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.

PHT Morning Skate: Shea Weber’s shot has injured a lot of people

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–Blue Jackets assistant coach Brad Shaw took a risk by leaving the Blues organization after 10 years, but it appears to have paid off. He and the rest of the staff have found a way to make the Jackets a competitive team in 2016-17.(Ottawa Citizen

–The San Jose Sharks are giving away “Chia Jumbo Joe Thornton” on Saturday, and they made a pretty cheesy/funny commercial to promote the occasion. (Top)

–Canadiens goalie Al Montoya is the first player of Cuban heritage to play in an NHL game. He’s hoping that his journey to the NHL will inspire others like him to make the leap to the pro ranks. “To play this game from where I came from and my background, it’s who I am and what I’m made of,” said Montoya. “Without the sacrifices my family made to get to the United States and put me in hockey, I wouldn’t be here. The Cuban background is a huge part of what I am.” (NHL.com)

Ryan O'Reilly sat down for a Q&A with ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. They discussed his new beard, what it was like to play with one of his favorite players, Joe Thornton and why he thinks the Sabres haven’t been very good this season. With Buffalo currently in last place in the East, O’Reilly admits that he could do a better job as one of the leaders on the team. (ESPN)

Shea Weber has one of the heaviest slap shots in the NHL and as you’d imagine, he’s caused a few injuries over the years. According to this list, Weber’s shot has injured 11 people since 2009, including his former GM David Poile and current teammate Max Pacioretty (twice). (BarDown)

–Sportsnet has a “ref cam” on some of their hockey broadcasts. It gives fans a different view of the game, which is pretty cool. Here’s a look at some of the best “ref cam” moments from Wednesday’s game between the Habs and Penguins.

Hitchcock believes Blues’ Allen is ‘locked up mentally’

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Jake Allen #34 of the St. Louis Blues makes the third period save against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on December 8, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Things were already rough for the St. Louis Blues and their goalies (particularly still-pretty-newly crowned No. 1 Jake Allen) heading into Thursday, but the Washington Capitals really highlighted those issues in a 7-3 thrashing.

Blues fans and management must be wondering, then: what’s wrong with their goalies, especially with Allen? Head coach Ken Hitchcock seems resigned to allowing him to fight through it, if nothing else.

“There’s a lot going on right now. … He’s kind of locked up mentally and he’s going to have to fight through this,” Hitchock said, according to Lou Korac of NHL.com. “What we see at practice, we like. That’s why we put him in quite frankly.”

Alex Pietrangelo did the typical deflecting thing, nothing that this is a “team” and that there are “no individuals.”

Still, Hitchcock’s longer press conference makes you wonder how much trust there is in Allen and Carter Hutton.

From Hitch’s perspective, it sure sounds like he believes that the Blues are over-correcting to try to limit “goals, shots.” By trying to do too much, they might be putting themselves in bad positions. And that might stem from a lack of confidence in the guys in net, or in the team’s work in their own zone overall.

Let’s be honest. As much as we can play chicken-or-the-egg as far as a defense’s impact on a goalie, it’s tough to explain away save percentages under .900 in the modern NHL. At some point, your team needs more stops.

With the races for the lower spots in the Western Conference’s playoff picture seemingly tightening up, the Blues don’t have a ton of time to figure this out.

Capitals shine glaring light on Blues’ goalie woes

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Jake Allen #34 of the St. Louis Blues makes a save during the first period against the San Jose Sharks in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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If you’re reaction to the headline “Something is off about the St. Louis Blues” was “Yeah, their goaltending,” then Thursday only emboldened that opinion.

It wasn’t just that the Washington Capitals bombarded the Blues by a score of 7-3. It’s that they really didn’t need to fire a whole lot of shots on goal to get to seven.

Here’s a harsh rule of thumb: when both of your goalies play in a game and each one barely makes more saves than goals allowed, that’s an awful night. Take a look at what Jake Allen and Carter Hutton went through:

Allen: six saves, four goals allowed in 25:11 time on ice
Hutton: five saves, three goals allowed in 35:49

Allen got pulled from the contest twice, by the way. He’s been pulled from four games since Dec. 30. Woof.

Even before these horrendous performances, the Blues goalies have been shaky. Hutton came into tonight with an ugly .898 save percentage; Allen wasn’t much better with a .900 mark.

Those are the type of numbers that would make Dallas Stars fans cringe, or at least experience some uncomfortable familiarity.

Now, is it all on Hutton and Allen? Much like with the Stars’ embattled goalies, much of the struggles probably come down to a team struggling in front of them.

Even so, if you assign more of the blame to Allen and Hutton, nights like this Capitals thrashing definitely strengthen your argument. Yikes.

Rangers overwhelm Leafs, make life pretty easy for Lundqvist in win

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 19:  Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers faces a shot in the warm-up prior to play against the Toronto Maple Leafs in an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on January 19, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Heading into Thursday, many were wondering how the New York Rangers will handle Henrik Lundqvist‘s struggles. Instead, the focus shifted to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ difficulties, perhaps specifically in dealing with Morgan Rielly‘s absence.

The Rangers handily won this one 5-2, at least giving Lundqvist the win. He wasn’t especially busy, stopping 23 out of 25 shots, so you can probably file his story under “To be continued.”

Lundqvist wasn’t oblivious to his team’s impressive overall play.

Really, it was all about the waves of attackers the Rangers can send at opponents and the trouble that caused for the Maple Leafs. It wasn’t the easiest night for Frank Corrado, in particular, who took a couple costly penalties.

The Rangers’ next two games come in a road contest vs. the Red Wings on Sunday and a home game against the Kings on Monday. Perhaps those matches will serve as a better barometer for where Lundqvist’s really at, as he passed tonight’s test … but it wasn’t a particularly difficult one.