Some Monday musings from the NHL and the rest of the hockey world to prepare you for the upcoming week, in which:
Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau has to go back to Jonas Hiller as his No. 1 goalie in the second round, right? Well, it will be an interesting few days around Duck land as they await the winner of the San Jose-Los Angeles series.
In late January, the 32-year-old Hiller was enjoying his best season. He piled up 24 wins, including a club-record 14 in a row. But after an impressive 36-save shutout against the Kings at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25, his game hit some potholes.
Hiller became inconsistent and finished at a sub-par 5-7-2 clip for an overall record of 29-13-7 and a .911 save percentage. He was shoved out of the crease by rookie Frederik Andersen and his 20-5-0 record and .923 save percentage. Even 20-year-old John Gibson was better than Hiller in his brief season-ending audition that saw him reel off three wins in three starts.
So Andersen got the call in the playoffs. But Hiller was forced into action in relief of Andersen in Games 4 and 6, and Hiller stopped all 12 shots on Sunday as the Ducks overcame a two-goal deficit in the third period to finish off the Dallas Stars in overtime and win the first-round series.
You always wonder what a spectacular playoff performance can do for a career. Can Trevor Daley's outstanding effort for the Stars propel him to elite blue-line status? What about the Columbus Blue Jackets' David Savard? Can he become one of the game's top shutdown defencemen?
Savard has been paired with Jack Johnson, and the tandem has done a nice job holding in check Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, even though the Blue Jackets find themselves trailing the series 3-2 with Game 6 set for Monday in Columbus.
The 23-year-old Savard was drafted in the fourth round (94th overall) in 2009. He enjoyed a banner year in his final season of junior with the 2009-10 Moncton Wildcats. He was named the Canadian junior defenceman of the year and was bestowed the same honour in the QMJHL as winner of the Kevin Lowe Trophy.
But his path to a regular spot in the NHL has been slow. He was hindered by an abdominal injury last season, and spent most of the year in the AHL (60 games) compared to only four with the Blue Jackets.
Upon his season-ending exit interview with management and Columbus head coach Todd Richards last April, Savard was told he needed to be in better condition. He lost weight and added muscle last summer and his new-found strength and endurance have showed in his play in 2013-14.
The kid is all right
Remarkably, 18-year-old Colorado Avalanche rookie Nathan MacKinnon leads all playoff scorers with two goals and 10 points in five games. He added another achievement when he scored in overtime against the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 on Saturday evening to become the second-youngest player to do so in Stanley Cup post-season history:
The Chicago Blackhawks didn't require extra time to finish off the St. Louis Blues on Sunday afternoon. But you had to figure that wouldn't be the case after the way the first five games of the series evolved.
In fact, when four of the first five games needed overtime to settle the score, it was only the fifth time in Stanley Cup playoff history that occurred. The others were:
I'm gonna be just like you, Dad
When Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno scored the overtime winner in Game 4 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he and his dad, Mike, became just the fourth father-son duo to score overtime goals in post-season history.
Mike, now an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils, scored his overtime winner for the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Detroit Red Wings on April 27, 1993.
A week before Nick's goal, Colorado Avalanche forward Paul Stastny joined his father, Peter, to precede the Folignos in the father-son OT-goal club.
Here are the father-son tandems that have scored Stanley Cup playoff goals in overtime:
Zetterberg checks in
When Detroit Red Wings veteran Henrik Zetterberg, who returned to action last week after back surgery, scored in his team's last game, it was his 53rd post-season goal since the lockout-cancelled 2004-05 season.
Here are the top 10 goal scorers in the past nine playoffs combined:
53 -- Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit (109 games)
49 -- Daniel Briere, Buffalo/Philadelphia/Montreal (106 games)
42 -- Johan Franzen, Detroit (107 games)
41 -- Patrick Marleau, San Jose (94 games)
40 -- Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh (87 games)
36 -- Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit (108 games)
36 -- Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh (88 games)
33 -- Patrick Sharp, Chicago (81 games)
32 -- Patrick Kane, Chicago (80 games)
31 -- Marian Hossa, Atlanta/Pittsburgh/Detroit/Chicago (107 games)
By the Numbers
3 -- Game-winning goals in this year's playoffs for Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. Of course, he also scored the GWG in Canada's 3-0 gold-medal Olympic victory over Sweden two months ago.
3 -- Players in Canadiens history age 21 and under to have scored in three consecutive games after Brendan Gallagher turned the trick in Games 2, 3 and 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. The others were a 21-year-old Steve Shutt, who scored in four consecutive games in 1974 against the Ranger,s and a 20-year-old Shayne Corson, who scored in Games 5, 6 and 7 of the Habs' series against the Nordiques in 1987.
8 -- IIHF under-18 world championship titles for the United States national team based in Ann Arbor, Mich., after it beat the Czech Republic on Sunday. That's eight out of 16 and five of the last six.
10 -- Multi-goal comebacks in the Stanley Cup playoffs so far. That's 24.4 per cent of the 41 playoff games played, a record for the most comeback victories in the first round of the post-season. There were only eight such wins in the entire 2013 playoffs.
12 -- Years since the North Bay Centennials relocated to Saginaw, Mich., only to be replaced by the Battalion last fall. The Battalion made its first year in North Bay a good one by advancing to the OHL final against Guelph.
20 -- Years since the Centennials advanced to their only OHL final and, led by Lee Jinman, B.J. MacPherson and Brad Brown, won the franchise's only Robertson Cup.
24 -- Goals scored in the Sharks-Kings second-round, seven-game series a year ago.
37 -- Goals scored in the Sharks-Kings series through five games this spring.
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