Get your game notes: Kings at Rangers

7 Comments

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.

source:

• 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.

Talbot torments Ducks as Oilers take 2-0 series lead

2 Comments

Those who vehemently argued for Cam Talbot being a Vezina finalist likely felt vindicated tonight (even if postseason results don’t factor into the voting).

In Game 1, Leon Draisaitl stole the show. Talbot was the standout of Game 2, snubbing a steady Ducks threat as Edmonton won 2-1 on Friday.

And, just like that, the Oilers are up 2-0 in their second-round series against the Anaheim Ducks. Better yet for this young group: the venue shifts to what’s likely to be a rowdy scene in Edmonton for Games 3 and 4.

The tone was set when Andrej Sekera scored just 65 seconds into the contest. That said, the Oilers could have sulked when a would-be 2-0 goal was called off (and they had to kill a penalty). Instead, they just kept battling, even after Jakob Silfverberg ended Talbot’s shutout bit with a laser beam on the power play.

Speaking of the power play, the Oilers managed to match the Ducks (1-for-4 each on the PP), even as Talbot faced 12 shots on goal during Anaheim’s power-play opportunities.

Talbot ultimately made 39 of 40 stops, and while the Ducks kept Connor McDavid from scoring, number 97 sure looked speedy and dangerous at times in Game 2.

Anaheim came into the second round with home-ice advantage through the West side of the playoffs, seemingly enjoying a golden opportunity when other conference powers fell. Instead, it’s looking like the Oilers might just have a chance to prove that they’re big-time contenders, too.

Game 3 airs on NBCSN at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App; click here for the livestream.

Latest goalie interference mess: Oilers get penalty, not goal

2 Comments

Ah, goalie interference. Does the fun ever start?

Arguably the most irritating facet of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs reared its pesky head once again on Friday, as the Edmonton Oilers saw a would-be 2-0 goal disallowed in the first period of Game 2 against the Anaheim Ducks.

The goal wasn’t just disallowed, either, as Mark Letestu was given a minor penalty.

One would imagine that there are opinions for or against the goal (and penalty counting); there are also many who are just getting a little worn out by the uncertainty surrounding such calls. Tomas Holmstrom is nodding his head so hard right now, everyone.

Here’s one unhappy take:

Moments after this post went up, the Oilers made it 2-0 for real this time. Check out the game here.

Math may help build Vegas Knights, but biggest aim is not being boring

Getty
Leave a comment

Unlike Pierre Dorion, it sounds like Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee would rather listen to analytics-minded people rather than … you know, hit them.

As McPhee readies for the expansion draft, he told The Star’s Kevin McGran in Q&A that they’ll at least be factored into decisions.

I’ve been really fascinated by how revealing that data can be. You have these kids speaking a different language. But I’m convinced it has a really important place in this game. You have to pay attention to it, and you have to use it.

Naturally, the real question with McPhee and other executives comes down to how much they will lean on analytics. Some teams seem to pick and choose when to listen to such voices, ending up with an odd mix of moves that please and unnerve the “fancy stats” community.

Owner Bill Foley gave a good idea of how much they’ll lean on stats vs. more traditional approaches in an interview with the Vegas Hockey Hotline back in February, which was transcribed by The Hockey Writers’ Keith Scheessele.

“Analytics is not going to drive how we draft,” Foley said. “Analytics are going to supplement what the scouts are seeing. We’re going to rely on the scouts and what they recommend.”

(Foley also spoke of rating players in 10 different categories, which started to make one think about how old sports video games could only quantify skills in so many ways. Anyway …)

So, it sounds like McPhee & Co. will take a modern approach – a mixture of the old and the new – rather than going full-on bold and revolutionary like, say, the Cleveland Browns or Golden State Warriors.

Considering the mystery of roster quality one faces with the Vegas Knights, it honestly might be most important that McPhee is repeatedly stating that he doesn’t aim to put together a boring hockey team.

Hey, if it takes a while to be good, at least the Vegas Knights might fit with their environment and put on a show.

Tarasenko’s two goals help Blues tie series with Predators

3 Comments

One of the (many) remarkable things about the St. Louis Blues dispatching the Minnesota Wild was that they didn’t need a ton of production from Vladimir Tarasenko. He didn’t score a goal until the clinching game of that series.

The Blues needed more from him tonight, and he responded with two huge goals to help St. Louis win 3-2 in Game 2, tying the second-round series at 1-1.

Tarasenko scored the opening goal on that major power-play opportunity from the Vernon Fiddler knee on Colton Parayko, while Joel Edmundson wisely got out of the way to let Tarasenko nab the game-winner.

That ended up being the decisive factor as the Nashville Predators finally lost their first game of the postseason.

St. Louis must be breathing a sigh of relief for a number of reasons. The series shifts to Nashville for Games 3 and 4, so going down 2-0 might have been lethal.

Even beyond that, the Blues had some breaks go their way that likely won’t repeat to the same degree in future contests. The Predators didn’t receive a single power-play opportunity while St. Louis spent significant chunks of the contest on the man advantage, going 1-for-5 (but again, that includes a major).

The Blues also won despite what must have been a frustrating start. They only managed a 1-1 tie after the first 20 minutes despite holding Nashville to a mere three shots on goal.

The Predators also managed leads of 1-0 and 2-1, yet the Blues kept fighting to get back in this series. Game 3 will air on NBC at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App (Click here for the livestream link).

* – That said, he made a lot of commotion to set up Edmundson’s overtime game-winner from Game 1. That connection continued on Friday, as you likely noticed.