Martin St. Louis, Trevor Lewis

Get your game notes: Kings at Rangers

10 Comments

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

• Tonight marks the 92nd game of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, tied for the most in NHL history in one playoff year (1991). With a win, the Kings would tie the record for most games needed to capture the Cup (25, held by the 2006 Hurricanes and 2011 Bruins). The Rangers will set a new franchise record by playing their 24th game of the postseason. (They played 23 games during their Cup-winning playoff run in 1994.)

• Since the Stanley Cup Final went to seven games in 1939, the team that took a 3-0 series lead won 25 of 26 series (96%). Twenty of those 26 series (77%) ended in sweeps (mostly recently in 1998, Detroit vs. Washington), three ended in five games, one in six games (2012, Los Angeles vs. New Jersey) and two in seven games. The only team to rebound from an 0-3 series deficit in a Cup Final was the 1942 Maple Leafs, who outscored Detroit 19-7 in Games 4-7 to win the Cup.

• The Kings are up 3-0 in a best-of-seven playoff series for the fifth time in franchise history. During their run to the Stanley Cup in 2012, they won the first three games in all four series. However, they won Game 4 only once, in the second round vs. St. Louis. The Rangers are down 3-0 for the 12th time all-time, and first time in the Stanley Cup Final. They are 5-6 in subsequent Game 4s (all at home) when trailing 3-0 in a playoff series. Only once, in the 1939 NHL Semifinals vs. Boston (which they lost in seven games), were they able to extend one of those series beyond five games.

• In Game 3, Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 32 saves in his first-career NHL start at Madison Square Garden and became only the second goalie ever to shut out the Rangers at MSG in a Stanley Cup Final game (Gerry Cheevers, BOS, 1972, Game 6 – 33 saves). Quick carries a 115:36 shutout streak into Game 4, the third-longest of his postseason career. Elias Sports Bureau

Jonathan Quick’s longest shutout streaks, postseason career
138:39 – 2012 Stanley Cup Final, Game 2-4 vs. New Jersey (June 2-6)
125:08 – 2013 1st round, Game 6 vs. St. Louis … 2nd round, Game 1-2 vs. San Jose (May 10-16)
115:36 – 2014 Stanley Cup Final, Game 2-3 vs. N.Y. Rangers (June 7-present)

• After going 0/6 on the power play in Game 3, the Rangers have failed on 36 straight power-play chances at Madison Square Garden since Martin St. Louis scored a PPG in Game 2 of the first-round series vs. Philadelphia. The Rangers’ nine-game home PPG drought is a Stanley Cup playoff record for any team at home in a single postseason. The previous NHL high was seven games by the 1939 Bruins. Elias Sports Bureau

• In Game 3, the Kings scored three or more goals for the ninth consecutive game, and 19th time in 24 games this postseason. That is tied with four Stanley Cup champions (1989 Flames, 1990 Oilers, 1991 Penguins, 1996 Avalanche) for the most games with 3+ goals in a playoff year. (With three or more goals in Game 4, L.A. will set a new NHL record.) They have 84 goals this postseason (3.50 goals/game). The last Stanley Cup champion to score that many goals in a playoff year was the 1991 Penguins (95 goals). To compare, the Kings scored 198 goals (2.42 goals/game) in the regular season, the 26th most in the NHL.

• The NHL’s leading scorers this postseason, Kings forwards Anze Kopitar (5-21—26), Jeff Carter (10-14—24) and Justin Williams (8-16—24) are among a group of nine players who have suited up in all 62 of the Kings’ games in the last three postseasons (2012-2014), with tonight marking game 63, tying an NHL record for most playoff games over a three-year span. (The others are Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, Dwight King, Trevor Lewis, Quick and Slava Voynov.) Only two teams in NHL history have played 63 playoff games in a three-year span: Dallas (1998-2000 – four players played in all 63 games) and Detroit (2007-09 – four players played in all). Elias Sports Bureau

Team Canada stuns Team Europe with late comeback to claim World Cup

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 29: Patrice Bergeron #37 of Team Canada is congratulated by his teammate Steven Stamkos #91 after scoring a third period goal during the third period during Game Two of the World Cup of Hockey final series at the Air Canada Centre on September 29, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. The Team Canada defeated the Team Europe 2-1.  (Photo by Peter Power/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

John Tavares hit the post on a wide open net. Steven Stamkos whiffed on a one-time slap shot attempt. And Team Europe shut down every other player wearing red and white — for about 57 minutes.

Yup. It looked like it would be that kind of night for Team Canada.

After running through the World Cup competition during the round robin and semifinal portions, Canada was facing the possibility it could suddenly be forced into a third and decisive game against an underdog Team Europe.

Cue an improbable comeback.

Down 1-0 and finding it difficult to get anything going offensively, it started for Team Canada with a power play goal on a deflection from Patrice Bergeron. And then, with 44 seconds remaining in regulation time, the Canadians struck again, this time on the penalty kill, as Jonathan Toews set up Brad Marchand for what turned out to be the winning goal.

Team Canada claims the World Cup, winning Game 2 on Thursday by a final score of 2-1. Sidney Crosby was named tournament MVP.

Team Canada had surged by its opponents thanks to such a deep, skilled lineup and the goaltending of Carey Price. But after taking the first game of this best-of-three series, the Canadians looked completely out of sync in the second act.

They weren’t the faster team, especially in the first period.

They turned the puck over. They gave up too many odd-man rushes. Their power play didn’t capitalize — until it mattered the most.

If it weren’t for the play of Price, this one could’ve been a blowout. His best save came off Marian Hossa late in the third period.

Since the elimination of Team USA, Team North America, Team Russia and Team Sweden, it seemed like the drama would be drained from this tournament as it came to its close, the Canadians looking like a runaway champion.

The final seemed like it was only a formality.

For a long time Thursday, it looked like Team Europe could actually force a Game 3. But Canada has found another way to win.

But this time, it was far from a dominant effort.

Report: No timetable for Sharks’ Meier to return from illness

SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 26:  Timo Meier poses for a portrait after being selected ninth overall by the San Jose Sharks during the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center on June 26, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Timo Meier and the San Jose Sharks aren’t taking any chances.

An illness, reported to initially be strep throat, has kept the prospect forward off the ice for five straight days, as per Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area. There is no timetable for his return, the report adds, and that could have an impact on whether Meier makes the Sharks roster out of training camp.

From CSN Bay Area:

The illness has likely diminished Meier’s chances to make the opening night roster, as he’ll miss the Sharks’ second preseason game on Friday and will probably not be in any condition to play on Sunday in Vancouver, either. It was thought before camp that the ninth overall pick from the 2015 draft was ready to seriously challenge for a spot on the Sharks, perhaps even as a replacement for Tomas Hertl on the top line if Hertl becomes third line center.

Meier spent last season in the QMJHL, where he scored 34 goals and 87 points in 52 games split between the Halifax Mooseheads and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

It was around this time last year the Sharks sent Meier back to junior, after he left quite an impression on the Sharks coaching staff during the preseason.

‘I’ve got to be more aware’ on the ice, says Ekblad after recent injury

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 17: Aaron Ekblad #5  of the Florida Panthers leaves the ice following warmups prior to Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Islanders during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 17, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

As per multiple reports, Aaron Ekblad practiced with his Florida Panthers teammates Thursday.

Good news. That marks another step in the progress he’s made from a neck injury — initially reported to be a concussion — suffered on a hit from Leo Komarov that ultimately ended the defenseman’s experience for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey.

On Thursday, Ekblad told reporters the injury was actually whiplash.

The 20-year-old Ekblad has had a history of concussions, including one from a Hockey Canada camp in August, 2014 — almost two full months after the Panthers selected him first overall.

He was injured again in January of last season when Matt Hendricks caught him with a dangerous hit against the end boards, resulting in a suspension for Hendricks.

Despite supplemental discipline from the league on that specific incident involving Hendricks, Ekblad, a valuable part of a young Panthers team that has increased expectations surrounding it, put the onus on himself to be more aware on the ice.

“When I think about it in the Edmonton game last year, there were a couple of big hits on their guys. I should have expected to someone was going to come after me,” Ekblad told NHL.com.

“Obviously you don’t think that. You think there’s a little bit more respect among players out there. I turned, I saw him. I didn’t think he was going to drive my head into the glass. The Komarov hit there, he got me on the shoulder, not much on the head or anything like that. It was more of the whiplash effect. Again, I’ve got to be more aware. You train your body, you train your brain to do that kind of thing. I do a lot of eye exercises and stuff like that. We’re working on that right now and just trying to be a better hockey player that way.”

The Panthers have a preseason game with the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight. Ekblad is not in the lineup.

Stars sign WHL d-man Vala to entry-level deal

cut
Dallas Stars Twitter
Leave a comment

The Dallas Stars have added another defenseman to their group of prospects.

On Thursday, the club signed 18-year-old Czech blue liner Ondrej Vala to a three-year entry-level contract. Vala is currently playing for the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Hockey League. He had four goals and 21 points in 72 games last season — his first with the Blazers.

Having represented the Czech Republic at U-17 and U-18 international events and played for the Stars prospects team at the Traverse City Tournament, Vala is also listed at six-foot-four-inches tall and 209 pounds.

He certainly brings size on the blue line, which is a quality the Stars appear to value in him.

“Ondrej has shown a combination of size and physicality along with the ability to play a defensively responsible game at the junior hockey level,” said Stars GM Jim Nill in a statement.

Related:

Another — yes, another — blow for Dallas as Janmark spotted on crutches