Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Six

Last season during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I put out a morning “noteworthy” column in the style of Trey Kerby’s “Things Of Note” posts on The Basketball Jones. This year I’ll be doing something similar (I think with some upgrades on my own previous attempts) using the NHL’s morning press release (“Stanley Cup of Joe,” they’re calling it), my own opinions, and some videos, .GIFs and appropriate pictures. Quoted passages are from the NHL press release.

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Carry on, then

The Detroit Red Wings advanced past the Anaheim Ducks after taking them down by a score of 3-2 last night. The Wings franchise is now 14-9 all-time in Game 7s, giving them more wins in that situation than any other team.

It helped that Justin Abdelkader scored a sick shorty. Nice read, good wheels, good move:

Leadership

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Red Wings with Nick Lidstrom retiring, but new-captain Henrik Zetterberg took the reins and has done a killer job. He scored last night to bring his playoff total to 3+4=7 points. His goal, incidentally, tied him for all-time post-season goals with Lidstrom, with 54.

Well hey neat

Valtteri Filppula’s last three playoff goals have been game-winners. So y’know, do with that what you will.

Round 2 in the West is set

The Blackhawks will play the Red Wings, while the Kings face the Sharks. Man, playoffs are the best.

Long time comin’

The Maple Leafs’ 2-1 victory snapped a seven-game home playoff losing streak to the Bruins. Their last home postseason win over Boston was on March 31, 1959, when Frank Mahovlich scored the game-winning goal in overtime.

And for that, they have Phil Kessel to thank

Phil Kessel’s goal at 8:59 of the third period proved to be the game-winner, his second of the series (also in Game 2).

Only two other former Boston players have had two game-winning goals against the Bruins in a playoff series: Reggie Leach for the Flyers in 1976 and Gary Ehman for the Maple Leafs in 1959. Kessel has 3-1—4 so far in the six-game series; he has 3-6—9 in 22 career regular-season games against the Bruins. (Elias) 

Oh, James Reimer too

He made 29 saves in the win, including the couple below.

Grounded

Boston had plane trouble last night, so they stayed in Toronto overnight while the Leafs left town.

They play again tonight, and the winner will play the winner of the Rangers/Capitals series in round 2!

Speaking of…

The Rangers and Capitals: the home team has fared fairly well in this series (tonight’s in Washington):

The home team has won every game in the Rangers-Capitals series. The Rangers also improved to 4-0 in their last four home games when facing elimination. (Elias)

Overall, home teams are 29-16 (.644) in the opening round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Last year, home clubs went 18-30 (.375) in the first round of the postseason, the lowest winning percentage since the NHL switched to the 16-team playoff format in 1979-80.

The King for a reason

Henrik Lundqvist has been dragging an offense-starved Rangers team through this series.

Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to help the Rangers stave off elimination, marking his second career shutout when the Rangers were one loss away from a postseason exit. The other came in 2008, when Lundqvist kept the Rangers alive with a 3-0 victory in Game 4 of their second-round series against the Penguins. The only other playoff shutouts by Rangers goaltenders in which the team faced elimination were by Joe “Red Light” Miller (1928), John Ross Roach (1929) and John Vanbiesbrouck (1986). (Elias)

From 1941-2008, the Rangers had zero 1-0 postseason wins; they have three such victories since then (all by Henrik Lundqvist), including two against the Capitals.

Ovy can’t solve him.

Power outage

The Washington Capitals had the NHL’s best powerplay during the regular season, and their success has been linked directly to it in the post-season. They’re 0-for-5 on the road (all losses) and 3-9 at home (all wins).

Back-to-back

The Capitals and Rangers are the first team to play Game 7 against each other in back-to-back post-seasons since the Avalanche and Kings did it in 2001 and 2002.

Loose Pucks

* Washington forward Alex Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet for the fourth consecutive game, the longest postseason drought of his career

* Justin Abdelkader scored the first shorthanded goal of his career (regular season or playoffs)

* Emerson Etem scored the equalizer for the Ducks midway through the first period, becoming the youngest player in Anaheim history (20 years, 10 months) to tally in a Game 7

* Washington forward Tom Wilson lost a skate blade and had to crawl back to the bench (ha)

And finally…

Tonight’s Action

Toronto @ Boston, Game 7, series tied 3-3, 7:00 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS, NESN
NY Rangers @ Washington, Game 7, series tied 3-3, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, TSN, RDS2, MSG, CSN-DC

Check out Backhand Shelf tonight to join in the conversation, I’ll be posting throughout the games!