From The Ice

Quest for the Cup: First Round nears an end

Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire

The Quest for the Stanley Cup has nearly cut itself in half. Only one series has yet to be decided and power house teams like the Detroit Red Wings, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the LA Kings have all exited early. Who has moved on to the second round and other NHL Playoff news.

With the only teams remaining in the postseason to have won the Stanley Cup in the past decade are the Ducks (2007) and Penguins (2009) the chances of a new Stanley Cup Champion is growing.

While you were sleeping…  
Nashville Predators 3, Anaheim Ducks 1 – Series tied 3-3
St. Louis Blues 3, Chicago Blackhawks 2 – Blues win series 4-3

Brouwer with the game winner as Blues eliminate defending champ Blackhawks
Troy Brouwer scored what ended up being the game winning goal at 8:31 of the third frame to help the Blues defeat the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in what ended up being the first Game 7 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  The win is the Blues first playoff series win since the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals vs. San Jose.
* Six of the seven games in the First Round between the Blues-Blackhawks were decided by one goal and 91.3% of total playing time in the series saw the score tied or within one goal.
* St. Louis won their first Game 7 since 1999, when the club – directed behind the bench by current Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville – claimed a 1-0 overtime win at Phoenix in a Western Conference Quarterfinal series.

* Brouwer, who skated in 238 regular-season and 43 playoff games with the Blackhawks highlighted by a Stanley Cup in 2010, scored his second career game-winning goal against his former team. The first was during the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, where he scored with 12.9 seconds remaining in regulation to guide the Capitals to a 3-2 victory.

Jori Lehtera scored his first career playoff goal exactly one minute into the contest. Per Elias Sports Bureau, it tied the fastest goal to begin a Game 7 in Blues history. Elias adds he also became the third player in franchise history to score his first career playoff goal in a Game 7, joining Ron Schock and Denis Chasse.

* The Blues will now face the Dallas Stars in the Second Round, the 13th all-time playoff meeting between the franchises and first since the 2001 Western Conference Semifinals.

Predators force Game 7
Nashville’s goaltender, Pekka Rinne, denied 26 of 27 shots he faced and James Neal scored the game-winning goal with 2:15 remaining in the second period to help the Predators earn their first home win of the series, and force Game 7 against the Ducks.

* Rinne, who made 19 of his 26 saves in the final two periods, improved to 17-6-2 in his last 26 appearances dating to Feb. 18 (regular-season and playoffs).
* Predators captain Shea Weber scored his 12th career playoff goal to move within one of tying David Legwand for the most in franchise history.

A look back at Game 7’s
* Home teams improved to 95-67 (.586) all-time in Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the team that scores first improved to 120-42 (.741).

* Wednesday’s showdown in Anaheim will mark the 40th Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2009 – the most frequently-occurring series length in that span:

Series Length (since 2009)
7 games: 40
6 games: 35
5 games: 24
4 games: 14

Side Note

Flyers forward Brayden Schenn will be having a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety later today for charging/illegal check to the head of Capitals forward T.J. Oshie.

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