Saturday, June 15, 2024
Fantasy Guru - Baseball

NHL First Round Recap – 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Ten things you need to know about the opening round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs:

1. Nearly every game in the First Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs was decided by a one-goal margin or two-plus including at least one empty-netter (89%; 39 of 44 GP), by far the highest such percentage in an opening round since it became a best-of-seven in 1987.

2. Teams were either tied or separated by one goal for 96% of playing time over the final eight games of the First Round (460:48 of 481:54 from NSH-VAN Game 5 onward). Dallas, the No. 1-ranked team in the Western Conference, advanced despite holding a multi-goal lead for less than seven minutes over the course of its seven-game series against last year’s Stanley Cup champions. They became the sixth team in NHL history to win a seven-game series despite leading by multiple goals for 10 minutes or less, following Vancouver (1:58 in 2007 CQF vs. DAL), Washington (2:54 in 2012 CQF vs. BOS), Toronto (7:57 in 1945 SCF vs. DET), New Jersey (8:33 in 1994 CQF vs. BUF) and St. Louis (8:57 in 1968 SF vs. MNS).

3. Oilers captain Connor McDavid (1-11—12 in 5 GP) led all players in the First Round with 12 points and became the third player in NHL history with 11 assists through five games in a postseason, joining Wayne Gretzky (13 in 1987) and Bernie Federko (11 in 1982).

4. The Avalanche, bolstered by active five-game goal streaks to start the postseason by both Artturi Lehkonen and Valeri Nichushkin, erupted for 28 goals against the Jets – tied for the fourth-highest total in a five-game series in League history – and became the fourth team in NHL history to score at least five times in each of its first five games from the start of a playoff year, following the 1985 Black Hawks (7 GP), 1994 Rangers (6 GP) and 1981 Islanders (5 GP).

5. The Bruins and Stars were the two clubs who skated to winner-take-all victories as the 2024 First Round became the fourth consecutive opening round to feature multiple Game 7s. This is the third stretch in NHL history with multiple Game 7s in the opening round for at least four straight postseasons, following a nine-year span from 2008 to 2016 and four-year stretch from 1989 to 1992.

6. Wyatt Johnston (4-3—7 in 7 GP) helped the Stars rally back from a 2-0 series deficit to oust the Golden Knights in Game 7, guaranteeing a new Stanley Cup champion for the 23rd time in 25 seasons (from 1998-99 to 2023-24). The only teams to repeat in that span are the Penguins (2016 & 2017) and Lightning (2020 & 2021). The eight remaining teams have combined for only one of the past 12 Stanley Cup wins, with Colorado (2022) – the Stars’ next opponent – seeking its second Cup in three seasons.

7. Igor Shesterkin (4-0, 1.75 GAA, .931 SV%) and the Rangers trailed for just 3:21 during their showdown with the Capitals and became the sixth Presidents’ Trophy winner to sweep an opening-round series. New York was the only club to go 4-0 through the First Round (and added a fifth straight win to open the Second Round, hours before the First Round closed in Dallas), meaning four of five postseasons since 2020 have featured one or fewer sweeps in the First Round.

8. For the third straight First Round, Carter Verhaeghe scored an overtime goal (Game 2 in 2024, Game 6 in 2023 & Game 4 in 2022) as he became the sixth player in NHL history with five career overtime goals during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Verhaeghe scored the winner against his former team after Sergei Bobrovsky submitted his early entry for the postseason’s best save.

9. Timely goals were common in the First Round for the Hurricanes (Game 2: 0:09 and Game 5: 0:08) and Canucks (Game 1: 0:12), who both set franchise records for fastest two goals in the postseason – with Carolina doing so twice. Another Eastern Conference team benefitted from a quick goal – David Pastrnak clinched the Bruins series by scoring one of the fastest Game 7 overtime goals in Stanley Cup Playoffs history (1:54), trailing just Martin Gelinas (1:25 in 2004 CQF) and Brad Park (1:52 in 1983 DF).

10. All eight teams that advanced to the Second Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs finished among the top 10 in the overall NHL standings during the regular season – marking the fifth time in 44 seasons that has occurred (since 1980, the first with a 16-team playoff field) following 2022, 2011, 1996 and 1980. Additionally, four of the top five teams in each conference, based on regular-season standing points, advanced past the opening round for the fourth time in 40 years (also 2022, 2011 & 1996).

World Elite Syndicate

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