It was another exciting week of NHL playoff action with more teams bowing out and heading home. Now, with the second round set to kick off, it’s time again to look at some of the noteworthy numbers from the second week of the postseason.
Game sevens are a time when heroes are separated from the rest of the pack. And while we saw two series go the distance in the first round of the 2015 NHL Playoffs, it was Ben Bishop who put up a zero for Tampa Bay.
Sure, the Red Wings were without two big blue liners in Marek Zidlicky and Niklas Kronwall, but the Lightning goaltender stood his ground nonetheless stopping all 31 shots he faced on Wednesday to lead his team into the second round.
“It was a seven-game series, but Bish took command of this game,” said head coach Jon Cooper in an article by Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune. “A lot of the press in this series was talking about the other guy (Detroit goaltender Petr Mrazek) and nobody was talking about Bish. Well, now they are talking about Bish.”
It wasn’t a bad time for Bishop to record his first career postseason shutout. The zero goes along with his .922 save percentage and his 1.87 goals against average through the first round.
To go along with Bishop’s outstanding performance, Tampa’s ‘Triplet Line’ had quite the first round against Detroit. Tyler Johnson led the way for the Lightning with seven points (6g-1a), while Nikita Kucherov put up four points (0g-4a) to go along with Ondrej Palat’s three points (1g-2a).
Together, the line combined for fourteen points over seven games and led the team to a Game 4 overtime win which got Tampa Bay back into a series they seemed to be out of. On top of that, the line made up for their struggling captain, as Stamkos only put up three assists over the team’s seven games.
The sixth game of the Capitals-Islanders series took place in New York at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. While it was a possibility, many hoped the Islanders would advance postponing the inevitable closure of the Coliseum.
As it was, the Islanders went on to lose in Game 7 in Washington which meant that April 25 was the last NHL game played at Nassau Coliseum. While it was a sad day for the Islanders and their fans, the team went out on a good note winning their final home game 3-1 at the old barn.
One Hundred and Thirty-Two
Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa had five assists in his team’s six games as they beat the Nashville Predators in six games to move on to the second round. But what’s more impressive, is that those five assists ranks Hossa 31st all-time (tied with Esa Tikkanen) in NHL playoff scoring with 132 points (45g-87a).
He’s also second among active players in playoff scoring behind only Jaromir Jagr (who has 199 playoff points). Hossa’s taken part in 15 playoff seasons with five teams, playing in 177 postseason games. Certainly that helps in putting up the kind of numbers he has over his career.
Two Hundred and Eight
One more Tampa stat from the first couple weeks of this year’s postseason. The number is 208 – but what does that mean? While the Lightning did go on to win the series in seven games, the team had trouble scoring throughout the series. Just ask Steven Stamkos.
At one point, the Red Wings held Tampa scoreless at Joe Louis Arena for just over 208 minutes. Tampa was held scoreless in Game 3 and didn’t score until the third period of Game 4 to end the drought – a game they went on to win in overtime. During the drought, the Lightning recorded 44 shots on net. They followed that up with seven shots during the third period and overtime of Game 4 – scoring three goals.
For more, follow Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes or his THW column at @Tape2TapeTHW.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.