Kings Blackhawks Hockey

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: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.

Video: Orpik penalized after catching Maatta with late, high hit

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The Pittsburgh Penguins were without defenseman Olli Maatta for most of the first period of Game 2 after he was on the receiving end of a high, late hit from Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik.

The hit occurred early in the first period, well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck on a rush into the Washington zone.

Maatta, who nearly fell over as he tried to stand back up, was in obvious distress as he went to the dressing room. Orpik was given a minor penalty for interference on the play.

Shanahan: Leafs earned No. 1 pick ‘the hard way’

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It’s been 31 years since the Toronto Maple Leafs had the No. 1 overall pick at the draft.

And, to hear team president Brendan Shanahan explain it, getting back to that top spot wasn’t easy — on anybody.

“We earned this the hard way,” Shanahan told Sportsnet on Saturday, moments after winning the draft lottery. “It wasn’t a whole lot of fun this year, but our guys and our coaching staff and our management staff did a lot of really good things here in Toronto.

“This [the No. 1 overall pick] will certainly help.”

It’s easy to see why optimism is high within the organization.

The last time Toronto had the No. 1 pick it selected Wendel Clark, who went on to become a revered player. He played for the Leafs on three separate occasions, served as team captain and now works for the organization in a public relations and community ambassador role.

This year, the opportunity to make a similar impact is there.

Auston Matthews, viewed as the odds-on favorite to go first overall, possesses the elite-level talent that could turn a franchise around. And there are few teams in more need of a turn than Toronto — as Shanahan alluded to, this was a very difficult year, as the Leafs finished dead last in the standings and were the only NHL club not to crack the 30-win plateau.

Part of that was by design. The Leafs dealt away Phil Kessel prior to the season, Dion Phaneuf during it and jettisoned a host of other productive players: James Reimer, Roman Polak, Nick Spaling, Daniel Winnik and Shawn Matthias, to name a few.

By the end of the year, the Leafs were a mishmash of AHLers, spare parts and a few future pieces.

Speaking of the future…

Assuming the Leafs go the Matthews route, it’s expected he’ll make an immediate impact on the lineup. TSN already has him penciled in as the No. 2 center — playing the middle on a line with the club’s other top prospect, William Nylander — and Matthews’ head coach in Switzerland this season, Marc Crawford, used L.A. Kings star Anze Kopitar as a potential comparison.

Of course, there is a chance Matthews isn’t the pick.

Finnish sensation Patrick Laine has been making waves recently, thanks in large part to capturing SM-liiga playoff MVP honors this week. Laine has the kind of goalscoring ability and booming shot that would translate well — and, immediately — to the NHL level, though he is a winger.

Not a center, like Matthews.

Regardless of who the Leafs pick, this much is clear — they bottomed out this season with the intention of getting a high draft pick and, while the process was very painful at times, everything worked out in the end.

“When you have an opportunity to pick first overall, it’s an important moment for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it’s an important moment for our fans,” Shanahan explained. “Our ownership group has given us the support to do this build the right way.”

Tank you very much: Leafs win NHL Draft Lottery, retain No. 1 overall pick

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have gone from worst to first.

The Leafs finished dead last in the NHL’s overall standings, giving them the best odds of winning Saturday’s draft lottery. And when the big show ended, Toronto had landed that top pick for the draft on June 24.

Outside of Toronto, the biggest winner Saturday had to be the Winnipeg Jets. They entered the day with the sixth best odds of getting the top pick at just 7.5 per cent. They were able to move all the way up to the second overall pick, which could certainly land them a franchise player and one that could definitely be ready to make the jump into the NHL next season.

The biggest loser? You could definitely argue it was the Vancouver Canucks. They finished 28th in the overall standings, giving them an 11.5 per cent chance of winning the No. 1 pick. But they fell all the way to fifth.

The Edmonton Oilers? Well, they didn’t win. Had they won the lottery, it would’ve given them the first overall pick for the fifth time in seven years.

Here is the 2016 draft order:

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs
  2. Winnipeg Jets
  3. Columbus Blue Jackets
  4. Edmonton Oilers
  5. Vancouver Canucks
  6. Calgary Flames
  7. Arizona Coyotes
  8. Buffalo Sabres
  9. Montreal Canadiens
  10. Colorado Avalanche
  11. New Jersey Devils
  12. Ottawa Senators
  13. Carolina Hurricanes
  14. Boston Bruins

Now that the order is set, who will go No. 1, 2 and 3 in that opening round?

Auston Matthews has long held the title as the top-ranked player heading into this draft. But there’s been increasing chatter that Finnish winger Patrik Laine has at least closed the gap between him and Matthews for that first overall selection, according to Bob McKenzie of TSN.

Meanwhile, fellow Finnish forward Jesse Puljujärvi likely rounds out the top three, following a sensational showing at the 2016 World Junior Championships.