Sunday, May 27, 2012
Holiday weekend jam: 10 finals facts
By ESPN Stats and Information
1. This is the first time in NHL history that two American-born captains will square off in the Stanley Cup finals. Either Dustin Brown (Kings, Ithaca, N.Y.) or Zach Parise (Devils, Minneapolis) will join Derian Hatcher as the only U.S.-born captains of a Stanley Cup-winning team. Hatcher was the Dallas Stars' captain when they won the Cup in 1999.
2. Martin Brodeur will attempt to become the ninth player in NHL history (and second goaltender) to win the Stanley Cup in three different decades. Brodeur played on Cup winners in 1995, 2000 and 2003.
From the Elias Sports Bureau:
Players to Win Stanley Cup in 3 Different Decades
Dit Clapper, Maurice Richard, Henri Richard, Jean Beliveau, Joe Nieuwendyk, Claude Lemieux, Patrick Roy, Mark Recchi
3. The Kings have had three head coaches this season. They began with Terry Murray, who was fired on Dec. 12 and replaced by John Stevens on an interim basis (four games). The team then hired Darryl Sutter on Dec. 20. Only one team in the history of the four major sports has won a championship with as many as three different head coaches/managers during the season: The 1978 Yankees replaced Billy Martin 94 games into the season. Dick Howser took over for just one game before Bob Lemon led the squad to the championship.
4. The Kings are attempting to become the fourth consecutive team to win the Stanley Cup after opening its season in Europe. They began on Oct. 7 with a game in Stockholm, Sweden, against the Rangers.
5. The Kings really struggled offensively during the regular season, finishing 29th in goals scored (188 goals, or 2.29 per game). Only two Stanley Cup finalists in the modern era (since 1943-44) scored fewer goals per game during the regular season. (However, one of those teams, the 1952-53 Canadiens, won the Stanley Cup.) It should be noted that L.A. has averaged 2.93 goals per game during the postseason.
6. The Kings are still looking for their first Stanley Cup in their 44th NHL season. The only NHL franchise with a longer championship drought is the Maple Leafs, who won their last Stanley Cup in 1967. The Kings entered the league in the fall of '67. Other active droughts: Blues (44 years); Sabres (41); Canucks (41).
7. The Sutter influence will be felt in this series. Darryl Sutter is the only one of the famed brothers to coach the Kings, while Brent Sutter coached the Devils for two seasons (2007-08 and 2008-09). Brent Sutter never won a playoff series in New Jersey. Two men have coached both the Devils and Kings: Robbie Ftorek and current Devils assistant Larry Robinson.
8. The Kings are the second No. 8 seed to reach the Stanley Cup finals since the current conference-based playoff format was adopted in 1994. The 2006 Oilers were the first; they lost to the Hurricanes in a seven-game finals.
9. Brodeur and Patrik Elias are the only Devils remaining from their 2003 Stanley Cup-winning team. Brodeur and Elias have played a combined total of 2,233 regular-season games with the Devils, the only franchise either has ever known. Speaking of 2003, the Devils defeated the Mighty Ducks in the Cup finals that year. New Jersey lost all three games played in Anaheim, which is about 45 minutes down the freeway from Staples Center, where the Kings play.
10. Adam Henrique scored 1:03 into overtime Friday, enabling the Devils to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. From Elias: Henrique is the second player in NHL history to score two series-clinching overtime goals in one playoff year. The first was Calgary's Martin Gelinas, in 2004, who did it for a team coached by current Kings coach Darryl Sutter. Henrique's first such goal came in the conference quarterfinals against the Panthers.