Ducks, Bruins, Habs all have chance to clinch

Ducks, Bruins, Habs all have chance to clinch
May 14, 2014, 6:00 pm
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News and notes as we look ahead to tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action and glance back at Tuesday night’s elimination games:

Montreal @ Boston, Game 7, series tied 3-3, 7 p.m., NBCSN

Rivalry night: The Bruins and Canadiens will play a Game 7 for the ninth time in their 34 playoff meetings. Six of the last nine postseason meetings between these clubs now have required a Game 7, including their most recent matchup in the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. In that game, Montreal’s P.K. Subban scored the tying goal with just 1:57 remaining in regulation before Boston’s Nathan Horton scored the winner 5:43 into overtime.

Familiar territory: Boston will be skating in a Game 7 for the seventh consecutive season, establishing an NHL record. Of the eight Game 7s Boston has contested since the streak began in 2008, six have been decided by one goal, including four in overtime.

Been there, done that: Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara will be making his 11th career Game 7 appearance, passing Martin Brodeur, Andrew Ference and Scott Gomez for the most among active players. Boston’s Claude Julien will be behind the bench for his 10th Game 7, tying Mike Keenan for the most in NHL history among head coaches.

For the record: Home teams are 91-62 [.595] all-time in Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The team that scores first is 113-40 [.739].Thirty-eight Game 7s have required overtime [24.8 percent]. Home and road teams both are 19-19 in those contests. The Bruins are 13-11 all-time in Game 7s, including a 12-7 mark at home. The Canadiens are 13-9 all-time in Game 7s, including a 5-6 mark on the road.

Anaheim @ Los Angeles, Game 6, ANA leads 3-2, 9:30 p.m., NBCSN

Beware the Kings: The Ducks fell behind in the series 2-0 but roared back to win three in a row to put the Kings on the brink of elimination. Well know what happened the last time the Kings faced this adversity, winning four games in a row to stun the San Jose Sharks in seven games. 

"They've got so much pride and championship blood that it's just going to take a perfect game to [end the series] in their building," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, who is one win away from getting to a conference final for the first time in his NHL coaching career.

 "We know our work is definitely cut out for us. We know that they're not going to roll over for us. I would still venture to guess that people are still thinking that they're the favorites to win the series because of what they've done in the past."

Heeeere’s Johnny: Boudreau took a calculated risk when he turned to rookie goalie John Gibson, but the gamble has paid off in a big way with the 20-year-old Pittsburgh native going 2-0 with a 1.50 GAA in his first two playoff starts. In five career NHL games Gibson has yet to lose a game.

Who’s hot: Anaheim forward Devante Smith-Pelly has five goals in his past six games. The Kings’ Marian Gaborik has five goals in his past five games and leads the NHL with eight playoff goals.

Rangers get a break: With their 2-1 win over the Penguins Tuesday night the New York Rangers received a hard-earned day off on Wednesday and await the winner of tonight’s Montreal-Boston matchup. The Rangers now have won five Game 7s over the last three playoff seasons [two of them against the Capitals], an unprecedented feat in NHL history. They also became the third team in NHL history to win five consecutive Game 7s, following the Red Wings [1949-64] and Bruins [1983-94].

The King: Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist now owns a 5-1 record with a 1.00 goals-against average, .965 save percentage and one shutout in six career Game 7s. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is tied with Johnny Bower [3-0, 1.00 GAA] and Dwayne Roloson (2-1, 1.00 GAA) for the lowest career GAA in Game 7s (minimum 3 games]. Lundqvist has started 80 straight playoff games, becoming the third goalie in NHL history to start 80 or more consecutive postseason games for one team. Marty Brodeur holds the League record [194 with New Jersey], while Patrick Roy ranks second [133 with Colorado].

Mr. Clutch: Rangers forward Brad Richards is now 7-0 in career Game 7s with the Lightning and Rangers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the second player in NHL history to win seven consecutive Game 7s at any point in a career. The other to do so was Red Kelly, who posted a perfect 7-0 mark in seven career Game 7s. Only Glenn Anderson and Ray Bourque have won more Game 7s with eight.

Dynasty in Chicago? The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks are headed to the Western Conference finals for the fourth time in six years following their 2-1 overtime victory Tuesaday night in Minnesota.

Killer instinct: The Blackhawks improved to 12-2 in potential series-clinching games since 2009, including a 6-1 mark on the road. Since 2009, the Blackhawks now are 14-0 in Games 5 and 6 of playoff series that were tied after four games.

St. Patrick: Patrick Kane’s overtime game-winner was his third series-clinching goal in overtime. He also did it in Game 6 of the 2010 Final at Philadelphia and in Game 5 of the 2013 conference finals against L.A. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became just the second player in NHL history to record three series-clinching goals in overtime. The other, Martin Gelinas, netted one for the Hurricanes in 2002 and two for the Flames in 2004. Kane also now has four career playoff overtime goals, tied for fourth in NHL history. The three ahead of him are Joe Sakic [8], Maurice Richard [6] and Glenn Anderson [5].

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