teams to a Stanley Cup Final. The Predators are also the first 16th seed to make it this far.

Yep, that’s a long list of milestones (and not a comprehensive one). And, to think, the Predators haven’t even been on the brink of elimination during the postseason yet.

It’s special stuff, so don’t be surprised by the boisterous celebration you can see in the video above this post’s headline.

P.K. Subban: No city in the NHL ‘has anything on Nashville’

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If there’s one thing we can agree upon about the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s that these months have really cemented just how hockey-mad Nashville has become for its Predators.

(Yes, you can call it “Smashville” if you’d like.)

The scene at Bridgestone Arena was as boisterous as ever in the Predators’ 6-3 Game 6 win against the Anaheim Ducks, with legions of fans packing and surrounding the building.

Sights like these have becoming resoundingly normal for a hockey market that was once questioned by media and other fan bases:

Yeah, wow.

As the Predators advanced to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final, plenty of people were making jokes at the expense of the Montreal Canadiens for trading P.K. Subban. Of course, Subban wouldn’t take a shot at the Habs during such a great moment, but his praise for puck-nutty Predators fans says a lot in itself.

“I played in an A+ market my whole career,” Subban said, via Jeremy K. Gover of the Nashville Predators Radio Network. “There’s not a city in the league that has anything on Nashville.”

Whether their opponent is the Pittsburgh Penguins or Ottawa Senators, we already know that Nashville will begin the Stanley Cup Final on the road. That’s OK … Predators fans might need some time to get their voices back and recover from celebrating, so waiting until Games 3 and 4 might be a blessing in disguise.

Ducks’ Cogliano just doesn’t think Predators were the better team

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The Anaheim Ducks battled their way to Game 6 of the Western Conference Final, but Colton Sissons and the Nashville Predators ended their season on Monday.

The Ducks are processing that disappointment – being just two wins away from a trip to the championship round – and some of their reactions might spark a little controversy.

Specifically, it sounds a bit like Bruce Boudreau believing that his Minnesota Wild were superior to the St. Louis Blues despite falling in that series.

Andrew Cogliano, it must be noted, was spurned by Pekka Rinne on some early chances in Game 6. He likely feels as frustrated as any Ducks player right now.

Sisson’s hat-trick goal, making it 4-3 before two empty-netters cemented the 6-3 finish, was the dagger that finally put the hard-working Ducks down.

One can understand some of those feelings from Anaheim, especially considering the frustration of a) getting over Jonathan Bernier‘s early struggles to make a very real game of this and b) occasionally carrying the play in a dramatic way, including in Game 6.

Still, the Predators got the right combination of great stretches of play from Rinne and strong work from the expected and the unexpected, such as Sissons.

For an aging star like Ryan Getzlaf – a player who produced some of his best work late in the season and during the playoffs – you have to wonder how many chances remain.

Predators eliminate Ducks, reach first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history

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Colton Sissons made a serious argument that the Nashville Predators do, indeed, still have a No. 1 center.

At least, he certainly played that way on Monday, generating a hat trick as the Predators eliminated the Anaheim Ducks via a 6-3 win, taking the series 4-2.

In doing so, the Predators advanced to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

That 6-3 score is very misleading. While Nashville managed 2-0 and 3-1 leads, there was plenty of drama in this one, as the Ducks did not go down easily. Cam Fowler tied it up 3-3 in the third period, briefly stunning a rowdy crowd in Nashville.

Sissons was up to the task, however, settling down a bouncing puck on an otherwise stupendous Calle Jarnkrok pass to score the game-winner, notching a hat trick in the process. Sissons continues to be an unlikely hero for a Predators team dealing with the absence of Ryan Johansen (not to mention Mike Fisher, Craig Smith, and others).

Two empty-netters inflated the score, and they also sapped drama from the closing moments, which must have been quite the relief considering how much resolve Anaheim showed.

Peter Laviolette distinguishes himself as one of the NHL’s most underrated bench bosses, becoming just the fourth coach in league history to take three different teams to a Stanley Cup Final. He couldn’t win it all with the Philadelphia Flyers, but he does have a ring thanks to his time with the Carolina Hurricanes. Perhaps he’ll take another one this spring?

It’s quite the moment for GM David Poile, too, after trading Shea Weber for P.K. Subban and Seth Jones for Johansen, among other pivotal moves.

The Ducks might wonder what could have been if John Gibson played instead of Jonathan Bernier. Bernier struggled early, allowing two goals on the first three shots he faced and generally having a tough Game 6. Pekka Rinne, meanwhile, maintained his mostly great run in the playoffs; he protected a Predators lead even when the Ducks dominated long stretches of play.

Now the Predators get a nice rest, as the Eastern Conference Final continues with a Game 6 on Tuesday (and possibly a Game 7 on Thursday).

They’ll limp a bit toward that final round, but the Predators seem to be embracing new territory. And sometimes new heroes.