Stats & Info: New York Rangers

Top stats to know: Kings win Stanley Cup

June, 14, 2014
Jun 14
The Los Angeles Kings concluded another amazing postseason run to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in three seasons, beating the New York Rangers in double overtime on Friday night.

The Kings have won two Stanley Cups in their history, both on home ice. They’re the first team to win two Cups in a three-season span since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings.

They are the fourth team to win at least three Cup Final games in overtime in a season, the first since the 1993 Montreal Canadiens beat the Kings.

This was the third Stanley Cup win for a Southern California team, with all three coming in the past eight seasons (the other was by the 2007 Anaheim Ducks).

Justin Williams was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Award as Most Valuable Player in the playoffs. His seven points were the most for any player in the Cup final.

Jonathan Quick backstopped all 16 wins for the Kings, the second time in three postseasons that he has done that.

The game-winning goal
Alec Martinez scored the game-winning goal on a rebound in the second overtime.

Martinez became the first player in NHL history to score a game-winning overtime goal both in the game that put his team into the Stanley Cup final and in a Stanley Cup final game in the same postseason.

It’s the first time a Cup-winning goal was scored in overtime since 2010 (Patrick Kane for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Philadelphia Flyers) and the first to come at home since Bob Nystrom tallied for the New York Islanders against the Flyers in 1980.

Martinez has six career postseason goals. Four of them have been game winners.

The overachieving Kings
The Kings finished the regular season tied for the ninth-best record in the NHL. Two seasons ago, when they won the Cup, they finished with the 13th-best record in the league.

The Kings averaged 3.38 goals per game this postseason, the highest of any team. They averaged 2.4 goals per game during the regular season, which ranked 26th in the league.

The Kings led for just 69:34 of a possible 369:45 (19 percent) of the series and failed to hold a lead in regulation in three of the games, winning two of those in overtime. The Rangers led for 111:04 (30 percent) of the series.

A long journey comes to an end
This was the 93rd game of the postseason, the most played in any postseason in NHL history. The Kings played in 26 of them, tied for most all time with the 1987 Flyers and 2004 Calgary Flames.

Top stats to know: Rangers 2, Kings 1

June, 12, 2014
Jun 12

Al Bello/Getty ImagesThe Rangers celebrate after Benoit Pouliot scores the first goal in Game 4.
The New York Rangers held on to their early 2-0 lead this time, sending the series back to California for a Game 5 against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist have become experts at staving off elimination this postseason, once again holding off a late surge (with a little help from the ice) to win 2-1.

Rangers don't bow to Kings

New York has won an NHL-record eight straight home playoff games when facing elimination. Its last home loss when facing elimination came in Game 6 of 2007 Eastern Conference semifinals to Sabres.

The Rangers also improved to 11-5 this postseason when scoring first and 11-1 when leading after two periods.

Lundqvist leads N.Y. back to L.A.

Lundqvist made 40 saves Wednesday night to help the Rangers force a Game 5.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, his 40 saves are the third most by a goalie in a Stanley Cup finals game when facing elimination in the last 40 years.

Since 2012, Lundqvist is 11-2 when facing elimination in the playoffs, allowing 1.3 goals per game with .959 save percentage.

Rangers jump out early again

New York improved its goal differential to +14 (26-12) this postseason in the first period.

However, during this series, the Kings have responded by scoring a goal in three minutes or fewer each time they were down 2-0 (Game 1 - 2:30 after, Game 2 - 3:00 after, Game 4 - 2:19 after).

The NHL season (and drought) continues

Thanks to the Rangers win, Game 5 will be the 93rd game of the 2014 NHL postseason, setting the record for most total games played in a single playoff year.

New York's win also marked another year without a sweep in the Stanley Cup Final. That makes 15 straight seasons without a Stanley Cup finals sweep, longest "sweep drought" in major pro sports.

Top stats to know: 2014 Stanley Cup finals

June, 4, 2014
Jun 4
The 2014 Stanley Cup finals begins Wednesday when the Los Angeles Kings host the New York Rangers. The teams have met twice before in postseason play, with the Rangers winning the Preliminary Round series over the Kings in 1979 & 1981.

The Kings are in the Cup finals for the second time in three seasons, while the Rangers are making their first finals appearance since 1994.

Here are some of the top stats to know heading into this coast-to-coast series.

The matchup
This series is the first championship meeting between a team from New York City and a team from Los Angeles in the four major sports since 1981, when the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in six games in the 1981 World Series.

Both the Rangers and the Kings had long series in each of the first three rounds of the 2014 playoffs. The Kings played 21 games (all three series going seven games), while the Rangers played 20 (two seven-game series and a six-game series).

Since all four rounds of the playoffs became seven-game series in 1987, no Stanley Cup Champion had played more than 18 games in the first three rounds of the playoffs, a mark that the eventual winner of this series has already surpassed.

The Kings
The Kings are trying to become the third West Coast team in the post-expansion era to win the Stanley Cup. The Kings themselves won in 2012 over New Jersey, while the Anaheim Ducks won in 2007 over the Ottawa Senators.

Kings center Anze Kopitar currently leads the playoffs in assists (19) and points (24). In Kings history, only Wayne Gretzky has had more assists in a single postseason (25) and only Gretzky (40) and Tomas Sandstrom (25) have racked up more points.

On the defensive end, the Kings allowed the fewest goals during the 2013-14 regular season (174). Since the NHL first made the playoffs more conference-based for the 1993-94 season, the team that has allowed the fewest goals during the regular season has gone on to win the Stanley Cup only four times.

The Rangers
The Rangers are seeking their first Stanley Cup since 1994, when they beat Vancouver in the Final. The Rangers have won the Stanley Cup four previous times, trailing only the Red Wings(11), Bruins (6) & Blackhawks (5) in Cup wins among U.S.-based teams.

Veteran right wing Martin St. Louis is among three Rangers tied for the team lead in points (with Derek Stepan & Ryan McDonagh) this postseason with 13 in 20 games. During the regular season, St. Louis had just eight points in 19 games with the Rangers after being acquired in a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning at the trade deadline.

While there will be no shortage of offensive power, this series may come down to the netminders. Among the goaltenders on the rosters of the 16 teams to make the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, none has more career playoff shutouts than the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist (9). Just behind him on that list is the Kings’ Jonathan Quick (8).

A statistical look at a night of NHL Game 7s

April, 30, 2014
Apr 30
The first round of the NHL Playoffs concludes Wednesday with a trio of Game 7s.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this will be the fifth time in NHL history that there will be at least three Game 7s played on the same day. The last time it happened was April 22, 2003.

Here is a look at some key stats to know for all three games.

New York Rangers at Philadelphia FlyersThis is the 2nd time the Flyers and Rangers have played a Game 7 against each other. In the 1974 Semifinals, the Flyers beat the Rangers, 4-3.

The Rangers are 5-0 at home in Game 7s, the best record of any team that has played at least 3 home games. However, the Flyers are 9-6 all-time in Game 7s, the best record of any team that has played at least 10 games overall.

The Flyers have won their last three game 7s, the last loss coming in the 2004 Conference Finals vs Lightning

Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche
With a win, Minnesota could become the only ACTIVE NHL, NBA or MLB franchise to go 3-0 all-time in Game 7s.

The Wild’s first win in a Game 7 was April 22, 2003 in Colorado.

Why is that notable? It was the final game in the Hall-of-Fame career of former Avalanche goaltender (and current coach) Patrick Roy. Andrew Brunette scored on Roy in OT that night to give Minnesota the victory.

Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks
These two teams are not unfamiliar with seeing each other in Game 7s. Last season, the Kings eliminated the Sharks in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.
The Kings are the ninth team to force a Game 7 after trailing 3-0. Only 3 NHL teams have won a series when trailing 3-0 (1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders, 2010 Flyers).

On the other end of the ice, this is the second time that the Sharks have been pushed to a Game 7 after taking a 3-0 series lead (2011 vs Red Wings ... SJ won Game 7).

Other Game 7 notes
• The team scoring the first goal in Game 7 has won 111 of the 149 games (74.5 pct).

• Game 7s have gone into OT 37 times, with the home team winning 19 of those and road team winning 18.

• Of the 37 OT games in Game 7, eight have been decided in double OT, one in triple OT and one in a 4-OT game.

• The oldest player to score a Game 7 goal? Bruins' Mark Recchi, who scored a goal in 2011 against the Canadiens at age 43.

Guaranteed: Down 3-2 a tough spot for N.Y.

May, 25, 2012

Is this déjà vu from the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals? The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils face off tonight in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals with the Devils looking to advance to their fifth Stanley Cup Final.

This series is playing out eerily similar to a previous playoff matchup between these teams in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. The dates of Games 3-7 from that series are the exact same dates as this season, and this year’s results for those games have gone exactly as they did in 1994.

The teams once again head to New Jersey for a Game 6, with the Rangers trailing 3-2 and needing a win to avoid elimination.

Don’t forget, it was after New York’s Game 5 loss in 1994 that Mark Messier guaranteed a win in Game 6. The Devils jumped out 2-0 in that game before the Rangers scored four unanswered goals, including a hat trick from Messier. Will the Rangers be able to find that same magic again tonight?

So far there have been no Messier-like guarantees from the Rangers locker room and the team is trying to downplay the comparison while maintaining a similar urgency to win.

"We can't put more pressure on ourselves. We always want to win," Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. "You always want to play a desperate game. (But) you don't want to go out there and do too much and be too excited. You need to find a good balance emotionally, and just go out there and try to play as well as you can."

Stats To Know
History is not on the Rangers side as they try to rally and advance to the Stanley Cup Final. The Rangers have won just two of 18 series all-time in which they trailed 3-2. However, one of those comebacks was in 1994 against the Devils and the other was this postseason against the Ottawa Senators.

There is a good chance that the Blueshirts could force a Game 7, though. Henrik Lundqvist is 3-0 with a 1.33 goals against average and .948 save percentage in games in which his team could have been eliminated this postseason.

The key in this game might just be who lights the lamp first. Starting with Game 7 against Ottawa, the Rangers have won all seven games in which they scored the first goal and lost all six games in which their opponent scored first, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Devils have not suffered any early-game jitters in the playoffs, outscoring their opponents 21-9 in the first period, including 6-1 in this series.

The Devils also should feel confident about their chances tonight with Martin Brodeur, one of the greatest netminders in NHL history, looking for his 111th career playoff win (2nd-most all-time). Since being pulled versus the Florida Panthers in Game 3, Brodeur is 5-1 with a .930 save percentage in six home games.
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1. SPURS FINISH OFF SWEEP: The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Utah Jazz, 87-81, finishing a four-game sweep to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals. This was the Spurs sixth postseason sweep since Tim Duncan was a rookie in the 1997-98 season. According to Elias, that ranks second in the NBA. Only the Los Angeles Lakers, with seven, have more over the last 15 seasons.

2. PAUL & GRIFFIN LEAD CLIPPERS TO VICTORY: The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 101-97 in overtime, to take a 3-1 series lead. According to Elias, the Clippers became the first NBA team to have a pair of players (Chris Paul, Blake Griffin), with at least 25 points and at least seven assists in a playoff game since they did it themselves back on May 14, 2006 (Elton Brand had 30 and eight and Sam Cassell had 28 and nine in a victory over the Phoenix Suns).

3. RANGERS EARN HISTORIC WIN: The New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals, 3-2 in overtime to take a 3-2 series lead. That win would not have been possible if Brad Richards hadn’t tied the game with seven seconds left in regulation. According to Elias, this is the first NHL postseason to have three games feature game-tying goals in the final 15 seconds of regulation. The first-two games in the Phoenix Coyotes - Chicago Blackhawks series also had such goals.

4. COYOTES IN UNCHARTED TERRITORY: The Coyotes defeated the Nashville Predators, 2-1, to win the Western Conference Semifinals in five games. The Coyotes advanced to their first Conference Finals since joining the NHL in 1979-80. Prior to joining the NHL, the franchise (then known as the Winnipeg Jets) reached the WHA (Avco Cup) Finals five times in seven seasons.

5. WEAVER PERFECT 5-0: Jered Weaver allowed one earned run in six innings, as the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Minnesota Twins, 8-3. For the third time, Weaver has started a season 5-0. According to Elias, he joined Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens and Christy Mathewson as the only pitchers to start 5-0 in three seasons.

6. RED HOT ROOKIE: The Boston Red Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals, 11-5 to snap a five-game losing streak. Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks remained hot, going 3 for 5, with two home runs and five RBI. According to Elias, he tied the MLB record for most RBI (nine) in a player’s first four games to start career.
Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories.

1. LUCK MAKES IT FOUR: The first round of the 2012 NFL Draft was held on Thursday. The Indianapolis Colts selected Andrew Luck with the first overall pick. Luck is the fourth Stanford QB to be picked first overall in the history of the NFL Draft, joining John Elway (1983), Jim Plunkett (1971) and Bobby Garrett (1954). Stanford is the first school to have four QBs drafted first overall and the first school to have four No. 1 picks at any single position.

2. DEVILS MOVE ON: The New Jersey Devils defeated the Florida Panthers in Game 7, 3-2, in double overtime. It marked the fifth time under the current playoff format (since 1993-94), that a Game 7 had multiple overtime periods. Adam Henrique scored the game-winning goal. According to Elias, he is the second rookie to score an overtime goal in a Game 7. The other was Montreal’s Claude Lemieux in 1986 against the Hartford Whalers.

3. RANGERS MOVE ON: The New York Rangers defeated the Ottawa Senators, 2-1, in Game 7. It’s the Blueshirts’ first Game 7 win since the 1994 Stanley Cup Final against the Vancouver Canucks. The Rangers now face the seven-seed Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. In their two previous playoff appearances, the Rangers were eliminated each time by the Capitals.

Kevin Durant
4. DURANT WINS TITLE: Thursday marked the final day of the NBA regular season. Kobe Bryant did not play in the Los Angeles Lakers finale against the Sacramento Kings. As a result, Kevin Durant won the 2011-12 NBA scoring title for the third straight season. At the age of 23, Durant is the youngest player to win three straight scoring titles.

5. HUMBER ROUGHED UP: The Boston Red Sox defeated the Chicago White Sox, 10-3. The game marked the first start for White Sox pitcher Philip Humber since his perfect game last Saturday. Humber allowed a career-high nine earned runs in five innings. According to Elias, Humber became the first pitcher in major-league history to allow as many as nine runs in his first appearance after pitching a perfect game.
Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories.

1. BRUINS BOUNCED: The Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 in overtime in Game 7. The Bruins lost when facing elimination for the first time in six games. It is the fourth time in the expansion era (since 1967) that both Stanley Cup finalists from the previous season lost in the quarterfinals the following season. FROM ELIAS: It was the first series in Stanley Cup history in which all seven games were decided by a one-goal margin, and only the second series to go to overtime in Game 7 with the two teams having scored the same number of goals in the series. There are two more Game 7s Thursday (Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils at Florida Panthers).

Kobe Bryant
Kevin Durant
2. KOBE OR KD: Kevin Durant scored 32 points in his final regular-season game. Durant averaged 28.03 PPG this season, 0.17 ahead of Kobe Bryant. Bryant needs 38 points against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday to win the scoring title. Bryant has scored 38 points 152 times in regular-season games in his career, including nine against the Kings. Durant or Bryant will become the eighth player in NBA history to win at least three scoring titles.

3. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL SET: Bayern Munich advanced to the UEFA Champions League final (tied 3-3 on aggregate; advanced 3-1 on penalty kicks) over Real Madrid. It was the first time that a UEFA Champions League semifinal went to penalty kicks since 2007. Bayern Munich will face Chelsea on May 19 in Munich. They will be the first club since Roma in 1984 to play the European Cup Final in its home stadium.

4. NBA FUTILITY: The Charlotte Bobcats lost for the 22nd straight time on Wednesday. They end the regular season at home against the New York Knicks on Thursday. If the Bobcats lose, they will set the record for the worst winning percentage in a single-season in NBA history (would finish at .106 win pct), passing the 1972-73 76ers (finished at .110). Charlotte is still looking for its first win since March 17.

5. NFL DRAFT: The first round of the NFL Draft begins Thursday at 8 ET on ESPN. QB Andrew Luck and QB Robert Griffin III are expected to be the first two players taken. It would be the fifth time in the Common Draft Era (since 1967), and first since 1999, that quarterbacks were selected first and second overall.
Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories.

1. SPURS CLINCH TOP SEED: The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 124-89, and clinched the top seed in the Western Conference. Last season, as a one-seed, the Spurs were eliminated in the first round of their playoff series with the Grizzlies. It was the fourth time since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams that a one-seed lost to an eight-seed.

2. COYOTES FINALLY WIN A SERIES: The Phoenix Coyotes defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-0, to win the Western Conference Quarterfinals in six games. It’s the franchise’s first playoff series win since 1987. According to Elias, their streak of 23 consecutive seasons without winning a playoff series (1987-88 through 2010-11) is a NHL record.

3. KREIDER TO THE RESCUE: The New York Rangers defeated the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, to force Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. 20-year old Chris Kreider scored the game-winning goal. According to Elias, Kreider is the third Rangers player to score a playoff goal, before playing in a regular-season game.

Derek Jeter
4. JETER HITS HOLLAND: Derek Jeter went 4-5 in the New York Yankees’ 7-4 win over the Texas Rangers. All four of Jeter’s hits came off Derek Holland. According to Elias, that tied Jeter's career high for hits off the same pitcher in one game. He had previously recorded four hits in a game against Greg Maddux and Bob Tewksbury.

5. ROSS SHOWS POWER: Cody Ross hit two home runs in the Boston Red Sox’ 6-5 win over the Minnesota Twins. Ross tied the game in the seventh inning with a two-run blast, then hit a solo shot in the ninth to put the Red Sox ahead. According to Elias, prior to Ross, the last Red Sox player with a game-tying and game-winning home run, each in the seventh inning or later, was Dwight Evans on June 23, 1990 against the Orioles at Fenway Park.

6. PANDA KEEPS HITTING: Pablo Sandoval recorded hits in both games of the Giants-Mets doubleheader on Monday (Giants won both games). Sandoval has hit safely in his first 16 games this season. According to Elias, he tied the second-longest hit streak to start a season by a Giants player since 1900. The record of 18 was set by Johnny Rucker in 1945.
Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories.

1. HUMBER SIMPLY PERFECT: Chicago White Sox pitcher Philip Humber became the 21st pitcher to throw a perfect game in MLB history. FROM ELIAS: Entering Saturday’s game, Humber had 11 wins in 29 starts. That is the third-fewest starts and second-fewest wins prior to a perfect game in MLB history.

2. YANKEES MAKE IMPROBABLE COMEBACK: The New York Yankees trailed 9-0 against the Boston Red Sox before scoring 15 unanswered runs in a 15-9 win. FROM ELIAS: It is the second time in the modern era that a team trailed by at least nine runs and ended up winning the game by at least six runs. On June 12, 1938 the Detroit Tigers trailed the Washington Senators, 11-1, but rallied to win, 18-12, on the strength of a seven-run ninth inning.

3. BLACKHAWKS FORCE GAME 6: The Chicago Blackhawks stayed alive, winning 3-2 in overtime against the Phoenix Coyotes. The Blackhawks have played in seven consecutive overtime games, the longest streak in NHL playoff history. FROM ELIAS: This is the second playoff series in NHL history in which each of the first 5 games went into overtime. The other was the 1951 Finals when the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs went to OT in all five games.

4. ANDERSON BLANKS RANGERS: Craig Anderson made 41 saves to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 2–0 win at Madison Square Garden in Game 5 of their series against the New York Rangers. FROM ELIAS: Anderson was the first NHL goaltender to make at least 40 saves in a road shutout in the playoffs since Ed Belfour of the Dallas Stars made 48 stops in a 1–0 triple-overtime win at New Jersey in Game 5 of the 2000 Stanley Cup Final. Before Anderson, the last goaltender to do that in a road playoff game that did not go to overtime was Toronto’s Felix Potvin with a 42-save, 3–0 shutout at Chicago in 1995.

5. RONALDO SETS RECORD: Cristiano Ronaldo scored the game-winning goal in Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Barcelona. It was Ronaldo’s 42nd goal of the season, setting the record for most goals scored in a season in La Liga history.

6. BATTLE OF WESTERN POWERS: The Los Angeles Lakers host the Oklahoma City Thunder at 3:30 ET on ABC. That game will feature the top-2 scorers in the NBA. Kobe Bryant (27.9 PPG) leads Kevin Durant (27.8 PPG) by 0.1 PPG. Durant is trying to become the first player to win three consecutive scoring titles since Michael Jordan from 1996-98. The Lakers have two games remaining while the Thunder have three.
Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories

Henrik Lundqvist
1. SAVING THE DAY: FROM ELIAS: Henrik Lundqvist made 39 saves to lead the New York Rangers to a 1-0 win in Game 3 of their series against the Ottawa Senators, one day after the Kings’ Jonathan Quick stopped 41 shots in a 1-0 victory at Los Angeles. Since the NHL began officially recording shots on goal more than 50 years ago, the only other goaltender to make 39-or-more saves in a 1-0 shutout in a non-overtime game was Martin Brodeur against Carolina in 2009 (44 saves). The Rangers’ 1-0 victory was only their second playoff win by that score since 1941. Lundqvist accounted for that other 1-0 win as well, beating the Capitals by a lone goal in Washington in 2009.

2. LeBRON FINISHES STRONG: FROM ELIAS: LeBron James scored Miami’s final 17 points in the team’s victory over the New Jersey Nets on Monday night. James is the fourth player to score 17 straight points for his team in a game this season, joining Deron Williams (18 on March 4), Chris Paul (17 on February 22) and Mo Williams (17 on January 22). Prior to James, the last player to score his team’s final 17 points of a game was Denver’s J.R. Smith on April 13, 2009.

3. VERLANDER THROWING HEAT: Last year’s AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander got his first win of the season as the Detroit Tigers won 3-2. Verlander had a complete game on 131 pitches, one shy of his career-high. He threw 19 fastballs in the ninth inning. Of those, seven were over 98 MPH. His final pitch of the night was 100.3 MPH, tied for the fastest pitch he threw ALL GAME. Since 2009, Justin Verlander has the highest average fastball velocity for any starter in the ninth inning. He is also the only starter in that time frame to throw a pitch over 100 MPH in the ninth.

Roy Halladay
4. HALLADAY OUTDUELS LINCECUM: Roy Halladay won a battle of Cy Young pitchers, allowing two earned runs in 8 innings as the Philadelphia Phillies won 5-2 over the San Francisco Giants and Tim Lincecum. FROM ELIAS: Halladay has registered a win while pitching at least seven innings and allowing two-or-fewer runs in each of his first three starts of the season, something he also did in his first three starts in his first season with the Phils in 2010. In the 36 seasons preceding Halladay’s arrival, only one other Phillies pitcher that started the season with the team registered a win, seven plus innings pitched and two-or-fewer runs allowed in each of his first three starts: Dennis Cook in 1990.

5. WORKING OVERTIME: FROM ELIAS: The Utah Jazz defeated the Dallas Mavericks by a score of 123-121 in a triple overtime contest on Monday night. Utah has now played two games that have gone to at least triple overtime this season, losing a quadruple overtime game in Atlanta on March 25. Over the last 50 seasons, only five other teams have played multiple games that have gone to at least three overtimes in a single season: Phoenix in 1997-98 and 2005-06, New York in 2006-07, New Jersey in 2010-11 and Atlanta in 2011-12.
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Phil Mickelson
1. FINAL PAIRING AT THE MASTERS: Peter Hanson has a one-shot lead heading into the final round at the Masters Tournament. It’s the first time Hanson has a 54-hole lead at a major. Phil Mickelson is just one shot back after shooting a six-under 66. It’s the first time in his career that he shot six-under or better on the weekend in a major. He’s playing in the last group on Masters Sunday for the fifth time. He’s won the Tournament the previous three times.

2. BECKETT BLASTED BY TIGERS: Josh Beckett allowed five home runs as the Boston Red Sox lost 10-0 to the Detroit Tigers. Beckett didn’t allow his fifth home run last season until June 28. Meanwhile, the New York Yankees lost 8-6 to the Tampa Bay Rays. It is the first time since 1980 that the Red Sox and Yankees both started 0-2.

3. MOYER TAKES PLACE IN RECORD BOOKS: Jamie Moyer pitched five innings for the Colorado Rockies. The 49-year-old hurler was the second-oldest pitcher to start a MLB game. Only Satchel Paige was older (58 years old). He is the oldest player to pitch in a MLB game since Hoyt Wilhelm, who pitched at age 49 for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1972.

4. HOWARD SEEING 20-20: Dwight Howard had 20 points and 22 rebounds against the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s the 41st time that Howard has scored 20 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in game, tying Charles Barkley for the third-most and just one behind Hakeem Olajuwon for second-most since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976-77.

Steven Stamkos
5. STAMKOS SCORES 60: Steven Stamkos scored his 60th goal of the season in the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 OT win over the Winnipeg Jets. Stamkos is just the fifth player to score 60 goals in a season since 1993-94 and the first since Alex Ovechkin scored 65 in the 2007-08 season.

6. LET THE POSTSEASON BEGIN: The NHL Playoff matchups are set with the New York Rangers getting the top seed in the East and the Vancouver Canucks getting the top seed in the West. Vancouver clinched the Presidents’ Trophy for the second-straight season. However, having the most points in the regular season doesn’t guarantee playoff success. The 2008 Detroit Red Wings were the only team in the last nine years to win the Stanley Cup after winning the Presidents’ Trophy.
Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories

Fred Couples
1. OLD AND YOUNG ATOP THE LEADERBOARD: Fred Couples and Jason Dufner enter the weekend as co-leaders at the 2012 Masters Tournament. At 52 years old, Couples is the oldest player to ever hold the 36-hole lead at the Masters. Dufner, who has yet to win on the PGA TOUR in 161 career starts, has held a share of the lead in three of the last five rounds at the majors.

2. WOODS STRUGGLES AT MASTERS: Tiger Woods carded a 3-over 75, his worst second-round score at the Masters. It also tied his second-worst score as a pro at the Masters. Woods failed to birdie a par five Friday, his third round at the Masters in which he failed to birdie a par five (fourth Round in 2008, first Round in 2003). Woods has never won a major when outside the top-five through 36 holes.

3. WEAVER MAKES UP FOR PUJOLS' DONUT: In his much-anticipated Los Angeles Angels debut, Albert Pujols went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. He was the lone Angels starter without a hit. But the Angels still won on the strength of Jered Weaver and his eight-inning, 10-strikeout performance. FROM ELIAS: Weaver is only the third pitcher since 1900 to throw at least eight scoreless innings with 10 or more strikeouts and no walks on opening day (Bob Gibson, 1967 (9 IP, 0 R, 13 K) and Chris Short, 1968 (9 IP, 0 R, 10 K).

4. BATTLE FOR BEST RECORD GETS EVEN TIGHTER: The San Antonio Spurs extended their win streak to 10 with a 128-103 win against the New Orleans Hornets. It’s their second win streak of at least 10 games this season (won 11 straight previously), and the second consecutive season in which San Antonio tallied multiple double-digit win streaks. In Indiana, the Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Indiana Pacers, creating co-leaders atop the Western Conference for the first time since January 6 (Thunder were tied with the Denver Nuggets).

5. A TON AT STAKE ON FINAL DAY OF NHL REGULAR SEASON: Saturday marks the final day in the NHL’s regular season. All 16 playoff spots are accounted for, with seeding still to be determined. The wildest race is in the Pacific Division, where the Phoenix Coyotes lead the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks by a point. Phoenix has never won a division title since joining the NHL as the 'original' Winnipeg Jets in 1979. The Presidents’ Trophy is also up for grabs, with the New York Rangers owning the tiebreaker over the Vancouver Canucks should the teams finish the regular season tied in points. And Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning (59 goals) will try to become the 39th player in NHL history to score 60 goals in a season.
Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories

1. BAYLOR WOMEN MAKE IT A PERFECT 40: Baylor wins the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship with a 80-61 win over Notre Dame. Brittney Griner (26 Pts, 13 Reb, 5 Blk) was named Most Outstanding Player. The Lady Bears become the 1st men’s or women’s basketball team to reach 40 wins in a season.

2. LeBRON GOES FOR 40: The Miami Heat clinch their 4th straight playoff appearance with a 99-93 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. LeBron James scores a season-high 41 points. FROM ELIAS: The only other NBA player this season to record more than 40 points in a game in which his team failed to score 100 points is Kobe Bryant, who did that three times in a five-day span in January.

3. KNICKS FALL APART LATE: The Indiana Pacers defeat the New York Knicks, 112-104. FROM ELIAS: That is the largest margin of victory for any NBA team in a game it was losing by 15-or-more points heading into the fourth quarter since October 30, 2010, when the Bulls rallied to beat the Pistons in Chicago, 101-91.

4. RANGERS CLINCH TOP SEED: The New York Rangers clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference with a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. It marks the first time that the Rangers secured the East’s best record since the 1993-94 season. That’s the last time the Blueshirts won the Stanley Cup.

Sidney Crosby
5. CROSBY SCORING LATELY: Sidney Crosby scores two goals, with an assist in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 5-3 win over the Boston Bruins. FROM ELIAS: Crosby has scored 22 points in 12 games (5 goals, 17 assists) since March 15, when he returned to action. That makes him the NHL scoring leader since that date, one point ahead of teammate Evgeni Malkin.

Road-weary Rangers finally home

October, 27, 2011
The New York Rangers finished their seven-game season-opening road trip with an admirable 3-2-2 record. Because of the renovation ongoing at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers had to wait nearly three weeks until their first home game of the season, which comes tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the first time in franchise history that the Rangers started a season with seven road games in a row before their first game in New York.

Excluding the 1994-95 season, which didn’t begin until January because of a lockout, this will be the latest home opener for the Rangers in terms of calendar year since 1948, when they also played their first home game on October 27.

The 2011-12 Rangers hope that their season doesn’t turn out like that 1948-49 team, which finished 18-31-11 and in last place in the six-team NHL.

Islanders: one line is not enough
The New York Islanders opened the season with three wins in their first four games, but that strong start has been tempered by a three-game losing streak, which included a 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

The Islanders have really struggled to generate offense in these first few weeks, averaging just 2.00 goals per game (tied for 25th in NHL) and 26.7 shots per game (25th in NHL).

One issue for the Isles is that they aren’t getting much production beyond their first line of John Tavares, P.A. Parenteau and Matt Moulson. The trio has compiled nine goals and 13 assists for 22 points, while the other 16 players on the team have combined for just five goals and 15 points.

Behind The Net is a website with advanced hockey statistics and analysis, and it breaks down player performance in all situations. According to these numbers, the Islanders have nine players who are averaging 0.00 points per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 situations, the most of any NHL team (min. 5 games played).

Kovalchuk: too much time his skates?
Since Ilya Kovalchuk arrived in New Jersey and played his first game with the team on February 5, 2010, the New Jersey Devils have averaged the fewest goals per game in the league at 2.25 and are 27th in shots on goal per game at 28.7.

This season, it appears coach Peter DeBoer is allowing Kovalchuk to try and turn things around himself. Kovalchuk is averaging 26:29 time on ice per game, which is fifth in the league. The next-highest forward is Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks, who is at 23:36, ranked 33rd among all NHL players.

Since time-on-ice numbers became an official statistic in the 2000-01 season, the highest time on ice per game by a forward was Pavel Bure, who averaged 26:52 in 2000-01 for the Florida Panthers. Kovalchuk’s time this season would be the second-highest by a forward in that span.