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NHL Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Playoffs Edition – May 14, 2024

* Captain Jordan Staal and Evgeny Kuznetsov started a third-period comeback for the Hurricanes, who staved off elimination for the second straight contest and moved one step closer to becoming the 10th team in NHL history to force a Game 7 after falling behind 3-0 in a playoff series.
 

* In his last night as a 20-year-old, Wyatt Johnston joined elite company in NHL history with a pair of goals and helped the Stars skate to a five-goal outing in Game 4. Dallas now owns an opportunity to advance to the Western Conference Final on Wednesday.
 

* The Bruins look to accomplish a franchise-first as their quest to rally from a 3-1 series deficit against the Panthers begins in Game 5, while the Oilers and Canucks return to the ice after a trio of one-goal games have highlighted their series’ first three contests.

STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS RISE TO OCCASION, HELP HURRICANES FORCE GAME 6
Facing a one-goal deficit entering the final 20 minutes, the Hurricanes benefited from the play of previous Stanley Cup champions Jordan Staal (1-0—1) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (1-0—1) en route to four unanswered goals and a second consecutive victory to stave off elimination. The club, which rallied from a third-period deficit to win a potential elimination game for the fifth time in franchise history, forced Game 6 after trailing 3-0 in a series for just the third time (also 2001 CQF vs. NJD & 1988 DSF vs. MTL).

* Staal, who has helped his club overcome a series deficit of at least 2-0 three times before  (2019 R1, 2009 SCF & 2009 CSF), boosted his career totals in potential elimination games to 10-3—13 (21 GP) and became the sixth active player with at least 10 goals in those contests. The others: Chris Kreider (16), Alex Ovechkin (13), Corey Perry (10), Brad Marchand (10) and Andre Burakovsky (10).



* Kuznetsov, one of six active players with at least 32 points in a single playoff year after doing so during Washington’s championship run in 2018, found the back of the net for the second time in as many games for the Hurricanes and became the sixth active player with at least three career game-winning goals in potential elimination contests. The others: Joe Pavelski (4), Corey Perry (3), Alex Ovechkin (3), Patrick Kane (3) and Chris Kreider (3).

COMMON THREADS BETWEEN CAROLINA AND OTHER HISTORIC SERIES COMEBACKS?

Carolina’s Stanley Cup aspirations lived to see another day as the Hurricanes continued their quest to become the 10th team in NHL history to force a Game 7 after losing each of their first three games of a series. Only the 2014 Kings (R1 vs. SJS), 2010 Flyers (CSF vs. BOS), 1975 Islanders (QF vs. PIT) and 1942 Maple Leafs (SCF vs. DET) completed the comeback entirely, with each of the past two instances also forcing a Game 6 with a Game 5 road victory.

* Just like Evgeny Kuznetsov did for the Hurricanes, each of the Kings (Tyler Toffoli), Flyers (Simon Gagne & Ville Leino) and Maple Leafs (Nick Metz Syl Apps) featured the same player score goals in both Games 4 and 5 en route to forcing a Game 6.

* Just one of the four previous teams featured multiple Stanley Cup champions on the roster (LAK: 16); the Hurricanes have five (Kuznetsov, Jordan StaalDmitry OrlovTeuvo Teravainen & Jake Guentzel). The Flyers (Chris Pronger), Islanders (Ed Westfall) and Maple Leafs (Bucko McDonald) each had just one previous winner on their roster.


JOHNSTON POWERS STARS OFFENSIVE OUTBURST AHEAD OF 21st BIRTHDAY
On the eve of his 21st birthday, Wyatt Johnston (2-1—3) began the celebrations a day early with his first career three-point playoff game and helped the Western Conference’s top-seeded Stars push the Avalanche to the brink of elimination. The Stars/North Stars franchise hold an all-time series record of 12-1 when owning a 3-1 lead and have clinched the matchup in Game 5 on six occasions (last: 2020 CF).




* Johnston (11-6—17 in 30 GP) opened the contest with his 10th career playoff goal, then climbed the NHL’s all-time list for most by a player age 20 or younger with a second-period tally and nearly hit a dozen later in the contest before passing up an empty-net opportunity to teammate Sam Steel. In the process, the Toronto, Ont., native and No. 23 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft joined Jaromir Jagr (5) and Claude Lemieux (4) as the third player with at least four career game-winning goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs before their 21st birthday.
 

NHL AWARDS RETURNS TO LAS VEGAS, SCHEDULE OF ANNOUNCEMENTS UNVEILED

The NHL Awards will return to Las Vegas this summer at the newly opened Fontainebleau Las Vegas, with the event set to be held June 27 at 7 p.m. ET, broadcast live on ESPN and Sportsnet. Tickets for the ceremony will go on sale to the public Friday. Click here for more information on next month’s live show.

* The NHL also unveiled the schedule of announcements for 2023-24 trophy winners, which begins today, Tuesday, May 14, when the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award is presented during pregame programming on ESPN, Sportsnet and TVA Sports. ESPN’s announcements will be made on its studio show The Point leading into its Stanley Cup Playoffs game coverage. Click here for the full schedule, which includes five winners to be announced during the live show June 27 and two at the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Sphere on June 28.

QUICK CLICKS

Start times set for Rangers-Hurricanes Game 6, Oilers-Canucks Game 5
*Valeri Nichushkin of Avalanche placed in Stage 3 of Player Assistance Program

Carson Soucy of Canucks suspended one game for actions in Game 3 of Western 2nd Round

Ryan McDonagh earns college degree, attends commencement

Monday’s edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates

A GAME 4 AND A GAME 5 ON TAP FOR TUESDAY
Tuesday begins with the Bruins aiming to do what the Panthers did to them last spring – in the 2023 First Round, Florida erased a 3-1 series deficit to eliminate Boston en route to an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. Boston will look to take the first step toward the same feat – something they have never achieved. Meanwhile in Edmonton, the Oilers have the opportunity to even their series at 2-2 or the Canucks can move within one victory of advancing to the Western Conference Final.

* Charlie McAvoy and the Bruins owned a 20-7-7 record after a loss during the 2023-24 regular season and aim to continue that success in Game 5. McAvoy, with 0-8—8 in potential elimination games, is one of seven active defensemen with eight-plus assists in that scenario alongside Ryan Suter (11), Adam Fox (10), Alex Pietrangelo (9), Erik Karlsson (9), Jared Spurgeon (8) and John Carlson (8).

* Leon Draisaitl (7-11—18 in 8 GP) is leading the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs in points and focuses on helping his club even their Second Round series against the Canucks, who have been a part of seven straight one-goal games. Draisaitl is two points shy of becoming the ninth player in NHL history – and third in the past 35 years – to reach the 20-point mark in a postseason in 10 games or fewer. He would join Wayne Gretzky (8 GP in 1987, 1985, 1983 & 1981), Mike Bossy (8 GP in 1981), Connor McDavid (9 GP in 2022), Mario Lemieux (9 GP in 1992), Mark Messier (9 GP in 1988), Rick Middleton (9 GP in 1983), Barry Pederson (9 GP in 1983) and Darryl Sittler (9 GP in 1977).

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