* Opening night of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs is upon us, with four series beginning tonight on ESPN, ESPN2, Sportsnet, CBC and TVA Sports.
* Teams that take a 1-0 lead in a best-of-seven series hold an all-time record of 499-228 (.686), including a 9-6 mark in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Find more series scenarios in the first #NHLStats: Live Updates of the playoffs.
* The Jets won the 1,312th and final game of the 2021-22 regular season, finalizing the #NHLStats in the Regular Season Recap.
FAMILIAR FOES BACK AT IT AGAIN IN RALEIGH
The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs will have its first puck drop in Raleigh as Carolina and Boston are meeting in the postseason for the third time in four years. Carolina swept its three-game regular-season series and outscored Boston 16-1.
* Sebastian Aho (37-44—81 in 79 GP), who led the Hurricanes in goals, assists and points this season, has posted 14-21—35 in 34 career playoff games (all w/ CAR). Only three players in franchise history have tallied more postseason goals for the Hurricanes/Whalers: Eric Staal (19 G in 43 GP), Rod Brind’Amour (18 G in 72 GP) and Kevin Dineen (17 G in 44 GP).
* Patrice Bergeron, the only Boston skater to score against Carolina this season, sits four goals shy of becoming the second player in Bruins history to score 50 times in the playoffs (46-74—120 in 160 GP). Five of his 46 postseason goals have come against the Hurricanes, behind only the Lightning (7 G in 16 GP) and Maple Leafs (7 G in 20 GP) for his most against one opponent.
HIGH-OCTANE OFFENSES SET TO MEET AT SCOTIABANK ARENA
After a historic regular season, Auston Matthews (60-46—106 in 73 GP) and the Maple Leafs are set to welcome Steven Stamkos (42-64—106 in 81 GP) and the Lightning to Scotiabank Arena in what will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the only First Round matchup to feature a 100-point scorer on each side.
* This head-to-head meeting marks the third time in the past 27 years that an opening round series will feature at least one player from each team coming off a 100-point campaign. The others: 2007 Conference Quarterfinals (PIT: Sidney Crosby & OTT: Dany Heatley) and 1996 Conference Quarterfinals (COL: Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg & VAN: Alexander Mogilny).
BLUES, WILD READY FOR ANOTHER POSTSEASON CLASH
Kirill Kaprizov (47-61—108 w/ MIN) and Vladimir Tarasenko (34-48—82 w/ STL) are coming off career seasons as Minnesota hosts its Central Division rival St. Louis in their third head-to-head matchup in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2015.
* The Blues swept the season series against the Wild in 2021-22 which also included a victory in the 2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic at Target Field in Minneapolis. The 2022 First Round marks the sixth time, and second in as many years (COL vs. VGK), two teams played each other in an outdoor game and then in the playoffs later that season.
PLAYOFF RIVALRY RENEWED WHEN OILERS HOST KINGS IN EDMONTON
After leading their respective teams in points, captains Connor McDavid (123 w/ EDM) and Anze Kopitar (67 w/ LAK) are hoping to see their regular-season successes translate into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Among non-Original Six teams, only the Stars and Blues (14), Penguins and Capitals (11) as well as the Flyers and Sabres (9) have played more playoff series against each other than the Oilers and Kings (8 including 2022).
* The Oilers and Kings playoff rivalry includes the greatest comeback in NHL history. On April 10, 1982, the Kings completed the “Miracle on Manchester” during Game 3 of the 1982 Division Semifinal against the Oilers. Trailing 5-0 going into the third period, Los Angeles rallied with five goals in the third, including a game-tying tally with 5 seconds remaining, en route to an overtime win against Edmonton. The Kings were the first team in NHL history (regular season or playoffs) to overcome a five-goal, third-period deficit to win.
McDAVID, MATTHEWS TAKE HOME END-OF-SEASON HARDWARE (AGAIN)
For the second time in as many years, Oilers captain Connor McDavid captured the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s scoring champion and Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews claimed the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s goal-scoring leader. They became the first tandem to earn the awards in consecutive seasons since Jaromir Jagr (w/ PIT) and Pavel Bure (w/ FLA) claimed the Art Ross and Richard Trophies, respectively, in 1999-00 and 2000-01.
* McDavid, who won the Art Ross Trophy for the fourth time overall (also 2016-17 and 2017-18), registered a career-high 123 points (44-79—123 in 80 GP) – the second-most by any player over the past 15 seasons. McDavid became the seventh player to claim the Art Ross Trophy at least four times, joining Wayne Gretzky (10x), Gordie Howe (6x), Mario Lemieux (6x), Phil Esposito (5x), Jagr (5x) and Stan Mikita (4x), and just the third of that group to pick up four wins prior to his 26th birthday, after Gretzky (6x) and Howe (4x).
* McDavid, also a two-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner (2016-17 and 2020-21), found the score sheet in 63 of his 80 contests (78.8%) and has compiled 239-458—697 through his first seven NHL seasons (487 GP). His average of 1.43 points per game ranks fourth in League history behind only Gretzky (1.92), Lemieux (1.88) and Mike Bossy (1.50) among players with a minimum of 100 appearances.
* Matthews (60-46—106 in 73 GP), who captured his second Richard Trophy, became the 21st different player in NHL history to score 60 goals in a season and just the third to reach the milestone this century, following Alex Ovechkin (2007-08)and Steven Stamkos (2011-12). Matthews averaged 0.82 goals per game – the highest rate by any player in a single campaign (minimum: 50 GP) since Lemieux in 1995-96 (0.99) – to finish ahead of Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (55-55—110 in 80 GP), Rangers forward Chris Kreider (52-25—77 in 81 GP) and Ovechkin (50-40—90 in 77 GP) as four players reached the 50-goal mark for the first time since 2005-06.
* Matthews (San Ramon, Calif.), who broke Rick Vaive’s Maple Leafs record for goals in a season (54 in 1981-82) as well as Jimmy Carson’s NHL benchmark for goals in a campaign by a U.S.-born player (55 in 1987-88), became the first U.S.-born player to top the League in goals multiple times.