HIGH-SCORING TREND CONTINUES INTO 2018 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
The increased offense from the highest-scoring regular-season in 11 years carried over into the opening round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, with an average of 5.9 goals per game (255 goals in 43 GP) – up 20% from the 2017 First Round (4.9 G/GP; 205 G in 42 GP).
In the past 22 years, only four opening rounds featured as many goals per game. Seven of the eight remaining clubs ranked among the top 10 in goals for during the regular season. Additionally, all eight clubs reached the 100-point mark in 2017-18, marking the first time that the final eight playoff teams each hit triple-digits in points during the regular season.
GOLDEN KNIGHTS, JETS AMONG GROUP OF FIRST-TIME CONTENDERS
Three clubs who were not part of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs will play in the Second Round (of the seven new clubs that reached the postseason), including the expansion Golden Knights and Jets – who each recorded their first-ever series win.
The Golden Knights became just the third team from the NHL, NBA and MLB to complete a four-game sweep to win their first-ever playoff series – and the first to do so in their inaugural season. Only three other NHL teams won a playoff series in their inaugural season, all against other clubs also in their debut campaign (Toronto Arenas in 1918; St. Louis Blues and Minnesota North Stars in 1968). The Golden Knights’ sweep was not only the first of its kind for a professional team in its inaugural season, but also a rare feat for any club in the Stanley Cup Playoffs over the past 10 years. Only 12.6% of series have ended after four games since 2009. This marks the sixth time in the expansion era (since 1967-68) that two NHL clubs have recorded their first-ever series win in the same postseason.
The Jets and Golden Knights will face the Predators and Sharks, respectively, in the Second Round, marking the third time that the final four teams in either conference all are chasing their first Stanley Cup (since the introduction of conferences in 1974-75). The other instances came in 1984 when the Oilers emerged from the Clarence Campbell Conference (outlasting the Blues, Flames and North Stars) and 2012 when the Kings came out of the Western Conference (outlasting the Blues, Coyotes and Predators), both en route to winning the Stanley Cup.
* Information provided via NHL Press Release