Monday, May 20, 2024
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NHL Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Playoffs Edition – May 16, 2024

* A two-goal performance from Cale Makar secured him as the first defenseman in Avalanche/Nordiques history to score multiple game-winning goals in potential elimination contests (also Game 6 of 2020 R2) as Colorado forced a Game 6. 

* The 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs is the sixth in NHL history in which all second round series have required at least six games alongside the 2017 Second Round2014 Second Round2009 Conference Semifinals1999 Conference Semifinals and 1986 Division Finals.


Connor Ingram was awarded the 2023-24 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy after a breakout performance that came as a result of seeking help for his obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and lingering depression through the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance program.

* Thursday’s action includes the Rangers aiming to advance to the 2024 Eastern Conference Final, the Hurricanes focused on forcing a Game 7 and both the Oilers-Canucks vying for a 3-2 series lead.

MAKAR, RANTANEN, MACKINNON HELP AVALANCHE FORCE GAME 6

Cale Makar (2-0—2), Nathan MacKinnon (1-1—2) and Mikko Rantanen (0-1—1) helped the Avalanche earn a comeback victory as their club staved off elimination and forced a Game 6 in Denver set for Friday (10 p.m. ET on TNT, truTV, MAX, Sportsnet, SN1, TVA Sports). Colorado improved to 30-7 in playoff games when Makar, MacKinnon and Rantanen all record a point and a 3-1 mark in contests their club faced elimination.

* Makar improved to 5-9—14 (10 GP) in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs and moved into a tie with MacKinnon for fourth in League scoring. Makar became just the fourth active defenseman to record multiple goals in contests where his club faced elimination, joining Brandon Montour (Game 7 of 2023 R1), Logan Stanley (Game 4 of 2021 R2) and Jared Spurgeon (Game 6 of 2016 R1).

* Rantanen hit the century mark in his playoff career, improving his totals to 33-67—100 (80 GP). He became the third Finnish-born player in NHL history to reach the 100-point mark in the playoffs, joining Jari Kurri (106-127—233 in 200 GP) and Esa Tikkanen (72-60—132 in 186 GP). Rantanen also tied Glenn Anderson (80 GP) for the eighth-fastest player in NHL history to reach the plateau – the only active skaters to reach the milestone in as few games are Sidney Crosby (75 GP) and MacKinnon (77 GP).

* MacKinnon climbed the Avalanche/Nordiques list for most career points in potential elimination games (3-7—10 in 12 GP), tying Michel Goulet (10 in 14 GP) and Anton Stastny (10 in 14 GP) for the fourth most in franchise history. The list is topped by Joe Sakic (22 in 22 GP), Peter Stastny (16 in 14 GP) and Rantanen, who improved to 6-6—12 (11 GP) in Wednesday’s win.


INGRAM AWARDED BILL MASTERTON TROPHY
Connor Ingram is the 2023-24 recipient of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” Ingram nearly retired due to an undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and lingering depression before he sought help through the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance program in 2021, which he credits with turning his life and career around.

* Ingram was claimed off waivers by Arizona in October 2022, appeared in 27 games for the club in 2022-23 and established himself as the Coyotes’ top goaltender in 2023-24, posting a 23-21-3 record, 2.91 goals-against average, .907 save percentage and a League-best (tie) six shutouts. Ingram has shared his story publicly since 2021 and has noted how it has inspired others.

QUICK CLICKS


#NHLStats: Live Updates from May 15
Cavaliers’ Max Strus seemingly trolls Bruins, Boston sports with pregame outfit
Savannah Bananas bring hockey to ballpark for ‘Banana Ball’ game
*David Rittich signs 1-year, $1 million contract with Kings
2024 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round on ESPN Nets Over 33% in Viewership

PIVOTAL GAMES TAKE OVER THURSDAY SLATE

Crucial games headline Thursday’s action in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Hurricanes have their sights set on staving off elimination for the third straight contest to force a Game 7 while the Oilers and Canucks Second Round series shifts back to Vancouver for Game 5. When a best-of-seven series is tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 holds an all-time record of 231-61 (EDM: 8-0; VAN: 3-1).

* The Rangers have another opportunity to secure their fourth Conference Finals appearance in the past decade when the puck drops for Game 6. New York’s offense during the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs has benefited from four shorthanded goals, including a pair from their blueline (K’Andre Miller: Game 2 of R1 & Jacob Trouba: Game 5 of R2). Only three teams on record have featured three shorthanded goals by their defensemen in a single postseason: Detroit (3 in 1996), Edmonton (3 in 1983) and Montreal (3 in 1968).

Evgeny Kuznetsov (2018), who scored in both Game 4 and 5, is one of five Stanley Cup champions on Carolina’s active roster and looks to help his club become the 10th team in NHL history to force a Game 7 after falling behind 3-0 in their series (last: LAK in 2014 R1 vs. SJS). Kuznetsov can join Sam Reinhart (Game 5-7 in 2023 R1), Logan Couture (Games 5-7 in 2019 R1), Tomas Hertl (Games 5-7 in 2019 R1), Anze Kopitar (Games 5-7 in 2014 R1) and Nicklas Backstrom (Games 5-7 of 2008 CQF) as the sixth active player to score in three consecutive potential elimination games within the same series. No player in Stanley Cup Playoffs history has a four-game streak in that scenario.

Nikita Zadorov and the Canucks return home to Rogers Arena where the defenseman leads his team in goals and points (4-3—7 in 5 GP) – a stretch that includes four straight games with a goal. He can become just the second defenseman in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to score in five straight home games, following Paul Coffey (7 GP in 1985 w/ EDM).

Leon Draisaitl (39-58—97 in 58 GP) sits within three points of 100 in his postseason career and has done so thanks in part to five consecutive multi-point outings dating to Game 5 of the First Round (5-7—12 in 5 GP) and points in every contest of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs (8-12—20 in 9 GP). Should he find the score sheet again in Game 5, Draisaitl would join Mark Messier (14 GP in 1988) and Wayne Gretzky (10 GP in 1986) as the third Oilers player with a postseason-opening point streak of 10-plus games.

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