MORNING SKATE: STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS EDITION – MAY 29, 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.
 
 
SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Tampa Bay @ NY Rangers, series tied 3-3, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, TVA
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RANGERS, LIGHTNING DECIDE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL IN GAME 7
A berth in the Stanley Cup Final is on the line when the Rangers play host to the Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden. Both clubs are contesting their second Game 7 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs – the Rangers defeated the Capitals (in overtime) in the Second Round (2-1 W), while the Lightning eliminated the Red Wings in the First Round (2-0 W).
 
The Rangers have won six consecutive Game 7s dating to the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. OTT. That is tied for the longest such streak in NHL history, a mark set by the Red Wings from 1949-64 and equaled by the Bruins from 1983-94. The Rangers also have won each of their seven all-time Game 7s at Madison Square Garden; they are the only team in NHL history that has played at least four Game 7s at home and won each contest.
 
Henrik Lundqvist is one of seven Rangers players with six career Game 7 victories (also Dan Girardi, Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh, Dominic Moore, Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis). His active six-game winning streak in Game 7s is an NHL record for goaltenders, as is his feat of allowing one or fewer goals in each of those contests and career 0.97 goals-against average (minimum 3 GP). At 6-1 overall, Lundqvist is tied with Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy for the most Game 7 victories by any goaltender in NHL history.
 
The Lightning boast a 4-1 all-time record in Game 7s; all five of those contests have been decided by one goal OR two goals following an empty-net tally. The Lightning’s lone loss in a Game 7 came during their last appearance in the Eastern Conference Final, in 2011 at BOS (1-0 L).
 
Ben Bishop stopped all 31 shots he faced in the Lightning’s series-clinching win over the Red Wings in the First Round. In doing so, he became the first goaltender to record a shutout in his first career Game 7 appearance since Carey Price (25 SV) did so for the Canadiens in the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. BOS.
 
Seven of the Rangers’ 12 playoff series since 2009 have required a Game 7. They also have won each of their last 10 postseason games when facing elimination at home (dating to Game 4 of the 2008 CSF vs. PIT) – an NHL record in that scenario.
 
This marks the third time the Lightning have played multiple Game 7s in one playoff year – and the third time they have contested one in the Conference Finals (in three all-time appearances). They also did so in 2004 (CF vs. PHI and F vs. CGY) and in 2011 (CQF at PIT and CF at BOS).
 
All-Time Team Records in Game 7
 
New York Rangers (9-5 overall, 7-0 at home)
5/13/15, SR vs. Washington (WSH 1 at NYR 2, OT)
5/13/14, SR vs. Pittsburgh (NYR 2 at PIT 1)
4/30/14, FR vs. Philadelphia (PHI 1 at NYR 2)
5/13/13, CQF vs. Washington (NYR 5 at WSH 0)
5/12/12, CSF vs. Washington (WSH 1 at NYR 2)
4/26/12, CQF vs. Ottawa (OTT 1 at NYR 2)
4/28/09, CQF vs. Washington (NYR 1 at WSH 2)
6/14/94, F vs. Vancouver (VAN 2 at NYR 3)
5/27/94, CF vs. New Jersey (NJD 1 at NYR 2, 2OT)
5/1/92, DSF vs. New Jersey (NJD 4 at NYR 8)
5/5/74, SF vs. Philadelphia (NYR 3 at PHI 4)
5/2/71, SF vs. Chicago (NYR 2 at CHI 4)
4/23/50, F vs. Detroit (NYR 3 at DET 4, 2OT)
4/2/39, SF vs. Boston (NYR 1 at BOS 2, 3OT)
 
Tampa Bay Lightning (4-1 overall, 1-1 on the road)
4/29/15, FR vs. Detroit (DET 0 at TBL 2)
5/27/11, CF vs. Boston (TBL 0 at BOS 1)
4/27/11, CQF vs. Pittsburgh (TBL 1 at PIT 0)
6/7/04, F vs. Calgary (CGY 1 at TBL 2)
5/22/04, CF vs. Philadelphia (PHI 1 at TBL 2)
 
GAME 7 EXPERIENCE
* The Rangers have a combined 90 games of Game 7 experience; the Lightning have a combined 52 games of Game 7 experience.
 
* Five players have competed in seven career Game 7s, tops among participating players: Rangers teammates Dan Girardi (6-1), Henrik Lundqvist (6-1), Dominic Moore (6-1) and Martin St. Louis (6-1) and Lightning forward Valtteri Filppula (4-3).
 
* Filppula also paces all participating players with 1-5—6 in Game 7s.
 
* Eleven Rangers players have never suffered a Game 7 loss: Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan (6-0); Chris Kreider (5-0); Derick Brassard and Rick Nash (4-0); Kevin Klein and Mats Zuccarello (3-0); and Jesper Fast, Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller (1-0).
 
* Twelve Lightning players have never suffered a Game 7 loss, including nine who made their Game 7 debuts in the First Round: Anton Stralman (6-0); Brian Boyle (5-0); Matt Carle (4-0); and Ben Bishop, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Nikita Nesterov, Ondrej Palat, Cedric Paquette and Andrej Sustr (1-0).
 
* Stralman accumulated five of his Game 7 victories with the Rangers from 2012-14, while Boyle earned four such wins with the Rangers in that span.
 
* Alain Vigneault (NYR) will be coaching his seventh career Game 7 (5-1), while Jon Cooper (TBL) will be making his second such appearance behind the bench (1-0).
 
Alain Vigneault, All-Time Game 7s
5/13/15, w/ NYR, SR vs. Washington (WSH 1 at NYR 2, OT)
5/13/14, w/ NYR, SR vs. Pittsburgh (NYR 2 at PIT 1)
4/30/14, w/ NYR, FR vs. Philadelphia (PHI 1 at NYR 2)
6/15/11, w/ VAN, F vs. Boston (BOS 4 at VAN 0)
4/26/11, w/ VAN, CQF vs. Chicago (CHI 1 at VAN 2, OT)
4/23/07, w/ VAN, CQF vs. Dallas, (DAL 1 at VAN 4)
 
Jon Cooper, All-Time Game 7s
4/29/15, w/ TBL, FR vs. Detroit (DET 0 at TBL 2)
 
GAME 7 TRENDS
* Home teams are 94-65 (.591) in 159 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including a 3-0 record this year (NYR: 1-0, TBL: 1-0).
 
* The club that scores first is 117-42 (.736) in Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including a 2-1 clip this year. The lone loss was in the Second Round, when the Rangers overcame a 1-0 deficit to eliminate the Capitals.
 
* Forty Game 7s in Stanley Cup Playoffs history have required overtime (40-of-159, 25.2%). Home and road teams both have 20 wins in those contests. The Rangers are 2-2 in four all-time Game 7s that have gone to overtime (2-0 at home, 0-2 on the road); the Lightning have never required overtime in any of their Game 7 appearances.
 
DID YOU KNOW?
The Conference Finals feature the fourth and fifth Game 7s of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. There have been 17 Game 7s since the start of the 2013 postseason (44 total series), the most frequently occurring series length in that span (7 Games: 17, 6 Games: 13, 5 Games: 9, 4 Games: 5).
 
CONFERENCE FINALS COME DOWN TO THE WIRE
Both series in the Conference Finals (or Semifinals) will require a Game 7 for just the third time in Stanley Cup Playoffs history – and second time during the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68). The other instances: in 1964 (TOR defeated MTL and DET defeated CHI) and in 2000 (NJD defeated PHI and DAL defeated COL).
 
A snapshot of the 2015 Conference Finals (via Elias):
 
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL (NYR vs. TBL)
Games Played: 6
Overtime Games: 1 (NYR: 0-1, TBL: 1-0)
Total Goals: 40 (NYR: 21, TBL: 19)
Goals Per Game: 6.67
Total Playing Time: 363:33
Total Time Tied: 137:42 (37.9%)
Total Time NYR Has Led: 134:13 (36.9%)
Total Time TBL Has Led: 91:38 (25.2%)
Power-Play Totals: 14-for-44, 31.8% (NYR: 7-for-22, TBL: 7-for-22)
 
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL (ANA vs. CHI)
Games Played: 6
Overtime Games: 3 (ANA: 1-2, CHI: 2-1)
Total Goals: 38 (ANA: 19, CHI: 19)
Goals Per Game: 6.33
Total Playing Time: 442:34
Total Time Tied: 214:26 (48.4%)
Total Time ANA Has Led: 135:47 (30.7%)
Total Time CHI Has Led: 92:21 (20.9%)
Power-Play Totals: 5-for-36, 13.9% (ANA: 2-for-14, CHI: 3-for-22)
 
NHL ANNOUNCES 2015 STANLEY CUP FINAL SCHEDULE
The NHL announced the schedule for the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, which will begin on Wednesday, June 3. All games will start at 8:00 p.m. ET. National broadcast information will be released when available.
 
2015 Stanley Cup Final Schedule
Game 1: Wednesday, June 3
Game 2: Saturday, June 6
Game 3: Monday, June 8
Game 4: Wednesday, June 10
Game 5: Saturday, June 13*
Game 6: Monday, June 15*
Game 7: Wednesday, June 17*
* If necessary
 
Click here for complete details.
 
2015 NHL COMBINE DOCUMENTS NOW ONLINE
The following documents are now available via the League’s Media site in advance of the 2015 NHL Combine presented by Reebok:
 
* Schedule of Events
* Fitness Testing Summary
* Fitness Testing Schedule
* List of Prospects Attending
 
The 2015 NHL Combine presented by Reebok will be held at First Niagara Center and HARBORCENTER in Buffalo from Sunday, May 31 – Saturday, June 6.
 
Click here for more information.
 
LOOSE PUCKS
The Sabres hired Dan Bylsma as the 17th head coach in franchise history. Bylsma previously spent six seasons as the head coach of the Penguins, compiling a 252-117-32 record and leading the team to the Stanley Cup in 2008-09 . . . The Sharks hired Peter DeBoer as the eighth head coach in franchise history. DeBoer served seven previous seasons as an NHL head coach, including three with the Panthers (103-107-36) and four with the Devils (114-93-41). He also led the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011-12 . . . The Blue Jackets signed defenseman Cody Goloubef to a two-year contract extension . . . They also re-signed defenseman Justin Falk to a one-year, two-way contract . . . ICYMI: Click here for an all-access look at Game 6 between the Blackhawks and Ducks . . . Click here for a trailer of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final . . . Click here to watch the NHL’s national TV spot for the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, “Name.”
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