News and notes as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks prepare for tonight’s showdown in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena in Tampa [8 p.m., NBC]. The series is knotted at two wins apiece:
Who's in goal: Once again, Lightning coach Jon Cooper is playing it coy, saying tonight's starting goaltender for the Lightning will be a game-time decision. Ben Bishop took shots at the morning skate on Saturday morning, an indication he will return after missing Game 4. It's a safe bet no one will know tonight's starter until just before puck drop.
So close: The opening four games of the series each have been decided by one goal, just the third such occurrence in Stanley Cup Final history (also in 1951 and 1968). Only one Stanley Cup Final has featured five consecutive one-goal games to open the series – the 1951 affair between the Maple Leafs and Canadiens in which all five contests required overtime (TOR, 4-1).
Did you know?: The team that has won Game 5 after a split of the opening four contests of the Final has gone on to capture the Stanley Cup 16 of 23 times (69.6 percent) since the series adopted the best-of-seven format in 1939. However, the club that has lost Game 5 has rebounded to win the series in four of the past seven occasions (all since 2001).
In 2013, the Blackhawks defeated the Bruins, 3-1, in Game 5 before ultimately winning the series in six contests.
The four teams since 2001 that have rebounded to win the Stanley Cup after losing Game 5 in that scenario include the 2004 Lightning, who dropped Game 5 at home to the Flames 3-2 in overtime before rallying for a seven-game series victory.
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The other three clubs since 2001 to overcome a Game 5 loss to fall behind 3-2 in the Final were the 2001 Avalanche (vs. NJD), 2009 Penguins (vs. DET) and 2011 Bruins (vs. VAN).
As close as it gets: Here’s a breakdown of the first four games of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final:
Games Played: 4
Wins by Team: CHI – 2, TBL – 2
Total Goals: 18
Goals by Team: CHI – 9, TBL – 9
Total Shots on Goal: 211
Shots on Goal by Team: CHI – 107, TBL – 104
Total Power-Play Goals: 3
Power-Play Goals by Team: CHI – 2/11, TBL – 1/11
A closer look at the goals scored in the series:
Total Goals: 18
Go-Ahead Goals: 7
Game-Tying Goals: 7
Game-Winning Goals: 4
Other Goals: 0
FYI: Overall, the Lightning have led for 38.5 percent of total playing time in the Stanley Cup Final, while the Blackhawks have led for 10.4 percent. The teams have been tied for 51.1% of total playing time – the clubs have been tied or separated by one goal for the entire series.
- All four games in the Stanley Cup Final have been tied or within one goal entering the final five minutes of regulation, as have more than half of all contests this postseason (54 of 87, 62.1 percent).
- The winning goal has been scored in the third period in each game thus far in the Stanley Cup Final, including two in the final five minutes of regulation (Antoine Vermette at 15:26 in Game 1 and Cedric Paquette at 16:49 in Game 3).
- The Blackhawks are 41-14 in Games 4-7 since the start of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including a 7-2 record this year. Since 2012, they have won 17 of 21 contests in Games 5-7 (7-2 on the road).
- The Blackhawks have been tied 2-2 in eight previous series since the start of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including one other this year (CF vs. ANA). They are 16-1 in Games 5-7 of those series, with their lone such loss in Game 5 of this year’s Western Conference Final at ANA (5-4 OT L).
- The Lightning have been tied 2-2 in three of their four series this postseason (also in first round vs. DET and conference final vs. NYR); they are 4-2 in Games 5-7, with both series going the distance.
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