* Pre-game presentations in Edmonton and Toronto included a salute to social justice activists and frontline workers as well as an impassioned speech by Wild defenseman Matt Dumba on behalf of the Hockey Diversity Alliance and the NHL.
* Twenty-four-year-old rookie Dominik Kubalik (2-3—5) propelled the Blackhawks in Game 1, becoming the first player in NHL history to record five points in his postseason debut.
* Five teams took a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five series, including two clubs which concluded the regular season occupying 12th place in their conference standings (Chicago and Montreal). Teams that win Game 1 in a best-of-five series own an all-time series record of 68-15 (.819).
NHL RETURNS WITH SALUTE TO SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVISTS, FRONTLINE WORKERS
The NHL’s return on Saturday included a pair of pre-game ceremonies that paid tribute to social justice activists and frontline workers prior to the Oilers-Blackhawks game in Edmonton and the Penguins-Canadiens game in Toronto.
* Prior to the first game in Edmonton, Wild defenseman Matt Dumba delivered a speech on behalf of the Hockey Diversity Alliance and the NHL which included a “vow and promise to stand up for justice and fight for what is right.”
* Former NHL goaltender and current broadcaster Kevin Weekes also narrated a #WeSkateFor Black Lives video that aired before the Penguins-Canadiens game in Toronto.
KUBALIK REWRITES RECORD BOOK WITH HISTORIC GAME 1 PERFORMANCE
As the Blackhawks entered the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers with the youngest average roster (25.6), 24-year-old rookie Dominik Kubalik (2-3—5) erupted for five points to propel Chicago past Edmonton in Game 1.
* Kubalik became the first player in NHL history to record five points in his postseason debut, besting Daryl Evans’ mark during Game 1 of the 1982 Division Semifinals with the Kings (2-2—4).
* Three of Kubalik’s five points came in the opening frame – the most ever by a rookie in the first period of his postseason debut. He eclipsed the previous benchmark of two set by Edmonton’s Jari Kurri (2-0—2 in Game 1 of 1981 PRLM) and matched by NY Rangers’ Mike Ridley (1-1—2 in Game 1 of 1986 DSF).
* Announced as a finalist for the Calder Trophy on July 15, Kubalik fell one point shy of the NHL single-game playoff record for points by a rookie – a mark set by the Rangers’ Mikko Leinonen during Game 2 of the 1982 Division Semifinals (0-6—6). The other rookies to record five points in a playoff game: Jean Beliveau (2-3—5 in Game 2 of 1954 SF), Barry Pederson (3-2—5 in Game 2 of 1982 DSF) and Joe Mullen (1-4—5 in Game 4 of 1982 DSF).
CANADIENS PREVAIL IN FIRST OVERTIME GAME OF STANLEY CUP QUALIFIERS
Jeff Petry scored the overtime winner as the No. 12-ranked Canadiens prevailed in the first overtime game of the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers. Petry became the eighth different defenseman in Canadiens history to score a playoff overtime goal and first since P.K. Subban in Game 1 of the 2014 Second Round.
* Game 1 shared several parallels to the Canadiens’ postseason opener from 2010, when they also entered the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the lowest-seeded team. Tomas Plekanec tallied the overtime winner that day to lift the Canadiens to a 3-2 victory, while Jaroslav Halak made 45 saves for Montreal and Carey Price, who had 39 stops Saturday, dressed as his back-up.
DID YOU KNOW?
* Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin became the fourth player in playoff history to attempt a penalty shot in overtime, joining Joe Juneau (1996), Aleksey Morozov (1998) and Aleksander Barkov (2016). All four attempts were unsuccessful.
* Penguins forward Conor Sheary also attempted a penalty shot at 16:57 of the third period. Saturday marked the second NHL playoff game on record to feature multiple penalty shots, with the other occurring more than 97 years ago. The first such contest was Game 1 of the 1923 Stanley Cup Final when there were three between the original Ottawa Senators and WCHL’s Edmonton Eskimos.
HURRICANES REVERSE REGULAR-SEASON TREND TO TAKE GAME 1
After posting an 0-4-0 record against the Rangers during the 2019-20 regular season, the Hurricanes rebounded to take Game 1 in their best-of-five Stanley Cup Qualifiers series against New York on the back of multi-point efforts from Sebastian Aho (1-1—2) and Jaccob Slavin (1-1—2).
* Slavin opened the scoring for Carolina just 1:01 into the contest with his first career postseason goal (16 GP) to become the first player in NHL history to score a regular-season or postseason goal in the month of August. Regarding the list below, in cases of multiple games starting at the same time, the tiebreaker was given to the earliest elapsed time.
* Martin Necas netted the game-winning goal while skating in his first career postseason contest. Only two other players in Hurricanes/Whalers history have netted the game winner while making their postseason debut: Erik Cole (April 17, 2002) and Sylvain Turgeon (April 9, 1986).
ISLANDERS, FLAMES ALSO PICK UP GAME 1 VICTORIES
* Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Anthony Beauvillier each found the score sheet to lead the Islanders to victory in Game 1 of their series with the Panthers. It marked New York’s fourth consecutive win over Florida in 2019-20 after sweeping the regular-season series (NYI: 3-0-0, FLA: 0-2-1).
* Pageau, who scored in each of his first two games with New York, became the fifth Islanders player to score in both his regular-season and playoff debut with the franchise. Among the previous four instances, Mike Bossy (1977-78) and Patrick Flatley (1983-84) were the only others to also do so in the same season.
* Down 1-0, Johnny Gaudreau scored the first of four unanswered Calgary goals to help the Flames rally past the Jets and take Game 1. Gaudreau scored his first postseason goal since the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he had four as a rookie (4-5—9 in 11 GP).
* Cam Talbot made 17 saves to earn the win in his first postseason game with the Flames. Talbot, a former Edmonton goaltender, went 7-6 in 13 appearances with the Oilers during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (2.48 GAA, .924 SV%, 2 SO) – including a 3-3 mark at Rogers Place (2.67 GAA, .911 SV%, 1 SO).
MEDIA REMINDER: Schedules and recordings of all Zoom media availabilities (including post-game) are available daily on the NHL’s media site – you must have an account to access this content. The 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers Information Guide as well as team playoff media guides also are available on the site.
PREVIEW OF TODAY’S ACTION
The 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers continue with a five-game slate, including the first set of Round Robin matchups in the Eastern Conference (Philadelphia vs. Boston) and Western Conference (St. Louis vs. Colorado). Additionally, Game 1 of three best-of-five series are set to get underway.
PREDATORS, COYOTES SET FOR SECOND PLAYOFF MEETING
Game 1 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers series between the Predators and Coyotes will mark the second playoff meeting between the franchises – Arizona captured the 2012 Conference Semifinals in five games. It marked the second series win since the club relocated from Winnipeg to Arizona in 1996-97 (also 2012 CQF).
* Predators captain Roman Josi led his team in points this season and sits four playoff goals shy of passing former teammate Shea Weber (13-15—28 in 59 GP) for the most by a defenseman in franchise history.
* Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has 1-3—4 in 16 career playoff games, including the series-clinching goal in Game 6 of the 2012 Conference Quarterfinals. Ekman-Larsson, who was 20 at the time, became the youngest defenseman in NHL history to score a series-clinching goal.
MAPLE LEAFS, BLUE JACKETS FACE OFF IN FIRST POSTSEASON SHOWDOWN
The Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets will square off in their first-ever postseason meeting after the two clubs both finished with identical points percentages in the Eastern Conference standings this season (.579). Toronto secured the higher seed because of an edge in regulation wins (TOR: 28, CBJ: 25).
* Auston Matthews, who will turn 23 on Sept. 17, has 10 career playoff goals (20 GP), third-most among Maple Leafs before age 23 behind Ted Kennedy (20 G in 38 GP) and Wendel Clark (11 G in 23 GP).
* Zach Werenski paced NHL defensemen with 20 goals in 2019-20 (20-21—41 in 63 GP), a single-season franchise record among blueliners. He ranks first on the franchise’s all-time regular-season goals list among defensemen, while Seth Jones and David Savard also rank among the top four. Jones shares the franchise mark for postseason goals by a defenseman (4 w/ Jack Johnson), with Werenski (3) just one back.
CANUCKS AND WILD READY FOR PLAYOFF REMATCH
The Canucks and Wild will go head-to-head in the second all-time postseason meeting between the clubs. Minnesota outlasted Vancouver in seven games during the 2003 Conference Semifinals despite dropping overtime contests in Games 1 and 4.
* Elias Pettersson followed up his 2018-19 rookie campaign (28-38—66 in 71 GP) with a 27-39—66 (68 GP) showing in 2019-20 to boost his career totals to 55-77—132 (139 GP). Among players to debut with the Canucks franchise, Pettersson required the third-fewest games to score 50 goals (124 GP), behind only Pavel Bure (82 GP) and Brock Boeser (110 GP).
* Zach Parise has skated in 36 playoff games since signing with the Wild ahead of the 2012-13 campaign. The Minneapolis, Minn., native has since overtaken the franchise records for playoff goals (14) and points (31), while sitting tied with captain Mikko Koivu for first in assists (17).