* Josh Manson scored his first career playoff goal in overtime to help the Avalanche earn a Game 1 victory – their fifth consecutive win to start the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* Veterans Nikita Kucherov and Corey Perry both had multiple points to lift the Lightning to a series-opening win over their state rivals. Tampa Bay has an all-time record of 12-2 when taking a 1-0 series lead.
* The remaining two series begin tonight with the Rangers visiting the Hurricanes and the first instalment of the “Battle of Alberta” in 31 years when the Flames host the Oilers.
* The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs set new ratings benchmarks after the First Round became the most-watched opening round on U.S. cable ever, with three of the top four all-time First Round games on U.S. cable occurring this past weekend. Across North America, 28 million fans watched the five thrilling Game 7s.
MANSON SCORES FIRST PLAYOFF GOAL IN OT AS AVALANCHE TAKE GAME 1
The Avalanche survived a late-tying goal from Jordan Kyrou with 3:14 remaining in regulation as well as a playoff career-best 51-save performance from Jordan Binnington before Josh Manson scored his first career postseason goal in overtime to give Colorado a Game 1 victory. It marked the Avalanche’s fifth consecutive win to start the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* Colorado improved to 5-0 to start the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs after also winning each of its first six contests to start the 2021 postseason. The Avalanche became the fourth different team in NHL history to record a playoff-opening win streak of five-plus games in consecutive years and the first since the North Stars in 1980 (5 GP) and 1981 (6 GP).
* The Avalanche have won each of their past eight postseason outings against the Blues dating to Game 4 of the 2001 Conference Finals. Among teams with a streak that began in the 1990s or later, only three have posted a longer stretch of consecutive victories against one opponent: the Canucks (9 GP vs. STL: 2003 CQF – 2020 R1), Stars (9 GP vs. EDM: 1998 CSF – 2000 CQF) and Sabres (9 GP vs. OTT: 1997 CQF – 2006 CSF).
* Manson became the fourth defenseman in Avalanche/Nordiques history to score an overtime goal in the postseason and second to do so in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs following Cale Makar in Game 2 of the First Round against the Predators.
* Binnington, who made many highlight-reel saves to keep the Blues in the game despite being outshot 54-25 in the contest and 13-0 in overtime, recorded the fifth time a St. Louis goaltender posted 50 or more saves in a playoff game following Curtis Joseph (61 in Game 1 of 1993 DF & 57 in Game 2 of 1993 DF), Ed Staniowski (54 in Game 2 of 1976 PRLM) and Jake Allen (51 in Game 1 of 2017 R1).
PERRY, KUCHEROV PROPEL LIGHTNING PAST PANTHERS IN GAME 1
After the Panthers took a 1-0 lead, Corey Perry (1-1—2) and Nikita Kucherov (1-1—2) both factored on two of their team’s four unanswered goals to help the Lightning secure a Game 1 win at FLA Live Arena. Tampa Bay is 12-2 (.857) overall when taking a 1-0 series lead.
* Perry, now with at least one playoff point against 17 different franchises, became the second player in Lightning history to record a multi-point game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs at age 37 or older. The other: Dave Andreychuk, who achieved the feat five times and last did so during Game 2 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final (0-2—2; 40 years, 241 days).
* Kucherov, with a highlight-reel play to set up Perry’s goal, became just the third active player to record at least 40 multi-point games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, joining Sidney Crosby (67 GP) and Evgeni Malkin (53 GP). Among active players to appear in at least 50 career postseason contests, his 1.13 career point-per-game average ranks second behind Nathan MacKinnon (1.38 P/GP).
THRILLING GAME 7s PUSH FIRST ROUND TO NEW RATINGS BENCHMARKS
The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs were the most-watched First Round on U.S. cable ever. The opening round across ESPN/ESPN2/TNT/TBS averaged 768,000 viewers, up 58% over last year’s First Round on cable (NBCSN/CNBC/USA) and up 20% from the 2019 First Round on cable (NBCSN/CNBC/USA).
* Three of the top four most-watched First Round games on U.S. cable all-time occurred this past weekend: Pittsburgh-New York Game 7 (1st; 2.3M on TBS); Tampa Bay-Toronto Game 7 (2nd; 1.7M on TNT); Boston-Carolina Game 7 (4th; 1.6M on ESPN).
* Twenty-eight million fans across North America watched this weekend’s five thrilling Game 7s.
TWO MORE SECOND ROUND SERIES READY TO DROP THE PUCK
Another four teams are ready to get their Second Round series underway when the Hurricanes host the Rangers at PNC Arena and the first “Battle of Alberta” in 31 years caps the evening when the Flames welcome the Oilers to Scotiabank Saddledome.
OILERS, FLAMES READY FOR FIRST “BATTLE OF ALBERTA” SINCE 1991
The Oilers and Flames enter the 2022 Second Round coming off home wins in Game 7, setting up the sixth playoff rendition of the ”Battle of Alberta” and first since the 1991 Division Semifinals, which witnessed Edmonton oust Calgary with an overtime win in Game 7. Three of five head-to-head postseason meetings between the clubs have required a seventh-and-deciding game (also 1986 DF & 1984 DF).
*The Second Round series, which will guarantee a Canadian-based team in the Conference Finals, is set to feature four of the top eight scorers from the regular season after Connor McDavid (44-79—123 in 80 GP) and Johnny Gaudreau (40-75—115 in 82 GP) finished first and second, while Leon Draisaitl (55-55—110 in 80 GP) and Matthew Tkachuk (42-62—104 in 82 GP) also hit the century mark.
* Only three other series in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) have featured the top two scorers from the regular season go head-to-head in the playoffs: the 2009 Conference Semifinals (Evgeni Malkin: 35-78—113 & Alex Ovechkin: 56-54—110), 1990 Division Semifinals (Wayne Gretzky: 40-102—142 & Mark Messier: 45-84—129) and 1976 Stanley Cup Final (Guy Lafleur: 56-69—125 & Bobby Clarke: 30-89—119).
RANGERS, HURRICANES READY FOR FIRST BEST-OF-SEVEN SHOWDOWN
After the two teams met during the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers (CAR: 3-0 W), the Rangers and Hurricanes are set to meet in a best-of-seven series for the first time. The two clubs jockeyed for top spot in the Metropolitan Division as the regular season drew to a close, but Carolina concluded the campaign with a 3-1 advantage in the season series.
* Fresh off becoming the first team in NHL history to win a series by claiming three consecutive comeback wins when facing elimination, the Rangers have their sights set on the Conference Finals for the first time since 2015. Teams that overcome a 3-1 series deficit have gone on to win the subsequent series 13 times (13-16, .448), including eight of the last 10 instances since 2009.
* The Hurricanes lead the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs with 18 home goals after winning each of their four home games against the Bruins in the First Round. With a series-opening win against New York, Carolina can match its franchise record for longest home win streak to start a postseason first set in 2019 (5-0 from Game 3 of R1 – Game 4 of R2).