Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers - Game Six

Get your game notes: Kings at Rangers


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.


• 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.

Canucks spoil Ducks’ home opener via shootout

Adam Cracknell, Ryan Miller
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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Ryan Miller and the Vancouver Canucks have already found a groove just three games into the regular season. The Anaheim Ducks are still looking for a way to get their offense going.

Radim Vrbata and Alex Burrows scored in the shootout, and the Canucks spoiled Anaheim’s home opener with a 2-1 victory Monday night.

Miller made 28 saves and Adam Cracknell scored in regulation for Vancouver, which beat the Ducks for just the third time in their last 12 meetings.

Vancouver improved to 2-0 on the road in the young season, with Miller yielding just one goal in each game. That’s encouraging to the veteran, who played in only four games after Feb. 22 last season while dealing with a knee injury.

“I’m just trying to go out there and battle and compete,” said Miller, who stopped a third-period redirection by Carl Hagelin with his mask. “That was my mindset coming off an injury. That’s what it really comes down to, getting back the focus early on. I didn’t play hockey for a while. The technical stuff I worked on this summer and I pay attention to in practice.”

Even with twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin combining for just one shot, the Canucks won the new season’s first meeting between the Pacific Division’s top two teams last year. Anaheim won its third straight division title, while Vancouver finished a surprising second before losing in the opening round of the playoffs.

Sami Vatanen scored and Frederik Andersen stopped 24 shots for the Ducks, who have scored just one goal while going winless in the first two games of a season that begins with Stanley Cup aspirations.

Anaheim was shut out in San Jose on Saturday in its opener before returning to Honda Center for its first real game on home ice since Game 7 of the Western Conference finals, when Chicago advanced to win the Stanley Cup.

Kevin Bieksa played nearly 24 1/2 minutes in his second game with the Ducks. Anaheim acquired the veteran defenseman from Vancouver last summer after he played 10 years with the Canucks, who drafted him in 2001. Bieksa was reunited with Ryan Kesler, the longtime Vancouver forward who moved to Anaheim before last season.

“We fought back a lot better than we did in San Jose,” Bieksa said. “So we need to keep building on this in the rest of this homestand here. If we do that, we’re going to be all right.”

After the Ducks failed to score on a power play during their first official taste of 3-on-3 overtime hockey, Vrbata and Burrows got stuttering, halting shots past Andersen, who stopped Burrows’ shot before watching it trickle under him.

“I’ve done that move a few times against a few goalies, but I don’t think I’ve ever done it against Freddie,” Burrows said. “So I tried it, and I’m lucky it went in tonight. It hit his stick and trickled in.”

Jakob Silfverberg scored in the shootout for the Ducks, who lost their home opener for just the second time in six seasons. Anaheim’s talented offensive players aren’t clicking so far, but nobody is panicking yet.

“I think we’re doing things the right way now,” Vatanen said. “We battled hard. We got some good chances. The season is long, so we’re going the right way.”

Both teams opened at a furious pace, with end-to-end chances throughout. After a scoreless first period, Vatanen got the Ducks’ first goal of the season when his long, low shot went through Mike Santorelli‘s screen.

Cracknell evened it later in the period with a sharp-angled shot that somehow deflected off Andersen’s shoulder or stick and landed behind the goalie. The journeyman got his first regular-season NHL goal since April 4, 2013, and just the seventh of his 85-game NHL career.

“Pretty fortunate goal on their part,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said.

NOTES: A small group of vocal protesters gathered outside Honda Center to call for the suspension of Ducks D Clayton Stoner, who faces charges in Canada related to a 2013 grizzly bear hunt. … Cracknell hadn’t scored a goal in his last 49 regular-season games, although he got a postseason goal in 2014 for St. Louis.

Coming Tuesday: Dan Boyle, $4.5M healthy scratch

Brad Marchand, Dan Boyle

Few things say “Oops, bad signing” quite like putting a really expensive player in street clothes (without an injury being involved).

The Philadelphia Flyers set quite the high bar in that regard, but the New York Rangers can’t laugh too much. Not with Dan Boyle expected to be a healthy scratch against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

The word from the Bergen Record is that Dylan McIlrath will draw into the Rangers lineup in Boyle’s space, although Kevin Klein will take over Boyle’s role on the power play.

Let’s face the facts. At 39, Boyle may still boast some zip on offense, but maybe not enough to justify an everyday role.

It’s not the first time the Rangers have decided to make the difficult, awkward season to phase a big name out as he approaches age 40.

Even if it’s just a momentary situation, one cannot help but wonder if Boyle’s career is screeching to halt much like Martin St. Louis’ did in 2014-15 (though the latter’s decline was more sudden).

On the bright side, it sounds like Boyle has a side job lined up with Faith No More.