Teemu Selanne

Get your game notes: Ducks at Stars

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Dallas Stars hosting the Anaheim Ducks starting at 9:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Ducks linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry each scored a goal in Game 2, marking the 10th time that both Getzlaf and Perry found the back of the net in the same playoff game. The Ducks improved to 9-1 in those games. Getzlaf and Perry both scored in the same game 13 times during the 2013-14 regular season (12-0-1 record), tied for the most such games among teammates with Stars forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin (10-2-1 record). (Elias Sports Bureau)

• The Ducks have taken a two-games-to-none series lead in a best-of-seven playoff series eight times in franchise history, and gone on to win all eight series . It is the fifth time that the Ducks won Games 1 and 2 at home (4-0 record in previous series). The Stars lost Games 1 & 2 on the road for the fourth time (0-3 record) since the team moved from Minnesota in 1993.

• Dallas is seeking its first postseason win since Game 5 of the 2008 Western Conference Final vs. Detroit. The Stars’ #1 goaltender, Kari Lehtonen, is seeking his first postseason win, period. In Game 2, Lehtonen fell to 0-4 in four career postseason appearances (with Atlanta and Dallas), with a 4.58 GAA and .858 save%. He has yet to post a .900 save% in any single playoff game.

• In Game 2, Dallas outshot Anaheim 36-19 and lost 3-2. It marked the first and only time this postseason that a team registered more shots on goal than their opponent in a losing effort. The last time a team had 36 or more shots on goal and allowed 19 or fewer in a road playoff loss was April 17, 2000, when Toronto lost Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarters in Ottawa despite outshooting the Sens 36-15.

• Seguin and Benn had almost even statistical splits during the regular season, whether playing at home or away. Ray Whitney and Erik Cole – both Stanley Cup winners with Carolina in 2006 – boasted much better production on home ice. Neither Whitney nor Cole produced a point in Anaheim in Games 1 or 2.

• When Getzlaf (63 career points), who needs one point to tie teammate Teemu Selanne (64) on the Ducks’ all-time playoff scoring list, registers a point, the Ducks are 29-12 in the playoffs since 2005-06.

Get your game notes: Stars at Ducks

2 Comments

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Anaheim Ducks hosting the Dallas Stars starting at 10 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen made 32 saves in Game 1 (a 4-3 Anaheim victory). The 6’4” Dane became the youngest goaltender (24 years, 196 days) to appear in a playoff game for Anaheim, and only the fourth Ducks goalie to win his NHL postseason debut for the Ducks, following Guy Hebert (1997), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2003) and current back-up Jonas Hiller (2009).

• In Game 1, Jamie Benn, making his NHL postseason debut after five seasons and 344 regular-season games, scored the Stars’ first postseason goal since May 19, 2008. Before Benn’s goal, only Edmonton (June 19, 2006) and Winnipeg (Apr. 18, 2007) had gone longer than Dallas without a playoff goal.

• Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, the NHL’s second-leading scorer during the regular season (87 points) had one goal and one assist in the series opener before leaving the game with 16.3 seconds left after getting hit in the face with a slapshot. (X-rays came up negative, and he is expected to play in Game 2.) The Ducks improved to 15-1 in the playoffs when their captain has at least one goal and one assist. That lone loss came vs. Ottawa in Game 3 of the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, won by Anaheim in five games.

• In Game 1, Ducks winger Teemu Selanne (43 years, 287 days) became the oldest player to appear in a Stanley Cup Playoffs game since Chris Chelios in 2009. The “Finnish Flash” registered a power-play assist on the eventual game-winning goal by Matt Beleskey in the second period. Elias Sports Bureau

• In his first postseason start since Game 3 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (with the Atlanta Thrashers), Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen fell to 0-3 in three career postseason starts, with a 5.08 GAA and .861 save%. The Finnish goalie, who led the NHL this season with 65 appearances, has not lost back-to-back starts (regulation or overtime/shootout) since Jan. 18-20. Since that date, he is 6-0-0 in his first start after a loss (personal, not team), with a 2.14 GAA and .919 save%.

• Ducks winger Corey Perry, the NHL’s second-leading goal scorer during the regular season (43 goals), has zero goals in his last 10 playoff games, dating back to the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals vs. Nashville. His last postseason goal came in Game 4 (Apr. 20) of that series, when he scored shorthanded on Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.

• This season, the Ducks ranked 22nd in the NHL in power-play efficiency (16.0%), just ahead of the Stars (23rd, at 15.9%), and tallied goals with the man advantage in only 32 of their 82 games (T-3rd fewest in the league). However, they broke out in Game 1 vs. Dallas, going two-for-five on goals by forwards Mathieu Perreault and Matt Beleskey.

PHT staff picks: Who’s going to win the Stanley Cup?

61 Comments

Once again, your beloved PHT writers — me (Mike Halford), Jason Brough, Joe Yerdon, James O’Brien, Ryan Dadoun and Cam Tucker — have submitted their picks for who’ll win the 2014 Stanley Cup.

We encourage you all to post your picks in the comments below. It’ll be nice to see that section used for some quality analysis rather than what it’s traditionally hosted: Penguins vs. Flyers turf wars, Elvis videos and a space for that one guy to keep calling me Hack Halford.

Heeeeere we go…

Jason Brough: Los Angeles Kings

I picked these guys before the season started, and I don’t see any reason to change my prediction. The Kings have a great two-way center, a stud on the blue line, and a proven goalie that performs when the pressure’s on. They’re excellent five-on-five and allowed the fewest goals in the league during the regular season. They’re also big, tough, and deep. Yet having said all that, I wouldn’t be at all shocked if they lost in the first round. The NHL!

Joe Yerdon: Los Angeles Kings

I know the Bruins are the hot (and probably right) pick for most everyone, but I can’t stop looking at what the Kings have going for them and not think of their Cup run in 2012. They underachieved, by their standards, most of the season and struggled to score goals. They made a savvy trade with Columbus to acquire an offensive spark plug that helped pick up the offense. Instead of Jeff Carter being the guy, it’s Marian Gaborik this time around. He’s not the dynamic guy he once was, but he’s been enough to give the Kings a lift in the one area it needed it most. Jonathan Quick is looking as strong as ever and has shown the ability to lift his game in the playoffs and, let’s face it, Darryl Sutter’s brand of hockey is meant for the postseason.I’m going out on a limb here since they could easily get beaten in the first round by the Sharks, but if they do that, I like the Kings to take their second Stanley Cup in three seasons.

James O’Brien: Boston Bruins

Making predictions is rarely a comfortable thing, but this postseason replaces the comfort of gut feelings with the terror of blindness. With so many contenders limping into the playoffs thanks to worrisome injuries, the B’s stand out by being the best team that’s also largely intact. It doesn’t hurt that the East provides fewer obstacles than the power-packed West, either. The Bruins boast an even more dangerous top scoring line with Jarome Iginla instead of Nathan Horton, phenomenal two-way center Patrice Bergeron, maybe the game-changing defenseman in Zdeno Chara and a fantastic goalie in Tuukka Rask. The Red Wings are better than a typical eighth seed, however, so this prediction could look dumb/dumber than usual in mere weeks. It’s just that kind of year.

Ryan Dadoun: Anaheim Ducks

This is a pick I’m making more with my heart than mind, but I feel justified in doing so given how tight the competition is this year.  No team is without its flaws and I’d be lying if I said Jonas Hiller made me comfortable, especially given how he finished.  At the same time, the Ducks have one of the best offensive duos in the league in Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, veteran leadership, depth, and one of the greatest to ever step onto the ice getting ready for his last hurrah.  We saw what Teemu Selanne could do for a battered Finnish squad facing giants in the Olympics.  He doesn’t need to be the playoff MVP, but if he steps up in the postseason, he could be the guy that pushes them over the top.

Cam Tucker: Boston Bruins

The Bruins were the best team in the regular season and just continued to gather strength down the stretch. Not to mention the fact this team has been there before, whether it’s a Stanley Cup win three years ago or an appearance in the final last season. This team has proven it wins, in many different ways, and it has the advantage in goaltending with Tuukka Rask, who was sensational this season with his 2.04 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. Jarome Iginla has found his scoring touch over the last few months and his motivation for a first career Stanley Cup at the age of 36 should be extremely high. The Bruins are too big, too fast, and too skilled.

Mike Halford: Chicago Blackhawks

Picking a repeat champion is risky business, if only because of the history — three recent Cup winners  (Pittsburgh ’09, Chicago ’10, Boston ’11) all lost in either the first or second round the following postseason. But last year, things started to turn as L.A., the defending Cup champ, made it all the way to the Western Conference finals before losing to — guess who? — the Chicago Blackhawks. Look, for all this talk about Chicago possibly being complacent and worn down from playing so much hockey, consider this: 1) At 32, Patrick Sharp had arguably the best season of his life, leading the team with a career-high 78 points, 2) At 35, Marian Hossa scored 30 goals for the first time in five years. Yeah, all these guys have played a lot. But Chicago is still hungry.

(Did I mention I took Chicago last year too? Because I took Chicago last year too.)

PHT Morning Skate: Two top scoring duos collide in Ducks vs. Stars

Now that the playoffs are underway, the morning skate will focus on previewing each night’s playoff matches. The 2014 postseason is set to begin and there are so many teams with a legitimate shot of emerging as the Stanley Cup champions.

In his exit speech, former Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz, said that the first round is the scariest and hardest for NHL teams. So let’s take a look at what these guys fear:

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $750 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $250. Starts Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Game 1: Tampa Bay Lightning host Montreal Canadiens (7:00 p.m. ET, CNBC)

The big difference between the 2013 Lightning and this season’s squad is goaltender Ben Bishop. He has emerged as one of the league’s best netminders and helped keep the team afloat during Steve Stamkos’ absence with a broken leg and as the team adjusted when former captain Martin St. Louis demanded and received a trade.

So the fact that Bishop won’t be available for Game 1 has to be a major concern for the squad. His replacement, Anders Lindback, wasn’t nearly as good in the regular season, although he did finish the campaign on a high note.

Meanwhile, Montreal is going into this as Canada’s sole representative.

The Canadiens finished second in the Eastern Conference standings last season, but fell apart in the first round, so they’ll be eager to put that behind them. That’s especially true for goaltender Carey Price, who had a particularly troubling showing in the 2013 playoffs and has a career 2.90 GAA in 30 postseason games.

Game 1: Pittsburgh Penguins host Columbus Blue Jackets (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

The Blue Jackets are going into this series as the prototypical little guys. Coming out of this with their first playoff win as a franchise would be seen as a big step forward.

Although Columbus will certainly try to do far more than that, it’s fair to say expectations are much higher in Pittsburgh. The Penguins, at least on paper, have enough star power to be a dynasty. Early on in the Evgeni Malkin/Sidney Crosby-era they were on that course with back-to-back appearances in the Stanley Cup Final and a championship just four seasons into Crosby’s career.

However, injuries and playoff collapses have derailed the Penguins and they haven’t appeared in a Stanley Cup Final game since.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has been at the heart of Pittsburgh’s shortcomings as he has significantly underperformed in recent playoff runs. It got to the point where Tomas Vokoun took the starting job from him during the 2013 postseason. He was solid in the regular season, but that hasn’t always translated to playoff success in the past.

Game 1: Anaheim Ducks host Dallas Stars (10:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Teemu Selanne’s last playoff run will start tonight.

The 43-year-old future Hall of Famer saw his role with the Ducks significantly reduced in 2013-14, but perhaps he will be asked to do more now that the real season is beginning. It’s worth noting that Selanne was the 2014 Winter Olympics MVP, so he has shown that he can still be leaned upon when circumstances call for it.

Either way, this series will feature two of the most explosive offensive duos in the league. On the Ducks side there’s Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who finished second and fifth in the league’s scoring race respectively. The Stars will counter with 22-year-old Tyler Seguin and 24-year-old Jamie Benn, who ranked fourth and 10th in the points leaderboard.

They are the only two teams that featured two players in the top-10, so the fact that they’re playing against each other should make things fun.

Anaheim is heavily favored to win this series, but they also had the second seed in 2013 and still lost in the first round, so they still have a lot to prove. It doesn’t help that starting goaltender Jonas Hiller has lost his confidence and might not even play tonight.

PHT Morning Skate: Ducks reflect on Selanne

1 Comment

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Several members of the Anaheim Ducks talked about what Teemu Selanne has meant to them. The 43-year-old forward will hang up his skates once the Ducks’ playoff run concludes. (Ducks.nhl.com)

With the season over, Jaromir Jagr reiterated his desire to re-sign with the New Jersey Devils. That’s not surprising given his assessment of the season. (The Bergen Record)

Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy admitted that even he’s surprised that they captured the Central Division title. “To me, it’s the most surprising division championship that we have, I guess, in the Avalanche history.” (Denver Post)

Paul Maurice would like to stay on as the Winnipeg Jets’ coach, but he needs to talk it over with his family first. (Winnipeg Sun)

A look into the Red Wings culture that has led to 23 consecutive postseason appearances. (Detroit Free Press)

Being part of Ryan Smyth’s final game might inspire the young Edmonton Oilers. (Edmonton Sun)

Highlights from Detroit’s 3-0 victory over St. Louis: