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2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs Storylines

Multitude of storylines provide backdrop for Stanley Cup Playoffs

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2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs Storylines
How will the several goaltenders, with no NHL postseason experience, perform when they get their first taste of Stanley Cup playoff action?  Can Pittsburgh Penguins’ coach Dan Bylsma accomplish what only the legendary Toe Blake has done in Stanley Cup history?  How have teams with as many as five rookies in their lineup as the Colorado Avalanche have, performed in the playoffs in recent years?  What teams have added the most playoff experience to their lineup this year to gear up for a Stanley Cup run?  How have #8 seeds fared against #1 seeds in recent years? 

Those are just some of the dozens of League, team and individual storylines for the 16 teams that begin the 60-day quest to win the Stanley Cup on Wednesday, April 14.


Welcome Back

Six of the 16 playoff teams will return after at least a year's absence from post-season play.  The six newcomers are one more than the five new teams in each of the previous four seasons.

The Los Angeles Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes return after the longest absence -- both last appeared in the playoffs in 2002.  The Buffalo Sabres return for the first time since 2007, while the Ottawa Senators, Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche return after a one-year absence.


Trades make a difference for Coyotes

The Phoenix Coyotes already were enjoying a breakout season heading into trade deadline day on Mar. 3, on pace for franchise-record win and points totals with a 37-22-5 record. But four key acquisitions by the 3 p.m., ET deadline that day have propelled them to even greater heights; they've gone 13-3-2 since.

(1) Acquired D Derek Morris from Boston for a conditional draft pick in the 2011 Entry Draft.
Morris stats since trade: 1-3--4, +4, 19:39 TOI in 18 GP

(2) Acquired LW Wojtek Wolski from Colorado for RW Peter Mueller and C Kevin Porter.
Wolski stats since trade: 6-12--18, +6, 18:01 TOI in 18 GP

(3) Acquired D Mathieu Schneider from Vancouver for D Sean Zimmerman and a conditional pick in the 2010 Entry Draft.
Schneider stats since trade: 0-4--4, +5, 20:49 TOI in 8 GP

(4) Acquired RW Lee Stempniak from Toronto for D Matt Jones and 4th- and 7th-round picks in the 2010 Entry Draft.
Stempniak stats since trade: 14-4--18, +10, 15:21 TOI in 18 GP

Other deadline day acquisitions who have been major contributors to date include Avalanche center Peter Mueller (from Phoenix, 9-11--20 in 15 games); Penguins defenseman Jordan Leopold (from Florida, 20:26 average ice time per game, +5) and Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (from Florida, 22:57 ice time per game, +9). The Washington Capitals have the NHL's second-best record since the trade deadline after picking up C Eric Belanger from Minnesota plus D Joe Corvo and RW Scott Walker from Carolina.


Playoff Goaltending Intrigue?

Adding plenty of intrigue to the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs is the absence of veteran playoff experience in goal.

Just two of the 16 projected playoff starters have captured a Stanley Cup, New Jersey's Martin Brodeur and Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury. Just one more, San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov, has accumulated 30 career playoff wins.

Goaltenders on playoff clubs with no NHL postseason experience include Boston's Tuukka Rask, Chicago's Antti Niemi, Colorado's Craig Anderson, Detroit's Jimmy Howard, Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick, Nashville's Pekka Rinne, Ottawa's Brian Elliott and Pascal Leclaire and Philadelphia's Michael Leighton.

Playoff Statistics, Active Goaltenders (playoff clubs only)
- minimum one playoff game played
Team GP W L Mins GA SO GAA SOG SV%
Boucher, Brian PHI 22 11 8 1,309 45 1 2.06 534 91.6
Brodeur, Martin NJ 176 98 78 10,947 361 23 1.98 4,503 92
Bryzgalov, Ilya PHX 16 9 5 926 26 3 1.68 413 93.7
Budaj, Peter COL 3 0 0 108 6 0 3.33 65 90.8
Ellis, Dan NSH 6 2 4 357 15 0 2.52 240 93.8
Emery, Ray PHI 30 18 12 1,853 76 3 2.46 794 90.4
Fleury, Marc-Andre PIT 49 31 18 2,985 122 3 2.45 1,446 91.6
Halak, Jaroslav MTL 3 0 1 97 3 0 1.86 32 90.6
Huet, Cristobal CHI 16 6 10 967 44 0 2.73 532 91.7
Johnson, Brent PIT 12 5 6 652 20 3 1.84 288 93.1
Lalime, Patrick BUF 41 21 20 2,549 75 5 1.77 1,019 92.6
Luongo, Roberto VAN 22 11 11 1,465 51 1 2.09 731 93
Miller, Ryan BUF 34 20 14 2,152 86 1 2.4 1,011 91.5
Nabokov, Evgeni SJ 65 32 31 3,929 146 6 2.23 1,711 91.5
Osgood, Chris DET 129 74 49 7,651 267 15 2.09 3,185 91.6
Price, Carey MTL 15 5 10 868 45 2 3.11 427 89.5
Raycroft, Andrew VAN 7 3 4 447 16 1 2.15 210 92.4
Theodore, Jose WSH 49 19 27 2,835 132 1 2.79 1,504 91.2
Thomas, Tim BOS 18 10 8 1,110 40 1 2.16 544 92.6
Varlamov, Semyon WSH 13 7 6 759 32 2 2.53 389 91.8


Red Wings' Lidstrom dominates list of playoff veterans

Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom ranks in the top three for career playoff goals, points and games among players of playoff-bound clubs.

Most Career Playoff Games
Nicklas Lidstrom, Det. 235
Kris Draper, Det. 202
Martin Brodeur, N.J. 176
Kirk Maltby, Det. 169
Stephane Yelle, Col. 165
Adam Foote, Col 164
Tomas Holmstrom, Det. 152
Mark Recchi, Bos. 151
Chris Pronger, Phi. 147
Brian Rafalski, Det. 142

Most Career Playoff Points
GP G A Pts
Nicklas Lidstrom, Det. 235 46 119 165
Mark Recchi, Bos. 151 50 73 123
Patrik Elias, N.J. 133 40 73 113
Chris Pronger, Phi. 147 22 80 102
Alexei Kovalev, Ott. 116 44 54 98
Brian Rafalski, Det. 142 24 62 86
Jamie Langenbrunner, N.J. 132 33 52 85
Scott Gomez, Mtl. 114 27 54 81
Tomas Holmstrom, Det. 152 38 43 81

Most Career Playoff Goals
GP G
Mark Recchi, Bos. 151 50
Nicklas Lidstrom, Det. 235 46
Alexei Kovalev, Ott. 116 44
Daniel Alfredsson, Ott. 101 43
Patrik Elias, N.J. 133 40
Henrik Zetterberg, Det. 85 39
Tomas Holmstrom, Det. 152 38
Patrick Marleau, S.J. 92 37
Bill Guerin, Pit. 129 35


Who will get the cup?

One of the great traditions in all of sport will see NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman present the Stanley Cup in two months time to one of the following captains:

Boston Zdeno Chara
Buffalo Craig Rivet
Chicago Jonathan Toews
Colorado Adam Foote
Detroit Nicklas Lidstrom
Los Angeles Dustin Brown
Montreal Brian Gionta, Andrei Markov, Hal Gill
Nashville Jason Arnott
New Jersey Jamie Langenbrunner
Ottawa Daniel Alfredsson
Philadelphia Mike Richards
Phoenix Shane Doan
Pittsburgh Sidney Crosby
San Jose Rob Blake
Vancouver Roberto Luongo
Washington Alex Ovechkin


Bench Boss Breakdown


New Jersey Devils' coach Jacques Lemaire enters the 2010 playoffs with the most experience among active NHL coaches both in terms of games (112) and wins (60).  His games coached total ranks 11th all-time, while his win total ranks 10th.

Colorado Avalanche coach Joe Sacco and Ottawa Senators' coach Cory Clouston will make their Stanley Cup playoff coaching debuts.

Los Angeles Kings' coach Terry Murray returns to the post-season after the longest absence - Murray last coached in the playoffs in 1999-2000 with the Florida Panthers

Pittsburgh Penguins' coach Dan Bylsma enters the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs looking to become just the second coach in NHL history to win back-to-back Stanley Cups in his first two NHL seasons.  Montreal Canadiens' coach Toe Blake won Cups in each of his first five seasons in the League (1956-60).

Playoff Coaching Experience Yrs GC W -  L SC
Jacques Lemaire, New Jersey 9 112 60 - 52 1
Joel Quenneville, Chicago 10 104 51 - 53 0
Mike Babcock, Detroit 5 90 58 - 32 1
Terry Murray, Los Angeles 8 89 46 - 43 0
Lindy Ruff, Buffalo 6 88 52 - 36 0
Jacques Martin, Montreal 10 85 38 - 47 0
Dave Tippett, Phoenix 5 47 21 - 26 0
Peter Laviolette, Philadelphia 3 37 20 - 17 1
Alain Vigneault, Vancouver 3 32 15 - 17 0
Claude Julien, Boston 3 29 14 - 15 0
Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh 1 24 16 - 8 1
Barry Trotz, Nashville 4 22 6 - 16 0
Bruce Boudreau, Washington 2 21 10 - 11 0
Todd McLellan, San Jose 1 6 2 - 4 0
Cory Clouston, Ottawa Making his playoff debut
Joe Sacco, Colorado Making his playoff debut


Upsets in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

According to results of opening-round series since the current format was adopted in 1994, a #4 seed is almost as likely to win its series as a #1 seed.

#1 seed vs. #8 seed
The #1 seeds are 22-8 in first-round series since 1994 (.733).
Lower-seeded team series wins are detailed.
2009 1-1 (Anaheim over San Jose)
2008 2-0
2007 2-0
2006 1-1 (Edmonton over Detroit)
2004 2-0
2003 2-0
2002 1-1 (Boston over Montreal)
2001 2-0
2000 1-1 (San Jose over St. Louis)
1999 1-1 (Pittsburgh over New Jersey)
1998 1-1 (Ottawa over New Jersey)
1997 2-0
1996 2-0
1995 1-1 (NY Rangers over Quebec)
1994 1-1 (San Jose over Detroit)

#2 seed vs. #7 seed
The #2 seeds are 16-14 in first-round series since 1994 (.533).
Lower-seeded team series wins are detailed.
2009 2-0
2008 2-0
2007 2-0
2006 1-1 (Colorado over Dallas)
2004 1-1 (Montreal over Boston)
2003 1-1 (Anaheim over Detroit)
2002 1-1 (Ottawa over Philadelphia)
2001 0-2 (Toronto over Ottawa, Los Angeles over Detroit
2000 1-1 (Pittsburgh over Washington)
1999 1-1 (Buffalo over Ottawa)
1998 0-2 (Montreal over Pittsburgh, Edmonton over Colorado)
1997 1-1 (Edmonton over Dallas)
1996 2-0
1995 1-1 (San Jose over Calgary)
1994 0-2 (Washington over Pittsburgh, Vancouver over Calgary)

#3 seed vs. #6 seed
The #3 seeds are 19-11 in first-round series since 1994 (.633).
Lower-seeded team series wins are detailed.
2009 1-1 (Carolina over New Jersey)
2008 0-2 (Philadelphia over Washington, Colorado over Minnesota)
2007 1-1 (NY Rangers over Atlanta)
2006 1-1 (Anaheim over Calgary)
2004 1-1 (Calgary over Vancouver)
2003 1-1 (Minnesota over Colorado)
2002 2-0
2001 1-1 (Pittsburgh over Washington)
2000 2-0
1999 1-1 (Boston over Carolina)
1998 1-1 (Buffalo over Philadelphia)
1997 2-0
1996 2-0
1995 1-1 (Vancouver over St. Louis)
1994 2-0

#4 seed vs. #5 seed
The #4 seeds are 21-9 in first-round series since 1994 (.700).
Lower-seeded team series wins are detailed.
2009 2-0
2008 0-2 (New Jersey over NY Rangers, Dallas over Anaheim)
2007 1-1 (San Jose over Nashville)
2006 1-1 (San Jose over Nashville)
2004 2-0
2003 2-0
2002 2-0
2001 1-1 (Buffalo over Philadelphia)
2000 2-0
1999 1-1 (St. Louis over Phoenix)
1998 2-0
1997 1-1 (NY Rangers over Florida)
1996 1-1 (St. Louis over Toronto)
1995 1-1 (New Jersey over Boston)
1994 2-0


Quote of the Day

Unless he really collapses, I don't see him going anywhere. I've been very impressed with his composure and maturity. Once the regular season started, he was a different guy; it was like game on and almost as if he's been around for a long time.

— Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon on rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad
2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series