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NHL Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Playoffs Edition – April 23, 2024

* On the heels of his 100-assist season, Connor McDavid recorded the first five-assist outing in the playoffs since 1998 while Zach Hyman netted the first hat trick of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs in a high-scoring Oilers win.

Sebastian Aho and Jordan Martinook scored nine seconds apart in the final minutes of regulation to help the Hurricanes pull off just their third three-goal comeback win in franchise postseason history and take a 2-0 series lead.

* The Golden Knights made the first step at defending their 2023 Stanley Cup championship as they skated to a 1-0 series lead.

* The Maple Leafs evened their series at 1-1 as it shifts to Toronto and now own the third-most postseason wins in Game 2s after suffering a Game 1 loss over the past 30 years.

* Four teams will have the opportunity to tie their series during a four-game Tuesday as the Capitals, Lightning, Avalanche and Predators will each be eyeing road wins to even their First Round matchups.

McDAVID, HYMAN LEAD OILERS TO SEVEN-GOAL OUTBURST IN GAME 1

The 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs started with a bang for the Oilers as Connor McDavid (0-5—5) came within one assist of matching the NHL record for most in a postseason game while Zach Hyman (3-1—4) netted the League’s first hat trick of these playoffs en route to a seven-goal Edmonton outburst. The Oilers scored seven in their opening game of a postseason for the fifth time in franchise history and first since 1988.



* After becoming the fourth player in NHL history to hit the 100-assist mark in a season and the first since Wayne Gretzky in 1990-91 (122) – a total later matched by Nikita Kucherov– McDavid started the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs by joining Gretzky on another short list. The Oilers captain became the fourth skater to post five assists in his team’s opening game of a playoff year, following Stan Mikita (0-5—5 in Game 1 of 1973 QF), Geoff Courtnall (1-5—6 in Game 1 of 1998 CQF) and Gretzky (0-5—5 in Game 1 of the 1981 PRLM).




* On the heels of a career year where he netted 54 goals and four hat tricks, Hyman became the fourth Oilers player to score three goals in the opening game of a playoff year, joining Gretzky (1983 DSF), Jari Kurri (1984 DSF) and Glenn Anderson (1988 DSF). Only three other players have achieved the feat in the past 20 years: David Perron (2022 w/ STL), Sidney Crosby (2018 w/ PIT) and Patric Hornqvist (2016 w/ PIT).

Evan Bouchard (0-4—4) became the second defenseman in Oilers history to post four assists in a playoff game following Paul Coffey (1-5—6 in Game 5 of 1985 CF & 0-4—4 in Game 3 of 1985 SCF).

COMEBACK CANES SCORE TWICE IN NINE SECONDS TO EXTEND SERIES LEAD

Trailing 3-0 more than halfway through the game and 3-2 with less than three minutes remaining in regulation, the Hurricanes scored a pair of goals in nine seconds courtesy of Sebastian Aho and Jordan Martinook to steal Game 2 from the Islanders and take a 2-0 series lead. It marked just the third three-goal comeback win in Hurricanes/Whalers postseason history following Game 4 of the 2002 Conference Semifinals (4-3 OT W at MTL) and Game 1 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final (5-4 W vs. EDM).

* Carolina’s two goals in nine seconds marked the fastest in franchise postseason history. The last team to score a faster pair in the playoffs was Pittsburgh during Game 3 of the 2018 First Round (0:05).



* The Hurricanes improved to 10-0 in Game 2 after winning Game 1 dating to the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs, going on to win eight of those nine prior series. The only other team to post a run of that length is Edmonton, which also took 10 straight 2-0 series leads after winning Game 1 from 1985 to 1988.


REIGNING STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS TAKE 1-0 SERIES LEAD

The Golden Knights picked up where they left off as the reigning Stanley Cup champions skated to a 1-0 series lead thanks to Jonathan Marchessault (1-0—1), who now has points in each of his past 11 postseason games dating to 2023, and Jack Eichel (0-2—2), who led Vegas during its run to the Cup last season. The Golden Knights own an all-time record of 7-2 (.778) when leading 1-0 in a best-of-seven series.

* Vegas became the fourth reigning Stanley Cup champion over the past decade to take a 1-0 series lead in the opening-round series following their Cup victory. The others are Tampa Bay (2021), Washington (2019) and Pittsburgh (2018 & 2017).


MATTHEWS PROPELS MAPLE LEAFS TO EVEN SERIES

Auston Matthews (1-2—3) factored on all three Maple Leafs goals, including securing the game winner, to help Toronto even its First Round series at 1-1 before heading to Scotiabank Arena for Game 3 on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET on ESPN, CBC, TVAS, SN, NESN). Matthews’ go-ahead goal with 7:54 remaining in the third period marked the first time this season (regular season & playoffs) the Maple Leafs have led against the Bruins.

* Matthews recorded his fourth career three-point game in the playoffs, tied for third most in franchise history behind Doug Gilmour (10) and Darryl Sittler (7). He also moved into a tie on another postseason list after his sixth game-winning goal, which is the fourth most by a Maple Leafs skater behind Ted Kennedy (11), Frank Mahovlich (9) and Mats Sundin (7).



* Max Domi, who shared a video montage of the Maple Leafs ahead of Game 1 which started with him sitting on his dad’s lap during Tie’s time in Toronto, got the team on the board in Game 2. Max and Tie became the first father-son duo to both score a goal with Toronto in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the ninth father-son duo in NHL history to record a postseason goal with the same franchise.

QUICK CLICKS

Monday’s edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates
*Linus Ullmark makes stunning split glove save against Maple Leafs in Game 2
*Lindy Ruff named Sabres coach, replaces Don Granato
*MiraghBitove goes from Hall of Fame archivist to Cup keeper
Stanley Cup Playoffs postcard: At the Moss Pit in Edmonton

EIGHT TEAMS HEAD BACK ONTO THE ICE AS GAME 2s TAKE OVER TUESDAY SLATE

The Stanley Cup Playoffs on ESPN, Sportsnet and TVA Sports continue with four Game 2s on Tuesday as four teams look to head home with a 1-1 split and four look to hit the road needing two wins to reach the Second Round.

* Teams that take a 1-0 lead in a best-of-seven hold an all-time series record of 515-242 (.680), including an 8-7 mark in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Teams that take a 2-0 lead in that scenario own an all-time series record of 348-55 (.864).

* The Canucks and Rangers eye a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series for the ninth and 16th time in franchise history, respectively. Vancouver captain Quinn Hughes (2-16—18 in 18 GP) assisted on both the game-tying and go-ahead goals in Game 1 and sits within two points of 20 in his postseason career. He can join Adam Fox (22), Al MacInnis (21) and Gary Suter (20) as the fourth defenseman in Stanley Cup Playoffs history with 20 career points prior to his 20th postseason game.

* Chris Kreider is the Rangers leader in all-time playoff goals and capped a New York victory in Game 1 with the 41st of his postseason career (108 GP). His next tally will tie the Boxford, Mass., native with John LeClair (42 in 154 GP) for ninth place among U.S.-born players in Stanley Cup Playoffs history. Joe Pavelski (73 in 182 GP) is the all-time leader.

* The Avalanche and Lightning, two teams that look to rebound from closely-contested Game 1 losses, have their sights on a best-of-seven series win after dropping the opening contest for the eighth and 13th time in franchise history, respectively. Mikko Rantanen, who had 0-2—2 in Game 1 and sits one assist shy of becoming the third player in franchise history with 60 career postseason assists, can become the eighth active player with at least 30 career multi-point outings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (29) – a list led by Sidney Crosby (67).

Nikita Kucherov (53-108—161 in 143 GP) ranks among the top 25 in all-time playoff points, with 39 (9-30—39 in 32 GP) of those in scenarios when the Lightning are trailing in a postseason series, and looks to guide the Lightning to the Second Round despite an early series deficit. Tampa Bay’s winning percentage when trailing a best-of-seven series 1-0 (12-9; 0.571) is the highest in NHL history (min. 10 series).

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