Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers - Game Six

Get your game notes: Kings at Rangers

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the New York Rangers hosting the Los Angeles Kings at 8 p.m. ET in the third game of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Since the Stanley Cup Final went to seven games in 1939, the team that has taken a 2-0 series lead has gone on to win 43 of 48 series (90%), most recently Los Angeles in 2012. The team that swept Games 1 and 2 on home ice has won 32 of 35 series (91%). However, two of the three teams that lost the first two games on the road and rebounded to win the series came in the last five years: the 2009 Penguins and 2011 Bruins. (The third team to come back was the 1971 Canadiens.)

• The Rangers will host a Stanley Cup Final game for the first time since clinching their fourth-ever title on June 14, 1994. This postseason, they have scored 23 goals in 10 home games. Only Detroit (1.00 goals/gm) has scored fewer goals per game at home these playoffs than the Rangers (2.30). Only one forward line (Carl Hagelin – Brad Richards – Martin St. Louis) has provided a consistent scoring punch at home.

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• The Kings have not held an in-game lead since Game 6 of the Western Conference Final (229:15 of official ice time), yet have won three straight games. (The Kings lost the last two games in which they led, in Games 5 and 6 of the Western Conference Final vs. CHI). According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Kings’ 5-4 double-overtime win over the Rangers in Game 2 marked…
—– the first time in Stanley Cup Final history that a team held a 2-0 series lead after not holding an in-game lead in either of the first two games,
—– the first time in Stanley Cup playoff history that a team won three consecutive games in which they trailed by two or more goals,
—– the third time in Stanley Cup Final history a team won consecutive games in which they trailed by at least two goals (Red Wings vs. NYR – Gms. 6 and 7, 1950; Flyers vs. EDM – Gms. 5 and 6, 1987),
—– the fifth time the Kings fell behind 2-0 in their last nine games (in those games, they are 4-1),
—– the Kings’ fourth multi-goal comeback win this postseason, the most by any team in one playoff year since 1987 (Flyers – 5), and
—– the Kings’ seventh comeback win of any margin this postseason, the most in the playoffs.

• Kings winger Justin Williams (8-15—23) continued his offensive tear with three assists in Game 2 to move into a tie for second in playoff scoring with teammate Jeff Carter (9-14—23), right behind Anze Kopitar, 25 points (5-20—25). This postseason, the Kings are 12-2 when Williams registers a point (2-7 when he does not have a point), and 7-0 when he registers two or more points.

• Kings winger Marian Gaborik scored his playoff-leading 13th goal to tie the game at four in the third period. Gaborik, who needs two goals to match Wayne Gretzky’s franchise record for goals in a playoff year (15 in 1993), established a club record with 11 even-strength goals in a playoff year. It is the most by any player since Colorado’s Joe Sakic scored 12 goals at even strength in 1996.

• Kings defenseman Drew Doughty led all players in Game 2 with a career-high 41:41 time on ice. Only one skater, Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, has registered more time on ice in a game this postseason (44:08 in Game 1 of first-round series vs. Chicago) Doughty, the playoffs leader in points among defensemen (5-12—17) had no points or shots on goal, but registered two hits and two blocked shots.

• Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final went to overtime for the third straight year, and fifth time in NHL history (1946, 1951, 2012-14). Only once, in 1951, have at least the first three games of the Cup Final gone to OT. That season, all five games between Toronto and Montreal went past regulation; the Maple Leafs won that series, four-games-to-one.

Video: Drouin equalizes, but Rust strikes again 30 seconds later

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Bryan Rust is really having himself a series.

After opening the scoring in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final, Rust took matters into his own hands after Jonathan Drouin evened the score for Tampa Bay, notching his second goal of the game — just 30 seconds after Drouin scored — to put Pittsburgh back out in front, 2-1.

Before digging into the Rust goal (posted above), let’s take a moment to appreciate Drouin’s snipe, one that whizzed by Pittsburgh netminder Matt Murray:

Now, back to Rust.

With that second goal he’s now racked up eight points for the playoffs, just three back of the 11 he put up over the course of the entire regular season. The former Notre Dame standout has become a major storyline, and now sits tied with Patric Hornqvist for the team lead in even-strength playoff goals.

Not bad for a guy that spent a fair chunk of the year in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, eh?

Video: Rust opens scoring in Game 7

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What an Eastern Conference Final for Bryan Rust.

Rust scored his second goal of the series — and third point in as many games — to open the scoring on Friday night, giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead over the Lighting at Consol.

After scoring just 11 points during the regular season, Rust — in just his second season at the NHL level — now has seven points in 16 playoff games, and has emerged as a vital bottom-six contributor in the process.

Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin notched assists on Rust’s goal, which came early in the second period. The Pens out-shot the Bolts 8-5 in the first period, but were unable to get one past Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Oh, and speaking of Kunitz, he’s also produced extremely well in this series — he now has six points in his last five games.

Shock of Lightning: Stamkos will play

Steven Stamkos
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He’s in.

As if Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final couldn’t get any more dramatic, it has — Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos, who hasn’t played since Mar. 31, will make his playoff debut against the Penguins tonight.

Stamkos underwent vascular surgery in early April to correct a blood clotting issue, and has remained on blood thinners ever since. While there’s been no confirmation he’s off medication, he did tell Sportsnet he’d be able to return to the lineup once he was.

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Stamkos reiterated that he’s still on the same prescription of blood thinners he was given earlier this month. He takes a 12-hour dosage, twice a day, and it has been suggested to him that once he is cleared to stop taking the medication, Stamkos conceivably could return to the Lightning lineup almost immediately.

That’s why I’m trying to stay in shape,” he said.

Per NHL.com, Stamkos took the warmup and participated in line rushes centering Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan.

It’s been exactly eight weeks since Stamkos played his last game. At the time of his diagnosis, the Lightning said his timetable for recovery was 1-3 months.

To say his return will be a boost is a major understatement. Aside from the emotional factor, Stamkos led the Bolts in goals this year, with 36, and would presumably spark a power play that’s gone just 2-for-12 in the series.

 

Drama builds as Stamkos takes Game 7 warmup

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 26:  Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 26, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Lightning shutout the Devils 4-0.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Steve Stamkos took the team bus to tonight’s Eastern Conference Game 7 in Pittsburgh. As TVA noted, it was the first time he’s arrived early for a game in these playoffs.

In his pregame presser, Bolts head coach Jon Cooper refused to answer any questions about Stamkos’ availability.

And then Stamkos took the warmup.

As such, the drama surrounding Tampa Bay’s captain has reached an all-time high. Stamkos, who’s been out of the lineup since early April due to blood clots, looks as though he’s on the verge of an emotional comeback as the Lightning try to win an ECF Game 7 — on the road — for a second consecutive season.

“If Stamkos is in the lineup, it’s our best foot forward,” Cooper said. “If he’s not in the lineup, it’s because he wasn’t eligible to play.”

No word if No. 91 is still on the blood thinning medication he’s been taking since undergoing vascular surgery on Apr. 4.

Stay tuned…