News, notes and quotes looking back at Thursday night’s Stanley Cup action and ahead to the games on tap for Friday:
Not dead yet: The Los Angeles Kings lived to play another day with their explosive 6-3 win over the Sharks Thursday night in L.A. The two teams have combined for an incredible 34 goals in four games. Despite the lopsided win, the Kings have been outscored 20-14 in the series, alarming when you consider the Kings allowed the fewest goals in the NHL during the regular season [2.1 goals, compared to 5.0 in the playoffs].
Incredible odds: In case you’re wondering, teams have fallen behind three games to none 175 times in NHL history and only three of them [1.7 percent] have emerged to win the series – the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, the 1975 New York Islanders and 2010 Philadelphia Flyers. I was there for that Flyers’ comeback, which included erasing a 3-0 deficit in Game 7 in Boston, and I still can’t believe it happened.
Comeback fever: A big reason the Capitals are watching these playoffs is because they blew 13 two-goal leads during the regular season. Seems they’d fit right into these playoffs. The Bruins rallied back from a 2-0 deficit to record a 3-2 overtime victory against the Red Wings Thursday night to grab a 3-1 series lead over Detroit in their first-round series. The Bruins became the ninth team to overcome a two-deficit and win a game in the first round. That’s a Stanley Cup record. It’s also one more time than it happened in all of last year’s playoffs. In fact, in 23 of the 31 playoff games so far, the winning teams have trailed at some point in their respective games.
Even in Minny: After scoring nine goals in a pair of wins in Colorado it looked as though Patrick Roy and the Avalanche might cruise into Round 2. But don’t underestimate the team defense of the Minnesota Wild, which clamped down in a big way in Games 3 and 4, limiting the Avs to one goal on 34 total shots to even the series at 2-2. Mikail Granlund played a big part on both victories, netting the Game 3 game-winner in overtime on an incredible individual effort, then blocking three shots in the final minute of Game 4.
Rangers at Flyers, 7 p.m. [CNBC, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH - Rangers lead series 2-1]: Head coach John Tortorella may be gone, but the Rangers still know how to block shots. They got in the way of 28 of them in Game 3 en route to a 4-1 win in Philly. The big news for the Flyers is that goaltender Steve Mason will make his first playoff start since 2009 after an upper body injury kept him from starting the first three games of the series. Look for Rangers forward and former Flyer Dan Carcillo, scratched in the first two games, to return to the lineup after scoring a goal and agitating the Flyers in Game 3. The Flyers are still looking for some offense from captain Claude Giroux, who has no goals and two assists in three games.
Blackhawks at Blues, 8 p.m. [NBCSN, CBC, RDS2, FS-MW, CSN-CH – Series tied 2-2]: Everyone figured this would be the most hotly contested series of the first round and it has been, with three of the four games decided in overtime. Each team has held serve on home ice, with the Blues winning a pair at home and the Hawks winning their two games in Chicago. The Blackhawks will be without defenseman Brent Seabrook, who will serve the third and final game of his suspension for concussing Blues center David Backes, who is questionable for tonight after missing the previous two games as well. Backes has not practiced with the club since the hit.
Stars at Ducks, 10:30 p.m. [ NBCSN, RDS, TSN, FS-SW, PRIME – Series tied 2-2]: After scoring 16 goals for the Stars during the regular season, former Caps center Cody Eakin, acquired in the Mike Ribeiro trade, made his first Stanley Cup playoff goal a game-winner for the Stars to even their series. The Ducks are hoping to get Ryan Getzlaf back in the lineup after he missed Game 4 in Dallas. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau is also facing a goaltending dilemma. Does he start Frederik Andersen, who was pulled in Game 4? Or does he turn to Jonas Hiller, who stopped one shot in his first game since April 6?