NEW YORK -– The opening round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs featured three Game 7s, a record 17 overtime games and 28 one-goal contests. Twenty-two of the 47 games were won by clubs that had trailed in the contest, including 10 by teams that were down in the third period.
The defending champion Kings (a No. 5 seed) overcame a 2-0 series deficit to keep their repeat hopes alive, while three other lower-seeded clubs (No. 6 Rangers, No. 7 Senators, No. 7 Red Wings) advanced to the second round.
When the dust settled, it set up a Conference Semifinal round that includes two "Original Six" matchups (Chicago vs. Detroit, Boston vs. NY Rangers), an all-California battle (Los Angeles vs. San Jose) and a budding rivalry (Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa).
Among the many highlights of the first round:
RECORD NUMBER OF OVERTIMES
Seventeen of the 47 opening-round games (36.2%) in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs required overtime, an NHL record. Every first-round series included at least one overtime game.
RECORD-SETTING GRIT IN GAME 7
Trailing 4-1 with less than 15 minutes remaining in regulation, the Bruins became the first team in NHL history to overcome a three-goal, third-period deficit to win a Game 7. Boston eliminated Toronto despite holding a lead for only 21.5% of the total time played in the series. The Maple Leafs led 34.8% of the time.
Twenty-two of the 47 first-round games were won by clubs that had trailed in the contest, including 10 by teams that were down in the third period. Six clubs that had trailed by at least two goals came back to win.
HIGHER SEEDS UPENDED
For the second consecutive year and for the third time in the past four seasons, four lower-seeded clubs won first-round series. Both No. 7 seeds advanced, improving their series record against No. 2 seeds to 18-20 (.474) in the 19 seasons under the conference-based playoff system.
Home teams went 30-17 (.638) in the opening round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Last year, home clubs went 18-30 (.375) in the first round of the postseason, the lowest winning percentage since the NHL switched to the 16-team playoff format in 1979-80.
The last time home teams had a winning percentage of .600 or higher during the Stanley Cup Playoffs was in 1993, when they went 52-33 (.612).
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT
Entering the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, teams that had fallen behind 2-0 in best-of-seven series had only come back to win 13.3% (43-280) of the time in NHL history, but both the Kings and Rangers accomplished that feat in the first round.
The Kings won four straight games against St. Louis to overcome a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series for the second time in franchise history. The only other time they did so was in the 2001 Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Red Wings, a series they also won in six games.
In ousting Washington, the Rangers also overcame a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series for the second time in franchise history. The only other time they did so was in the 1996 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Montreal, a series they won in six games.
Patrice Bergeron scored the game-tying and game-winning goals to lift the Bruins to an historic comeback victory over Toronto in Game 7. He is the third player in NHL history to score a Game 7 overtime goal after recording the final goal of regulation in the same game. The other players to do so were Boston's Brad Park against Buffalo in the 1983 Adams Division Final and Buffalo's Derek Plante against Ottawa in the 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, though Park's final regulation goal came in the middle of the second period and Plante's was scored early in the third.
RECORD ROAD WIN
The Rangers' 5-0 win at Washington tied the NHL record for the largest margin of victory by a visiting team in a Game 7.
Ten of the 47 first-round games featured a game-tying or go-ahead goal in the final five minutes of regulation. Five game-tying goals were scored in the final minute: Justin Williams (19:28) for the Kings in Game 1, Patrick Marleau (19:04) for the Sharks in Game 2, Cory Conacher (19:37) for the Senators in Game 4, Alex Pietrangelo for the Blues in Game 5 (19:15) and Patrice Bergeron (19:09) for the Bruins in Game 7.
There were 17 game-tying goals in the final minute of regulation during the 2012-13 regular season (720 games), or one roughly every 42 games. In the first round of the playoffs, the five game-tying goals in the final minute of regulation translated to one every 9.4 contests.
Teams were tied or separated by one goal for 78.3% of the time in the first round. Twenty-eight of the 47 games were decided by one goal (59.8%).
All six games of the Kings-Blues series were decided by one goal, marking only the second such series of six or more games in NHL postseason history. The other happened in the opening round of last year's playoffs, when all seven contests between the Capitals and Bruins featured one-goal margins. The Kings-Blues series was tied or within one goal 98.8% of the time – St. Louis had the only two-goal lead for 5:01 during the first period of Game 4.
The most frequently-occurring final score in the first round was 4-3.
SO WE MEET AGAIN
The Rangers and Capitals were the first NHL teams to play each other in a Game 7 in consecutive years since the Avalanche and Kings in 2001 and 2002. The Rangers collected a 2-1 victory in last year's Game 7.
PENGUINS' DOUBLE ZEROS
The Penguins became the first NHL team in 34 years to have two goaltenders record shutouts in the same playoff series (Marc-Andre Fleury shut out the Islanders in Game 1, Tomas Vokoun did so in Game 5). The last tandem to accomplish that feat was Billy Smith and Chico Resch, who each posted clean sheets for the Islanders against the Blackhawks in 1979.
Shutouts by Two Goaltenders in Same Series, Stanley Cup Playoff History
Henrik Lundqvist posted shutouts in Games 6 (27 saves) and 7 (35) to help the Rangers overcome a 3-2 series deficit and advance to the second round. Only three other goaltenders in NHL history have recorded shutouts in Games 6 and 7 of a playoff series: Detroit's Harry Lumley in the 1950 Semifinals (vs. Toronto), Edmonton's Curtis Joseph in the 1998 Western Conference Quarterfinals (vs. Colorado) and Detroit's Dominik Hasek in the 2002 Western Conference Final (vs. Colorado).
GAME 7 NOTES
*Detroit improved to 14-9 all-time in Game 7s, including a 3-4 record on the road. The Red Wings' 14 wins in Game 7s are the most by any franchise in NHL history.
*The Bruins won their 13th Game 7 in franchise history, tied with the Canadiens for second all-time.
*The Penguins have won seven straight road overtime games in the postseason dating to 2001. Only two other teams in NHL history have recorded seven or more consecutive victories in road overtime games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs: the Canadiens (nine, from 1993 to 1998) and Islanders (eight, from 1977 to 1981).
*The Red Wings played four overtime games in one series for the first time in franchise history.
*Gardena, Calif., product Beau Bennett, slotted on the Penguins fourth line in his playoff debut in Game 1, sniped a tough-angle shot past Evgeni Nabokov for his first postseason score. The goal, which came at 3:30 of the first period, was Bennett's first shot of the game on his first shift – it also held up as the game-winner.
*Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara collected four assists in Game 4 to become the first blueliner in Bruins history to record as many as four helpers in one playoff game. He also is the first Boston player at any position to pick up four assists in a postseason game since 1991, when Vladimir Ruzicka totaled 1-4—5 in Game 2 of the Wales Conference Final against the Penguins.
*Minnesota backup goaltender Josh Harding unexpectedly started Game 1 after Niklas Backstrom suffered an injury during pregame warm-ups. Harding, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis last year and only played in five games during the regular season, hadn't started a game since Jan. 30 when he allowed two goals on four shots and was pulled after 6:45.
*Patrick Marleau's game-tying goal with 55.1 seconds left in regulation of Game 2 marked the second time in franchise history that the Sharks evened a playoff game in the final minute of the third period. The other such instance was on April 16, 2010, when Joe Pavelski scored the equalizer with 32 seconds remaining in Game 2 of San Jose's opening-round series against Colorado. The Sharks also won that game, 6-5, on the strength of Devin Setoguchi's overtime winner.
*Pittsburgh defenseman Douglas Murray, who had eight goals in 508 career games (regular season and playoffs) with the Sharks, has three tallies in 20 games since joining the Penguins on March 25, including two in the playoffs.
*Two rookies – Detroit forward Gustav Nyquist (Game 2) and Minnesota forward Jason Zucker (Game 3) – notched their first career playoff goal with an overtime tally in the first round. That matched the number of rookies who pulled off the feat over the previous seven playoff years combined – Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly did so in 2010 and San Jose's Benn Ferriero in 2011.
*Nyquist also became the third rookie in Red Wings history – and the first in 64 years – to score his first playoff goal in overtime. The other two were Max McNab against the Montreal Canadiens in 1949 and Mud Bruneteau against the Montreal Maroons in 1936.
*20-year-old Ottawa rookie Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who recorded a hat trick in Game 3, became the fifth player in the NHL's expansion era (since 1967-68) to record a playoff hat trick before his 21st birthday, joining Wayne Gretzky (who had two postseason hat tricks at age 20 in 1981), Peter Zezel (age 20 in 1986), Patrick Kane (age 20 in 2009) and Sean Couturier (age 19 in 2012).
*Tuukka Rask's 45 saves in Game 3 against Toronto were the most by a Bruins goaltender in a non-overtime playoff game since April 13, 1974, when Gilles Gilbert stopped an identical number of shots in a 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs. Rask followed up that performance with another 45-save effort in Game 4.
*NY Rangers forward Derek Stepan had zero game-winning goals in his first 27 career playoff games, but netted the winner in consecutive contests (Games 3 and 4) against Washington.
*Ottawa forward Kyle Turris, who scored 2:32 into overtime in Game 4 to give the team a 3-1 series lead over Montreal, has recorded two playoff overtime goals in three career postseason overtime games.
*Slava Voynov, who netted the overtime winner in Game 5 and also picked up the lone goal in the Los Angeles' 1-0 victory in Game 3, became the first defenseman in Kings history to record two game-winning goals in one playoff series. The last blueliner on any NHL team with two game-winners in one postseason series was the Rangers' Dan Girardi, who accomplished the feat in last year's Eastern Conference Final against the Devils.
Research from the Elias Sports Bureau was used in compilation of these notes.