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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

NHL Peachy: Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Playoffs Edition – April 25, 2017

The First Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs featured 18 overtime games in 42 contests (42.9%), a record for any round in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The previous record of 17 overtime contests, established in the 2013 opening round, was set in 47 games (36.2%). There were 20 overtime games in the entire 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs (91 GP).

* Three days saw every game extend past regulation, including April 17 when all four contests went into overtime – the third time in Stanley Cup Playoffs history that four games required overtime on the same day (also April 11, 1980 and April 10, 1985).

* The Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals and No. 2 Wild Card Maple Leafs played past regulation five times in the opening round, matching the single-series NHL postseason record set in the 1951 Stanley Cup Final (Games 1-5, 4-1 TOR W vs. MTL) and equaled in the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals (Games 1-5, 4-2 PHX W vs. CHI).

* Three of eight series were decided by an overtime goal, scored by St. Louis’ Magnus Paajarvi, Ottawa’s Clarke MacArthur and Washington’s Marcus Johansson. There only were two such goals in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The record for a single postseason is six, set in 1993 and matched in 1999.

* Nine of the 12 games in the Capitals-Maple Leafs (5) and Senators-Bruins (4) series required overtime. Only two other rounds in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs have featured two series with at least four overtime games – all within the past six years: the 2012 Conference Quarterfinals (Coyotes-Blackhawks: 5, Capitals-Bruins: 4) and 2014 First Round (Wild-Avalanche: 4, Blackhawks-Blues: 4).

A breakdown of all 18 overtime goals scored in the First Round:

Of the 42 games contested in the First Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs:

* Twenty-eight were decided by one goal (66.7%), while another five were decided by two goals following an empty-net score (78.6% combined). Only the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs featured an opening round with that high of a percentage of one-goal margins (32 of 48 GP, 66.7%).

* Eighteen (42.9%) entered the final five minutes of regulation with the score tied. Three featured a go-ahead goal in the final three minutes of regulation, while five included a tying goal in the final five minutes of the third period (including two in the last 60 seconds).

* Seventeen saw the winning team overcome a deficit of at least one goal, including nine that overcame a multi-goal deficit. Clubs also rallied from a third-period deficit (of any margin) to win eight times.

* Montreal and New York were tied or separated by one goal for 96.5% of the total playing time (379:10 of 392:56), the most of any series. Three other series either were tied or at a one-goal margin for more than 80% of total playing time: Ottawa-Boston (90.9%, 367:47 of 404:31), St. Louis-Minnesota (89.1%, 291:45 of 327:30) and Washington-Toronto (83.5%, 339:12 of 406:20).

* Overall, the eight First Round series were tied or within one goal for 80.7% of total playing time (2,199:48 of 2,724:18).

Two of the top five goal-scorers in the First Round were rookies, with Penguins forward Jake Guentzel leading all skaters with five goals and Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews sharing second place with four.

* Guentzel became the second rookie in NHL history to record a hat trick in the postseason that included an overtime goal, achieving the feat in Game 3 against the Blue Jackets. Guentzel, who notched two game-winning goals, also became the first player to score five goals in his first four career postseason games since Maurice Richard in 1944 (w/ MTL).

* Matthews, 19, scored in Games 3-6 to become the second teenager in NHL history to score in four consecutive playoff games (4-1—5), joining Wendel Clark – Toronto’s only other No. 1 overall pick – who also achieved the feat at age 19 in 1986 (4-0—4 in 4 GP).

* Four different rookies – Kasperi Kapanen (TOR), Guentzel (PIT), Kevin Fiala (NSH) and Sean Kuraly (BOS) – scored an overtime goal, equaling the total from the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Only one year in Stanley Cup Playoffs history has featured more rookies with at least one overtime goal: 1968, when Jacques Lemaire (2), Milan Marcetta, Larry Keenan, Gary Sabourin and Don Blackburn all scored in extra time.

* Oilers forward Anton Slepyshev scored his first career playoff goal in Game 6 to become the fifth rookie with a winning goal in the First Round and the third rookie in franchise history to score a series-clinching goal (and first since 1992).

The lower-ranked seed won three of eight opening round series, with the Predators (4-0 W vs. CHI), Blues (4-1 W vs. MIN) and Rangers (4-2 W vs. MTL) each advancing.

* The Predators became the third team since 1974-75 (when the NHL introduced the conference format) to sweep the team with the best record in the conference in the opening round. The others: the 1981 Oilers (vs. MTL in best-of-five PR) and 1993 Blues (vs. CHI in best-of-seven DSF).

Teams that won Game 1 of their series went 6-2 in the First Round, with only the Senators and Oilers advancing after dropping the opening contest. Overall, teams that win the first game in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series hold an all-time series record of 453-207 (68.6%).

Click here for the dates, starting times and national television coverage for the Second Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which begins Wednesday.

Craig Anderson of the Senators, Andrew Cogliano of the Ducks and Derek Ryan of the Hurricanes are the three finalists for the 2016-17 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

The local chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted nominations for the Masterton Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season and the top three vote-getters were designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Click here for more information.

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