STANLEY SAYSÂ…10 things you didn't know about the 2007 playoffs:
1. The Anaheim Ducks have the second-best winning percentage in the playoffs in NHL history. Entering Game 3 versus Ottawa, Anaheim's post-season mark of .600 (42-28) trailed only Edmonton (.605, 152-99) and was just ahead of Montreal (.596, 393-266). Seven other teams are above .500 all-time in the playoffs: N.Y. Islanders (.558, 134-106); New Jersey (.549, 117-96); Colorado (.541, 126-107); Detroit, (.520, 269-248); Philadelphia (.520, 180-166); Pittsburgh (.516, 110-103); and, Tampa Bay (.510, 26-25).
2. Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson has played in every playoff game in Senators history (96 and counting, entering Game 3). Alfredsson easily leads the Sens' all-time scoring list, with 75 points; defenseman Wade Redden is second with 43 points. And, Chris Phillips entered the 2007 post-season in 10th place on the Sens' list, but don't expect him to jump up too much Â– the defensive defenseman had zero points through 17 playoff games (but still sported a plus/minus rating of even). Alfredsson is attempting to become the first European captain to lead his team to the Cup.
3. Samuel Pahlsson is a Conn Smythe candidate. For those of you living outside of Orange County, Pahlsson is the Ducks' checking center and skates between Travis Moen and Rob Niedermayer on a hard-hitting shutdown line. The thing is, the Ducks' third line also is scoring Â– and at pivotal times. The unit has combined for 11 goals Â– the Ducks' first and second lines had 12 goals apiece Â– and six were game-winners. Pahlsson, who's up for the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward, also has been big in the faceoff circle and leads the Ducks with a plus-8.
4. For the second time in two years, one of the starting goalies had never faced his Stanley Cup opponent prior to the final. Ottawa goalie Ray Emery hadn't gone up against Anaheim before Game 1 Â– much like Carolina's Cam Ward had never played Edmonton before the two teams hooked up in the 2006 Cup final. (Ward, ironically, is an Edmonton native.)
5. Ottawa coach Bryan Murray drafted Ducks forwards Ryan Getzlaf (19th overall) and Corey Perry (28th) in the first round in 2003 and signed free agent winger Dustin Penner to a contract in May, 2004. The three sophomores Â– who average 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds Â– now make up Anaheim's second line. Murray was coach and/or GM for the Ducks from 2001 to '04.
6. Ducks center Andy McDonald (Colgate) and Senators center Mike Comrie (Michigan) were finalists for the Hobey Baker Award in 2000 as the top player in U.S. college hockey. Comrie, in fact, helped end McDonald's college career when his shot was tipped in in overtime for a 4-3 win in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
7. The Stanley Cup-winning goal will be scored in the second period. The past five teams Â– from 2001 through '06 Â– that have hoisted the Cup scored the deciding goal in the middle frame of the final game. Overtime was required in 1999 and 2000, but from 1993 through '98 Â– except Uwe Krupp's 1996 OT winner Â– the glory came on a second period goal. The last time the Stanley Cup-winning goal was scored in the third period was when Ron Francis gave Pittsburgh its second consecutive title with a marker at 7:59 of the third in an eventual 6-5 win. (In 1991, Ulf Samuelsson's goal just two minutes into the game stood up as the winner as Pittsburgh crushed Minnesota 8-0 in Game 6.)
8. Jean-Sebastien Giguere is nearly unbeatable in overtime in the playoffs. Only once in 13 games has Giguere been bested in OT in the post-season. His 12-1 playoff overtime record is a stark contrast to Ray Emery's 2-4 mark. Emery, though, has won two of three overtime games in the '07 playoffs after entering the post-season 0-3 in springtime OT.
9. Ottawa's top line of Daniel Alfredsson-Jason Spezza-Dany Heatley was held scoreless in the first two games of the final, but just because they're heading back to Ottawa doesn't mean the line will suddenly explode. In the playoffs, the line has collected 15 of its 23 goals and 40 of its 60 points on the road. (Jason Spezza leads all NHLers with 15 points on the road in the 2007 playoffs).
10. Since the NHL took control of the Stanley Cup in 1927, a West Coast team has never won it. The Victoria Cougars captured the Cup in 1925.