SHARKS, STARS PUSH OPPONENTS TO BRINK OF ELIMINATION
The San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars each earned Game 4 wins to pull ahead 3-1 in their respective Western Conference First Round series. Each team holds an all-time series record of 9-1 when winning three of the first four games in a best-of-seven series.
* Patrick Marleau (1-1-2) scored what held up as the game-winning goal at 1:40 of the third period to help the Sharks push the Los Angeles Kings to the brink of elimination. Via Elias, Marleau scored his 16th career playoff game-winning goal to tie Jaromir Jagr for the most among active players.
* Jason Spezza (1-1-2) scored the go-ahead goal at 18:51 of the second period, which had all five of the game's goals, to help the Dallas Stars move within one win of the second round. Dallas tied the game twice before Spezza picked up his third career playoff game-winning goal (also Game 1 of 2006 CQF vs. TBL and Game 5 of 2012 CQF at NYR, each w/ OTT).
Home Team in Caps
PHILADELPHIA 2, Washington 1 - WSH leads 3-1
Florida 2, NY ISLANDERS 1 - series tied 2-2
Dallas 3, MINNESOTA 2 - DAL leads 3-1
SAN JOSE 3, Los Angeles 2 - SJS leads 3-1
WE NEED SOME BACKUP
For the second straight night, two goaltenders earned victories while making their 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs debut:
* Michal Neuvirth made 31 saves in his first playoff start since Game 4 of the 2011 Conference Semifinals against the Tampa Bay Lightning with the Washington Capitals to defeat his former team and help the Philadelphia Flyers stave off elimination. ICYMI: Neuvirth faced Braden Holtby on Wednesday, his backup with Hershey of the American Hockey League in 2009-10 when the Bears won the Calder Cup championship.
* Antti Niemi made 28 saves, including 14 in the third period, and the Stars killed off a game-ending Minnesota Wild power play to set up a chance to clinch the series on Friday. Niemi (25-13-7) and Kari Lehtonen (25-10-2), who started the first three games of the series, combined for 50 wins in 2015-16 to become the first goaltending tandem in Stars/North Stars history to each win 25 games during a single regular-season.
* On Tuesday, Pittsburgh's Matt Murray and Anaheim's Frederik Andersen each won their first starts of the postseason. Overall, six of the 16 teams in the playoffs have used two goaltenders (ANA, DAL, DET, PHI, PIT and NYR).
JAGR CLIMBS PLAYOFF CHARTS AS PANTHERS EVEN SERIES
Forward Jaromir Jagr (0-1-1) notched an assist on the Florida Panthers' opening goal to help them even their series with the New York Islanders and continue his climb up the NHL's all-time charts.
* Via Elias, Jagr became the fifth player in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to earn 200 career points (78-122-200). The others: Wayne Gretzky (122-260-382), Mark Messier (109-186-295), Jari Kurri (106-127-233) and Glenn Anderson (93-121-214).
* The assist propelled Jagr ahead of Anderson and Al MacInnis (each w/ 121) into sole possession of ninth place on the all-time postseason list. He also skated in his 206th career playoff game to move past Martin Brodeur (205) into 17th place in NHL history among skaters/goaltenders.
* Elias adds that when teams are tied 2-2 in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series, the winner of Game 5 holds an all-time series record of 189-52 (78.4%).
OFFENSE FROM THE DEFENSE
* Flyers defensemen Shayne Gostisbehere and Andrew MacDonald combined for both of Philadelphia's goals. Elias says that Gostisbehere (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), who celebrated his 23rd birthday with his first career postseason goal, became the second Florida-born player to score a goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, joining Dan Hinote (Leesburg, Fla.; 6 G).
Video: WSH@PHI, Gm4: MacDonald rifles it home to extend lead
* Via Elias, the Panthers' Alex Petrovic scored the go-ahead goal at 9:25 of the third period to become the third defenseman in team history to score a playoff game-winning goal. The others: Jason Woolley (Game 1 of 1996 CQF vs. BOS) and Brian Campbell (Game 3 of 2012 CQF at NJD).
* Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (1-1-2), who arrived at the rink in style, has six goals and 12 points in nine games against the Kings in 2015-16 (regular season and playoffs).
Islanders captain John Tavares (1-0-1) has 10 goals and 21 points in his past 14 games since March 23 against the Ottawa Senators, including at least one point in all four postseason games (3-4-7) . . . Per Elias, Jamie Benn had one assist to become the first player in Stars/North Stars history to earn at least one point in nine of his first 10 career playoff games (6-5-11) . . . Teammate Ales Hemsky scored his first playoff goal since Game 5 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final at the Carolina Hurricanes (w/ EDM) . . . The Stanley Cup visited the set of "Arrow" while in Vancouver . . . The band Mumford and Sons attended Game 4 of the Stars-Wild series at Xcel Energy Center . . . ICYMI: Wayne Gretzky attended Game 4 of the Capitals-Flyers series ahead of the celebration of life for Ed Snider on Thursday . . . The NHL suspended Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw for one game for making use of a homophobic slur during Game 4 against the St. Louis Blues. Shaw also was fined $5,000 for directing an inappropriate gesture at the on-ice officials during the same game . . . NHL LiveWire: Defensemen Victor Hedman (TBL) and Jonathan Ericsson (DET) were mic'd up for Game 4 of the Lightning-Detroit Red Wings series . . . The NHL announced start times for Game 5 of the Panthers-Islanders (8 p.m. ET on Friday, April 22) and Stars-Wild (9:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. CT on Friday, April 22) series.
SNEAK PEEK AT THURSDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Detroit @ Tampa Bay, TBL leads 3-1, 7:00 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, TVAS2, SUN, FS-D
Pittsburgh @ NY Rangers, PIT leads 2-1, 7:00 p.m., CNBC, TVAS, SN, MSG, ROOT
Anaheim @ Nashville, NSH leads 2-1, 9:30 p.m., NHLN-US, FX-CA, TVAS3, FS-TN, PRIME
Chicago @ St. Louis, STL leads 3-1, 9:30 p.m., NBCSN, TVAS, SN, FS-MW, CSN-CH