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NHL Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Playoffs Edition – April 29, 2024

* The Rangers swept the Capitals and became the first team to advance to the Second Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the help of a series-clinching goal by Artemi Panarin.

* The Canucks took a 3-1 series lead and did so in dramatic fashion as they became the second team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to tie a contest in the final 10 seconds of regulation and score the winner in the opening two minutes of overtime.

Connor McDavid hit the 10-point mark in a playoff series for the fifth time in his career – a feat only seven other players in NHL history have achieved – while Stuart Skinner stopped all 33 shots he faced to help the Oilers take a 3-1 lead.

* A two-game Monday in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs will see the Lightning attempt to stave off elimination again while the Stars aim to even their series against the Golden Knights at two apiece.

RANGERS SWEEP CAPITALS TO BECOME FIRST TEAM TO ADVANCE TO SECOND ROUND
With the help of a series-clinching goal by Artemi Panarin (1-1—2), the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Rangers earned their fourth straight victory against the Capitals and became the first team to advance to the Second Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They now await the winner of the Hurricanes-Islanders series.



* The Rangers became just the sixth Presidents’ Trophy winner to sweep their opening-round series, following the 2020-21 Avalanche, 2000-01 Avalanche, 1998-99 Stars, 1993-94 Rangers and 1985-86 Oilers. Among those clubs, only Colorado (2001), Dallas (1999) and New York (1994) went on to win the Stanley Cup.

* New York trailed Washington for just 3:21 in its opening-round series, the least amount of time among all teams to date in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs and 9:00 less than the next closest (BOS: 12:21). It also marked the least amount of time the Rangers have trailed in a best-of-seven series in franchise history.

* Panarin’s series-clinching goal was his second with the Rangers following his Game 7 overtime winner against the Penguins in the 2022 First Round. The only player in Rangers history with more series-clinching tallies is Bill Cook (3).


CANUCKS RALLY LATE THANKS TO BOESER’S HAT TRICK, LINDHOLM’S OVERTIME WINNER

With the Canucks trailing 3-1 in the final three minutes of regulation, Brock Boeser (3-0—3) scored twice – including the game-tying goal with just eight seconds remaining on the clock (59:52) – to record Vancouver’s first playoff hat trick in nearly 30 years and force overtime, where Elias Lindholm (1-1—2) ended the contest just 1:02 into the extra frame. The Canucks are now just one win away from advancing to the Second Round for the first time since 2020 and second time in the past 13 years.



 * Boeser became the third player in NHL history to record a hat trick in the playoffs with their third tally being a game-tying goal in the final minute of regulation. The others to do so: Joe Pavelski (59:48 in Game 4 of 2020 R1) and Dale Hunter (59:57 in Game 2 of 1993 DSF). Boeser’s tying goal also marked the third latest in Canucks playoff history, trailing only a pair of tallies from Matt Cooke (59:58 in Game 1 of 2003 CSF & 59:54 in Game 7 of 2004 CQF).

* Game 4 marked the second time in Stanley Cup Playoffs history that a team tied the contest in the final 10 seconds of regulation and then scored the overtime winner in the opening two minutes of the extra frame. The other instance occurred in Game 5 of the 2012 Conference Semifinals when the Rangers tied the contest with eight seconds remaining before scoring the winner 1:35 into overtime.

Arturs Silovs (27 saves) recorded a win in his NHL postseason debut and joined Thatcher Demko (Game 1) as well as Casey DeSmith (Game 3) as the third different goaltender to post a victory for the Canucks this series. Vancouver recorded the only prior instance of a team having three different goaltenders earn each of the club’s first three wins of a postseason (Dan CloutierJohan Hedberg Alex Auld in 2004 CQF), while Chicago is the only other team to have three netminders with wins at any point in a series (Tony EspositoGary Smith Gerry Desjardins in 1972 QF).

McDAVID HITS 10 POINTS AS OILERS BLANK KINGS
Evan Bouchard scored the lone goal of the game courtesy of an assist from Connor McDavid, who became the first player to hit the 10-point mark this postseason, while Stuart Skinner turned aside all 33 shots he faced to help the Oilers take a 3-1 series lead. Edmonton owns an all-time record of 15-1 when leading 3-1 in a best-of-seven series.

* McDavid (1-9—10 in 4 GP) hit the 10-point mark in a playoff series for the fifth time in his career (also 2023 R2, 2023 R1, 2022 R2 & 2022 R1). Only seven other players in NHL history have had as many 10-point series: Wayne Gretzky (21x), Mark Messier (8x), Denis Savard (7x), Mario Lemieux (6x), Joe Sakic (5x), Doug Gilmour (5x) and Peter Stastny (5x).

* Skinner’s 33 stops marked the third-highest save total in a shutout performance by an Oilers goaltender in the playoffs behind only Curtis Joseph (43 in Game 5 of 1997 CQF) and Grant Fuhr (34 in Game 1 of 1984 SCF).

NICHUSHKIN, LEHKONEN LIFT AVALANCHE TO 3-1 SERIES LEAD AGAINST JETS

Valeri Nichushkin notched the 13th hat trick in franchise playoff history and Artturi Lehkonen (1-1—2) also logged multiple points as each player extended their postseason-opening goal streak to four games while helping Colorado push Winnipeg to the brink of elimination. Nichushkin and Lehkonen became the third and fourth players in club history with a run of at least four contests, joining Michel Goulet (5 GP in 1985) and Nathan MacKinnon (4 GP in 2022).
 
* The Avalanche became the fifth team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history with five or more goals in each of their first four games, joining the 1985 Black Hawks (7 GP), 1994 Rangers (6 GP), 1981 Islanders (5 GP) and 1946 Canadiens (4 GP). Each club went on to capture the Cup except for Chicago.


QUICK CLICKS


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Nikolai Kovalenko makes NHL debut with Avalanche in Game 4 on Sunday

MONDAY FEATURES BOLTS LOOKING TO FORCE GAME 6, STARS HOPING TO PULL EVEN

Monday’s slate opens with the Lightning looking to cut their series deficit to 3-2 and closes with the Stars hoping to break even in Vegas. Each contest is available on ESPN in the U.S. as well as on Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.

Brandon Hagel (2-1—3), Brayden Point (1-2—3), Victor Hedman (0-3—3), Nikita Kucherov (0-3—3) and Steven Stamkos (2-0—2) had multiple points during Tampa Bay’s high-scoring win in Game 4. The franchise record for most points when facing elimination in a playoff series is six by Steve Downie during the 2011 Conference Quarterfinals (1-5—6 in 3 GP), while Hagel and Stamkos already tied the club mark for most goals last achieved by Nicholas Paul during the 2022 First Round (2-0—2 in 2 GP).

Wyatt Johnston played the role of overtime hero in Game 3 and can lead Dallas to a second straight victory, which would make the series the first to feature road teams winning each of the first four contests since the 2023 First Round between the Devils and Rangers (4 GP). Johnston (6-3—9 in 22 GP), who is set to celebrate his 21st birthday on May 14, needs one playoff point to reach 10 in his NHL career.

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