With the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs now official over, the Second Round has begun. The Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders kicked off the Second Round last night while the Nashville Predators played spoiler in the Game 7 finally of the First Round.
What Happened Last Night
Nashville Predators 2, Anaheim Ducks 1 – Predators win series 4-3
New York Islanders 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 3 – Islanders lead series 1-0
Rinne comes up big in Predators’ first-ever Game 7
Nashville’s goaltender Pekka Rinne made 36 saves, including 12 over which were after the Ducks came within one goal during the third period, to backstop the Predators to a win in the franchise’s first Game 7 appearance.
* The Predators recorded three road wins in a playoff series for the first time in club history.
* Rinne, who had also assisted the Predators eliminate Anaheim during the 2011 Conference Quarterfinals, improved to 8-5 in 13 all-time playoff meetings against the club. He owns a 12-5-4 record in 21 career regular-season contests vs. the Ducks (2.29 GAA,.919 SV%, 2 SO).
* Paul Gaustad scored what became the game-winning goal, his second career playoff goal (61 GP) and first since Game 1 of the 2012 Conference Quarterfinals vs. the Detroit Red Wings. He scored his last game-winning goal in the regular-season back on October 11th, 2014 against the Dallas Stars.
* The Predators will still be California Dreaming as they will now face the San Jose Sharks in the Second Round, the third all-time playoff meeting between the franchises. San Jose eliminated Nashville in five games in both the 2006 and 2007 Conference Quarterfinals.
Game 7: Trivia
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, 28 current NHL franchises have played in a Game 7. The Predators became the 14th to win their first such appearance, and the 10th to do so on the road.
* The previous NHL franchise to make its first Game 7 appearance was Tampa Bay, who eliminated Philadelphia in the 2004 Eastern Conference Final on their way to winning the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
* Road teams improved to 68-95 (.417) all-time in Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the team that scores first improved to 121-42 (.742).
* Wednesday’s showdown in Anaheim marked the 40th Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2009.
Tavares scores another game winner as the Islanders defeat Tampa in Game 1
After scoring the tying and overtime goals in New York’s series-clinching victory on Sunday, Islanders captain John Tavares once again provided the game winning goal. This time to help his club win the opening game of the Second Round in Tampa.
* Tavares, who posted his fourth multi-point game of the postseason, leads the League in points (11) and shares top spot in goals with six (tied with Nikita Kucherov) thus far in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs (7 GP). Overall, he has 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points in 20 career playoff games.
* Per Elias, Tavares is the first player to record 20 or more points in his first 20 career playoff games with the Islanders.
* Tavares has notched 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points in his last 13 games dating to March 31st (includes regular-season and playoffs), including having eight multi-point performances and at least one goal in 10 of those contests.
* The Islanders have trailed by at least one goal in four of their five victories this postseason. Elias says they overcame a deficit of at least one goal to win 19 times during the regular season, sixth-most in the NHL.
* The Lightning opened the scoring but the Islanders responded with three goals before the end of the first period, including two in the final 2:32 from forward Shane Prince (two goals).
* Per Elias – Prince become the first Islanders player with multiple goals in the first period of a playoff game since Game 2 of the 1983 Division Finals vs. the New York Rangers.
* Prince, who hails from Rochester, New York, recorded three goals and two assists for five points in his 20 regular season appearances with the Islanders after being acquired from the Ottawa Senators on February 29th. He has three goals in seven games this postseason.
NHL Announces Vezina Trophy Finalists
The NHL announced that Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop, Washington’s Braden Holtby and Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick are the three finalists for the 2015-16 Vezina Trophy, which is awarded “to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position.”
* The NHL will reveal the three finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy prior to tonight’s game.
Speaking of tonight’s game…
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Washington Capitals, 8:00 p.m., CBC, NBCSN, TVAS
Rivalry Renewed: Sid the Kid vs. The Great Eight
The Capitals and Penguins will play Game 1 of their ninth all-time playoff meeting and their first since the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals, when Pittsburgh defeated Washington in a thrilling seven-game series en route to its third (and most recent) Stanley Cup.
Washington’s Alex Ovechkin totaled eight goals and six assists for 14 points during that series, while Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby countered with eight goals of his own and five assists for 13 points. Both players notched hat tricks during Game 2 and scored in Game 7. Crosby lead his team with two goals and an assists in the series finale to lead the Penguins to victory. Ovechkin (525 G, 441 A = 966 total points in 839 GP) and Crosby (338 G, 600 A = 938 total points in 707 GP) rank first and second, respectively, in NHL scoring since entering the League in 2005-06.
When the puck drops on the series there will be some familiar faces on opposite ends of the rink: Washington’s Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik both played for the Penguins, while Pittsburgh’s Eric Fehr spent nine of his first 10 NHL seasons with the Capitals.