MORNING SKATE: STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS EDITION – MAY 31, 2014
 
 
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.
 
 
FRIDAY’S RESULT
(Home Team in Caps)
Chicago 4, LOS ANGELES 3 – series tied 3-3
 
KANE, BLACKHAWKS RALLY (AGAIN) TO FORCE GAME 7
Trailing 3-2 with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation, Patrick Kane (2-1—3) set up the tying goal by Duncan Keith and scored the game-winner with 3:45 left on the clock to help the Blackhawks force a Game 7 in the Western Conference Final.
 
 
 
* The Blackhawks held a 2-1 lead entering the third period, but Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez scored 2:06 apart to put the Kings ahead. Chicago also rallied from a third-period deficit in Game 5, with Ben Smith potting the tying goal and Michal Handzus recording the winner in double-overtime.
 
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Blackhawks became the fourth team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to win consecutive elimination games when trailing in the third period. The others: the 1985 Sabres vs. QUE in Games 3 and 4 of DSF; the 2001 Penguins vs. BUF in Games 6 and 7 of CSF; and the 2011 Red Wings vs. SJ in Games 5 and 6 of CSF.
 
* The Blackhawks improved to 9-2 in their last 11 games when facing elimination (dating to 2011). They also improved to 13-0 in Games 5-7 of a series over the past two postseasons, including a 5-0 mark when facing elimination.
 
* After being held off the scoresheet in the opening three games of the series, Kane now has 2-6—8 in the last three contests (0-1—1 in Game 4; 0-4—4 in Game 5). For his career, Kane has 24-28—52 in Games 4-7 (45 GP; 1.16 PPG), compared to 13-24—37 in Games 1-3 (48 GP; 0.77 PPG).
 
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kane became the first player in 22 years to register at least three points in consecutive games with his team facing elimination. In the 1992 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Cliff Ronning posted 2-1—3 and 0-3—3 in Games 6 and 7, respectively, of the Smythe Division Semifinals vs. WPG to help the Canucks overcome a 3-1 series deficit.
 
* Kane recorded his fourth game-winning goal of the postseason, tying teammate Jonathan Toews for the League lead. After totaling one game-winning goal over his first 67 career playoff contests, Kane now has six in his last 25 outings dating to Game 5 of the 2013 Western Conference Final vs. LA.
 
* Kane joins Dustin Byfuglien (5), Bobby Hull (4), Darryl Sutter (4) and Toews (4) as the only players in Blackhawks history to register at least four game-winning goals in one playoff year.
 
* Of Kane’s 37 career postseason goals, 17 have come in the third period (plus 4 in OT).
 
* Corey Crawford made 26 saves to improve to 9-2 in his career when facing elimination. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, his .818 winning percentage in that scenario is the highest of any goaltender in Stanley Cup Playoffs history (minimum, 10 GP).
 
* Brent Seabrook (0-2—2) recorded his fifth multi-point game of the postseason and first since opening the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs with four consecutive such contests. He now has a career-high 14 points in the postseason (3-11—14 in 15 GP), surpassing his previous career best established in 2009 (1-11—12 in 17 GP).
 
DID YOU KNOW?
* The Kings are just the third team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to contest a Game 7 in each of the first three rounds. The others: the 1993 Maple Leafs and 2002 Avalanche, who both lost in the Conference Finals.
 
* The Kings, however, are the first team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to contest a Game 7 on the road in each of the first three rounds.
 
* This marks the third time in franchise history the Blackhawks have forced a Game 7 when facing a 3-1 series deficit. They are 1-11 all-time in that scenario, but their lone win came in their most recent such series: the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals vs. DET. No team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history has ever overcome a 3-1 series deficit in consecutive postseasons.
 
* This marks the first time in 10 years that there will be at least 13 combined games in the Conference Finals. In 2004, the Flames defeated the Sharks 4-2 to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, while the Lightning eliminated the Flyers in seven games.
 
* This marks the second Conference Finals series to go the distance since 2007. The other: the 2011 Eastern Conference Final, in which the Bruins defeated the Lightning 1-0 in Game 7 en route to capturing the Stanley Cup. Prior to 2007, at least one Conference Finals series required a Game 7 in four consecutive postseasons, with the winning team ultimately hoisting the Stanley Cup in each instance (2002 Red Wings, 2003 Devils, 2004 Lightning, 2006 Hurricanes).
 
AROUND THE TWITTERVERSE
Kevin Paul Dupont ‏@GlobeKPD
#Kings-#Hawks. As good as it gets.
 
Mark Spector ‏@SportsnetSpec
That, my friend, is a hockey game. Wow.
 
Josh Yohe ‏@JoshYohe_Trib
Good luck finding a better series than this. Hockey at its very best.
 
Michael Russo ‏@Russostrib
Amazing game again. What a series
 
Tim Panaccio ‏@tpanotchCSN
Two of the most thrilling Western Conference games in league history in succession. #becauseitstheCup
 
Mike Zeisberger ‏@Zeisberger
Like I tweeted Wed: Why couldn’t these teams play every night in a best of 21? Incredible hockey. It’s why we love the sport #Kings #Hawks
 
Stan Fischler ‏@StanFischler
This is the best Spring of hockey that I can remember since #BillBarilko’s OT goal in 1951 that won the #Leafs their 4th Cup in 5 years.
 
David Pagnotta ‏@TheFourthPeriod
Incredible. Game 7 on Sunday. Wow.
 
Steve Lepore ‏@stevelepore
No, that was the best game of the year.
 
Chris Johnston ‏@reporterchris
That Game 7 will be appointment viewing.
 
Nick Cotsonika ‏@cotsonika
Game 7. Thank you.
 
Luke DeCock ‏@LukeDeCock
Game 7 in this Hawks-Kings series is going to be tectonic.
 
Michael Grossi ‏@mgrossiTFP
As a fan of hockey, I hope this series never ends.
 
Melanie Collins ‏@Melanie_Collins
I would expect nothing less from this series! #Blackhawks #Kings #Game7
 
Phil Rosenthal ‏@phil_rosenthal
Between my LA friends and everyone in Chicago, my Twitter feed has read like an EKG tonight. #Blackhawks #Kings
 
Adam Proteau ‏@Proteautype
The three stars from Game 6 between the Kings and Hawks: 3. Hockey 2. Hockey 1. Hockey
 
Bryce Harper @Bharper3407
Nothing like Patrick Kane...wow what a game! Da da da da da da da! #BLACKHAWKS
 
Stephen Amell ‏@amellywood
Huge amount of respect for the Blackhawks. Down 1 w. 8 minutes to go. Never underestimate the defending champs in any sport. So much pride.
 
Phil Jackson ‏@PhilJackson11
Totally enamored by these NHL playoffs...great effort by both teams.
 
MEDIA DAY FOR STANLEY CUP FINAL
Media Day in advance of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final will be held Tuesday, June 3, at the home arena of the Western Conference champion – either the Blackhawks or Kings.
 
Interview opportunities will be available with the general manager, head coach and entire roster of both clubs participating in the Stanley Cup Final. A full schedule of events for Media Day will be released when finalized, but media attending should plan to arrive to the arena by Tuesday morning, local time.
 
Media attending Media Day will need proper identification and must check in upon entry. A 2014 Stanley Cup Final credential is NOT required.
 
REMINDER: PROSPECT FITNESS TESTING AT NHL COMBINE
The NHL Combine concludes today with prospect fitness training, followed by media availabilities, at the International Centre. Click here for the full list of players participating.
 
ICYMI: Follow top prospects Samuel Bennett (Kingston, OHL), Thatcher Demko (Boston College, Hockey East) and Aaron Ekblad (Barrie, OHL) as they blog from the NHL Combine.
 
GAME 6 OF EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL POSTS STRONG NUMBERS
* Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final scored a 1.34 household rating, making it the highest-rated game of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs and up 43% vs. Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Final (NYR-NJ), the last ECF Game 6 on cable.
 
* Game 6 between the Rangers and Canadiens averaged 2.123 million viewers, making it the second-most watched non-Stanley Cup Final game featuring a Canadian team ever on NBCSN.
 
* Viewership for the game peaked at more than 3.3 million viewers from 10:30 – 10:45 p.m. ET.
 
* New York delivered its best NHL rating ever on NBC/NBCSN with an 8.5 for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final, surpassing the 7.1 rating for Game 5.
 
* NBCSN was the No. 1 network in New York for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final.
 
FALLON, CANADIENS MAKE GOOD ON WAGER
 


 
 
LOOSE PUCKS
The Blackhawks scored on two of their three total shots in the third period . . . Kings defenseman Drew Doughty posted 1-1—2 and now has 3-4—7 over the past five games. He leads all blueliners with 4-12—16 in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs (20 GP); that ties a franchise record for postseason points by a defenseman, set by Doughty in 2012 (4-12—16 in 20 GP) . . . Blackhawks forward Ben Smith found the back of the net for the second consecutive contest after scoring the equalizer in Game 5 . . . Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 21 saves, including an incredible stop on a 2-on-0 break to keep the team’s deficit at one in the second period . . . The Blackhawks scored a power-play goal on the road for the first time since Game 1 of the First Round at STL . . . The Sharks signed forward Melker Karlsson from the Swedish Hockey League . . . Forwards Oskar Sundqvist (PIT) and Daniel Zaar (CBJ) signed entry-level contracts . . . ICYMI: Celebrities Will Ferrell, Colin Hanks, Eric Stonestreet, David Beckham and Al Michaels were among the fans in attendance for Game 6 of the Western Conference Final.
 
SNEAK PEEK AT SUNDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Los Angeles @ Chicago, Game 7, series tied 3-3, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS
 
For the third consecutive year, every Stanley Cup Playoffs game is being televised nationally in the United States, on NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and NHL Network. Not sure where to find the game? Use our channel finder: http://nhl.com/channelfinder.
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