MORNING SKATE: STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS EDITION – MAY 27, 2015
 
 
Welcome to the “Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Playoffs Edition,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the NHL. Feel free to forward this email to colleagues who may be interested and encourage them to sign up by clicking here.
 
 
TUESDAY’S RESULT
Home Team in Caps
NY Rangers 7, TAMPA BAY 3 – series tied 3-3
 
RANGERS (AGAIN) STAVE OFF ELIMINATION, FORCE GAME 7 ON FRIDAY
Powered by the line of Derick Brassard (3-2—5), J.T. Miller (1-3—4) and Rick Nash (1-3—4), the Rangers scored seven goals – including five in the third period – to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.
 
 
 
* The Rangers moved within one victory of their 12th all-time appearance in the Stanley Cup Final and second in as many seasons. The team has reached the Final in consecutive years two times, in 1928-29 and 1932-33.
 
* The Rangers improved to 15-3 in their last 18 playoff games when facing elimination (dating to Game 6 of the 2012 CQF at OTT). Per Elias, that is the most such wins by any NHL team over a four-year span.
 
* The Rangers also improved to 9-1 in their last 10 postseason games when facing elimination (dating to Game 7 of the 2014 FR vs. PHI), including a 4-0 clip this year. Elias notes that their nine such wins equal an NHL record over consecutive playoff seasons, set by the Islanders from 1975-76.
 
* The Rangers won Game 6 of a playoff series when facing elimination on the road for the fourth time in franchise history and second consecutive series (also 1994 CF at NJD, 2012 CQF at OTT and 2015 SR at WSH). They became the first team to accomplish that feat in consecutive series since the 2009 Capitals (CQF at NYR and CSF at PIT).
 
* The Rangers improved to 7-0 in their last seven Game 6s and 7s of a postseason series (dating to Game 7 of the 2014 FR vs. PHI). They are 12-3 in those contests since the start of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
 
* Ahead 2-1 after 40 minutes, the Rangers scored five goals in the third period to seal the win. Via Elias, the five goals were their most in one playoff period since Game 5 of the 1979 Quarterfinals at PHI, in which they posted six goals in the third period of an 8-3 victory.
 
* Overall, the Rangers registered seven goals in a playoff game for the first time since Game 1 of the 2014 Eastern Conference Final at MTL (7-2 W). They accomplished that feat one time during the regular season, on March 22 vs. ANA (7-2 W).
 
* The Rangers improved to 43-0-1 this season when leading after two periods (regular season and playoffs), including a 7-0 record during the postseason.
 
BRASSARD IGNITES RANGERS’ OFFENSE
Derick Brassard fueled the Rangers’ offense with 3-2—5, including his first career hat trick and five-point performance (regular season and playoffs, 536 GP). He also posted a +5 rating, establishing another career high (in the regular season and playoffs).
 
* Brassard became the first Rangers player to register a hat trick in the playoffs since April 17, 2007 vs. ATL (Michael Nylander: 3-1—4 in Game 3 of CQF). He also became the first Rangers player to do so in a road postseason game since May 18, 1997 at PHI (Wayne Gretzky: 3-0—3 in Game 2 of CF).
 
* Per Elias, Brassard became the third player in Rangers history to notch five or more points in a playoff game. The others: Mikko Leinonen (0-6—6 in Game 2 of the 1982 DSF vs. PHI) and Rob McClanahan (2-3—5 in Game 3 of the 1983 DSF vs. PHI). Brassard, however, became the first player in franchise history to post such a game with the team facing elimination.
 
* Elias adds that Brassard became the first player from any team to record five or more points with his team facing elimination since May 6, 2010, when Red Wings forwards Johan Franzen (4-2—6) and Todd Bertuzzi (1-4—5) each did so in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals vs. SJS (7-1 W).
 
* Overall, Elias says Brassard became the third player in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to register a hat trick AND five or more points with his team facing elimination on the road. The others: Maple Leafs forward Lanny McDonald (3-2—5 in Game 3 of the 1977 PRE at PIT) and Blues forward Greg Paslawski (3-2—5 in Game 5 of the 1986 DSF at MIN).
 
* Via Elias, Brassard became the fourth player in Rangers history to post a hat trick in a game with the team facing elimination. The others: Frank Boucher (Game 3 of the 1932 F at TOR), Ron Duguay (Game 4 of the 1980 QF vs. PHI) and Mark Messier (Game 6 of the 1994 CF at NJD).
 
* Brassard paces the Rangers and is tied for sixth in the NHL with 9-7—16 this postseason (18 GP). His nine goals share second in the League and are the most by any Rangers player in one playoff year since 1997 (Gretzky: 10, Esa Tikkanen: 9).
 
* Brassard also has established career highs in every offensive category this postseason. He had 8-16—24 in 35 total playoff games prior to this year.
 
LUNDQVIST IMPROVES STELLAR RECORD IN ELIMINATION GAMES
Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves, including 15 in the opening period (highlighted by a cross-crease pad stop on Steven Stamkos), to continue his dominating performance in elimination games.
 
* Lundqvist improved to 15-3 in the last 18 games in which the Rangers have faced elimination (dating to Game 6 of the 2012 CQF at OTT). He has a 1.47 goals-against average, .954 save percentage and two shutouts in that span.
 
* Lundqvist also improved to 9-1 in the last 10 games in which the Rangers have faced elimination (dating to Game 7 of the 2014 FR vs. PHI). He has a 1.46 goals-against average and .957 save percentage in that period.
 
* Finally, Lundqvist improved to 4-0 in the four games in which the Rangers have faced elimination this postseason. He owns a 1.84 goals-against average and .946 save percentage in those contests.
 
* Overall, Lundqvist improved to 11-7 with a 2.11 goals-against average and .928 save percentage this postseason (18 GP). He also improved to 7-0 in the last seven Game 6s and 7s the Rangers have played (dating to Game 7 of the 2014 FR vs. PHI; 1.39 GAA, .958 SV%, 1 SO).
 
* ICYMI: Lundqvist received the team’s Broadway Hat following the victory.
 
OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION
Beyond Derick Brassard (3-2—5), four other Rangers players registered multi-point games: J.T. Miller (1-3—4), Rick Nash (1-3—4) and Keith Yandle (1-1—2).
 
* Via Elias, three Rangers players posted four or more points in a game with the team facing elimination for the first time in franchise history.
 
* Miller established single-game highs in assists and points (regular season and playoffs, 136 GP) and also scored his first career postseason goal (22 GP). He had 0-6—6 in 21 career playoff outings prior to Tuesday.
 
* Nash set single-game postseason highs in assists and points (59 GP). He also notched his fifth career four-point game (regular season and playoffs) and first since March 19, 2011 at MIN (2-2—4 w/ CBJ).
 
* Nash has established career highs in every offensive category this postseason (18 GP) – goals (5), assists (9) and points (14). He had 5-13—18 in 41 career playoff games prior to this year.
 
* Yandle posted his third multi-point performance in the past four games, totaling 2-5—7 in that span. He ranks second among defensemen with 2-9—11 overall this postseason (18 GP).
 
* James Sheppard added what proved to be the game-winning goal, his first such tally in 37 career postseason appearances. He has 3-6—9 in his playoff career, including 1-1—2 this year (13 GP).
 
ROAD WARRIORS
The Rangers scored 17 goals in their three games at Amalie Arena during this series, including five or more in each contest (also Game 3: 6-5 OT L and Game 4: 5-1 W).
 
* Elias says the Rangers have recorded five or more goals in three road games of one playoff series for the first time in franchise history. They last scored five or more goals in three games of any series (home or away) during the 1994 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. NYI (in all 4 GP).
 
* Elias adds that the Rangers became the first team in the past 30 years to notch five or more goals in three road games during the Conference Finals or Stanley Cup Final. In fact, that feat has only been accomplished four other times in any series during that span, by the 1985 Blackhawks (3x in DF at MIN), 1988 Red Wings (3x in DSF at TOR), 1999 Avalanche (3x in CSF at DET) and 2010 Blackhawks (3x in CSF at VAN).
 
* The Rangers last registered five or more goals in three consecutive road games during the regular season from Feb. 10-16, when they notched four straight such performances in wins at TOR (5-4 W), COL (6-3 W), ARI (5-1 W) and NYI (6-5 W). That tied an NHL record for consecutive victories in one season, all on the road, when scoring at least five goals in each contest.
 
LOOSE PUCKS
Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov (2-0—2) posted his third multi-goal performance this postseason (also in Game 2 of the SR at MTL: 2-0—2 and Game 6 of the SR vs. MTL: 2-1—3). He became the fourth player in Lightning history to record three multi-goal games in one playoff year and the second to accomplish that feat this season (also Tyler Johnson: 4x) . . . With his performance, Kucherov moved into a share of second in the NHL in both goals (9) and points (19) this postseason (19 GP) . . . Teammate Tyler Johnson earned the primary assist on both of Kucherov’s goals. He paces the NHL in goals (12) and points (20) this postseason (19 GP) . . . Johnson became the third player in Lightning history to reach the 20-point milestone in one playoff year. The others: Brad Richards (12-14—26 in 2004) and Martin St. Louis (9-15—24 in 2004 and 10-10—20 in 2011) . . . Lightning forward Ryan Callahan snapped a 24-game drought with his first postseason goal since May 19, 2013 at BOS (w/ NYR) . . . The Blues signed head coach Ken Hitchcock to a one-year contract extension . . . ICYMI: Click here for an all-access look at Game 5 between the Ducks and Blackhawks.
 
SNEAK PEEK AT WEDNESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Anaheim @ Chicago, ANA leads series 3-2, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, TVA
NBC Channel Finder
Sportsnet Channel Finder
 
BLACKHAWKS, DUCKS MEET IN GAME 6 AT UNITED CENTER
The Blackhawks also will try to keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive when they play host to the Ducks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final at United Center. Three of the past four games between these clubs have required overtime, including each of the last two. The Blackhawks, who lost Game 5 after forcing overtime with two goals in the final two minutes of regulation, have yet to suffer consecutive defeats this postseason, responding with a win in all four prior instances (including 2x in this series). The Ducks, meanwhile, have equaled a Stanley Cup Playoffs record by playing their first 14 postseason games without suffering a regulation loss (11-3). Chicago is 6-1 at home during the playoffs (outscoring opponents 25-17), with its lone such loss in Game 3 vs. ANA. Anaheim owns a 4-2 record on the road (outscoring opponents 23-18). The team that has scored first has won each game in this series; overall, the Ducks (7-0) and Blackhawks (7-1) are a combined 14-1 when recording the first goal this postseason.
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