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Facts and Figures: Maple Leafs eye first series win in 15 years

Need one more victory after defeating Bruins in Game 5 @NHLdotcom

The Toronto Maple Leafs are one victory from winning a Stanley Cup Playoff series for the first time since 2004 after defeating the Boston Bruins 2-1 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at TD Garden on Friday.

The Maple Leafs will advance to the second round for the first time since defeating the Ottawa Senators in the opening round 15 years ago by winning Game 6 of the best-of-7 series at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Toronto is 19-5 when leading a best-of-7 series 3-2, including 1-1 against the Bruins. Toronto defeated Boston in seven games in the 1959 NHL Semifinals and the Bruins rallied for a seven-game victory in the 1941 Semifinals. 

It was the 90th postseason victory for Toronto coach Mike Babcock, moving him past Glen Sather and Darryl Sutter into seventh place on the all-time wins list for coaches in playoff history.

Video: Matthews heating up in past three games vs. Bruins


Avalanche complete historic series win against Flames

The Colorado Avalanche became the second team in the 2019 playoffs to eliminate a regular-season conference champion by defeating the Calgary Flames 5-1 in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Combined with the loss by the Presidents' Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning, 2019 is the first time since the 1967 expansion that the top two teams in each conference, or the teams with the two best regular-season records, have been eliminated in the first round. 

Mikko Rantanen (two goals, one assist), Colin Wilson (two goals, one assist), Nathan MacKinnon (three assists) and Tyson Barrie (three assists) each had three points for Colorado, which won a playoff series for the first time since 2008. It's the first time in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history and 10th time in NHL history that four players each had three points in a series-clinching game. It's also the second occurrence in as many seasons: Jake Guentzel (four goals, one assist), Patric Hornqvist (one goal, two assists), Sidney Crosby (one goal, two assists) and Kris Letang (three assists) did it for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 of the 2018 first round.

Rantanen extended his multipoint streak to four games, one shy of the Avalanche/Nordiques postseason record set by Peter Stastny in 1982 and matched by Peter Forsberg on three occasions. Rantanen joined Vegas Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty as the only players to have multiple points in four consecutive games this postseason. The last time multiple players accomplished that feat in the same playoff year was 2011, when Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks, Claude Giroux of the Flyers and Martin St. Louis of the Lightning each had a four-game streak.

Video: Grubauer, Matthews, Avalanche headline Friday


Blues can advance by eliminating Jets

The St. Louis Blues will advance past the opening round for the third time in four seasons by defeating the Winnipeg Jets in Game 6 at Enterprise Center on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS2, FS-MW).

To do so, the Blues will have to become the first team in the series to win a home game. This is the fourth best-of-7 series to have the road team win each of the first five games. A best-of-7 series has never seen the road team win each of the first six games.

The Washington Capitals will try to continue the trend of home teams winning each game when they play Game 5 of the first round against the Carolina Hurricanes at Capital One Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN360, SN1, TVAS). The best of-7 series is tied 2-2 with Carolina coming off home wins in Games 3 and 4 after Washington won the first two games on home ice.

The Nashville Predators hope a return to Bridgestone Arena will help them in Game 5 of the first round against the Dallas Stars (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS). That best-of-7 series is also tied 2-2. Nashville is 31-20 (.607) all-time at home in the playoffs. The Stars have won five of their past seven playoff road games, including Game 1 against the Predators.


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