Morning Stanley Cup of Joe – May 4, 2012
NEW JERSEY 4, PHILADELPHIA 3 (OT); NJ leads series 2-1
Alexei Ponikarovsky scored the winning goal 17:21 into overtime and Ilya
Kovalchuk had three points, including the primary assist on the overtime
score, in his return from a one-game absence. Four of New Jersey’s past
five games have required overtime; the Devils are 3-1 in those contests.
LOS ANGELES 4, ST. LOUIS 2; LA leads series 3-0
Four different Kings scored to help Los Angeles take its second consecutive
3-0 series lead. The team had never won the first three games of a series
prior to the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
A countdown of the night’s best moments, from celebrities in Los Angeles to
an unlikely hero in New Jersey and the pregame routine of a future Hall of
Visit NHL.com and tune to NHL Network for all of the latest playoff news,
highlights and analysis.
New Jersey’s Alexei Ponikarovsky scored the winner Thursday, his first
career playoff overtime goal. The Devils are Ponikarovsky’s fifth team in
the last three years; New Jersey acquired him from Carolina for a
minor-league defenseman and 2012 fourth-round pick on Jan. 20. The
32-year-old also spent parts of the last three seasons with Toronto,
Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.
KOVY SPARKS DEVILS
New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk scored a goal and added two assists in his
return from a lower-body injury. The Devils are 4-4 (regular season and
playoffs) against the Flyers with Kovalchuk in the lineup – he has 11
points (three goals, eight assists) and a +6 rating in the team’s four wins
and one assist and a -8 rating in its four losses.
ELIAS OWNS FLYERS
New Jersey’s Patrik Elias recorded a goal and an assist, adding to his
dominance of the Flyers in the postseason. In 20 career playoff games
against Philadelphia, he has 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) and two
game-winning goals, including the decisive score in Game 7 of New Jersey’s
rally from a 3-1 series deficit in the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals.
KINGS OF THE PLAYOFFS
Los Angeles improved to 7-1 in the postseason, the highest winning
percentage in the League. The Kings also lead the NHL with a +11 goal
differential and four shorthanded goals. Jonathan Quick paces all remaining
playoff goaltenders with a .948 save percentage and ranks second with a
1.62 goals-against average.
ROYAL SCORING TOUCH
The Kings averaged 2.29 goals per game during the regular season, which
ranked 29th in the NHL. They are third among playoff teams with a 3.00
goals-per-game average and have scored nine times in their past two
outings, matching their best two-game stretch of the season.
Philadelphia’s Danny Briere forced overtime with his League-leading eighth
goal of the postseason, the 50th score of his playoff career. Briere has
scored 48 of those goals since 2006, tied for the most in the NHL with
Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg.
BETTER OFF TRAILING
The Flyers netted the opening goal Thursday, falling to 1-4 in the
postseason when scoring first. On the flip side, Philadelphia is 4-0 when
trailing first, including a come-from-behind victory in Game 1 against New
Jersey. That trend contradicts the Flyers’ performance during the regular
season, when they went 27-4-5 when scoring first and 20-22-4 when falling
Philadelphia’s Ilya Bryzgalov has allowed three or more goals in eight of
the Flyers’ nine playoff games, giving him a 3.54 goals-against average
and .878 save percentage. Those numbers should come as no surprise to fans
of Bryzgalov’s former team, the Phoenix Coyotes. In Phoenix’s last two
playoff appearances (2010 and 2011), Bryzgalov posted a 3.77 goals-against
average and .896 save percentage as the Coyotes were eliminated in
consecutive opening rounds.
SINGING THE BLUES
The Blues have yielded nine goals over their past two games, their worst
two-game stretch under head coach Ken Hitchcock. All nine scores have come
against Brian Elliott, who led the NHL with a 1.56 goals-against average
and .940 save percentage during the regular season.
RECORD OVERTIME PACE
Twenty of the first 60 playoff games (33.3%) have required overtime. The
record for overtimes in one postseason was established in 1993, when 28 of
the 85 games (32.9%) went past regulation.
DID YOU KNOW?
New Jersey’s Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk scored 20 seconds apart in the
first period, marking the fastest two goals in the team’s playoff history.
The previous record was 26 seconds, set by Petr Sykora and Bobby Holik on
May 14, 2000, also against the Flyers.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Los Angeles’ Mike Richards had a ‘Gordie Howe hat trick’ (goal, assist,
fight) . . . Philadelphia’s Sean Couturier left the game in the first
period and did not return . . . Los Angeles’ Dwight King scored 40 seconds
after St. Louis tied the game to give the Kings the lead for good . . . New
York’s Carl Hagelin was mic’d up for the team’s Game 3 triple-overtime
victory . . . Washington’s Karl Alzner wasn’t happy about his team’s Game 3
defeat, and neither were his dogs . . . What’s better – the NHL or NBA
playoffs? One writer explains why it’s the NHL.
SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Phoenix @ Nashville, Game 4
PHX leads series 2-1, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN, RDS
For the first time, every Stanley Cup Playoffs game is being televised
nationally in the United States, on NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC and NHL
Network. Not sure where to find the game? Use our channel finder: