PLAYOFF FIELD SET
The NHL playoff field is set in the Eastern and Western Conference. The Penguins who closed out the regular season with a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon, enter their expected grueling first round series with the Flyers regarded as the favorties in the East from many NHL pundits, including the games most prolific goal scorer.
Lightning star center Steven Stamkos became the 20th player in NHL history to reach the 60 goal mark on Saturday, and while appearing on Sportscenter last night, Stamkos chimed in on the upcoming playoffs and said the Penguins are going to be a tough team to beat with all the talent they have,√ā¬†Stamkos also said if he had to make a pick, he believes the Penguins will be the ones hoisting the Cup this June.
Pittsburgh's first round series with Philadelphia is tentatively expected to begin Wednesday for Game 1 with Game 2 Friday night in Pittsburgh, before the series heads to Philadelphia Sunday afternoon for Game 3 and then a two day break with Game 4 on Wednesday. The league will officially announce the playoff schedule in less than an hour at 1:00 p.m.
FINAL REGULAR SEASON NUMBERS & RANKS
-- The Penguins from a statistical standpoint had their second most successful season in team history, registering 108 points, the second most in team history behind the franchise best 119 points the Penguins recorded in 1992-1993.
-- The Penguins finished the regular season as the No. 1 scoring team, averaging 3.3 goals per game. Philadelphia was second, averaging 3.17 goals per game.
-- Statistically, the Penguins are one of the best teams in hockey in the special teams department: The team ranked 3rd on the penalty kill (87.8) and tied for 5th on the power play with the Flyers, posting an 19.7% mark on the power play.
-- The Penguins finished the regular season 32-0-3 when leading after two periods
-- Evgeni Malkin had a special day on Saturday, scoring his 50th goal (9th player in Pens history) of the season and officially winning the Art Ross, leading the league with 109 points, 12 points better than Steve Stamkos who finished the year ranked second in points and 1st in goals with 60. Malkin the favorite for the Hart Trophy, ranked 2nd in goals, 1st in points, 1st in even strength points, 1st in shots and ranked 3rd in assists with 59. Malkin had 31 multi-point games.
-- Kris Letang finished the season with 42 points in 51 games played, averaging 0.83 points per game, the second best mark among defensemen behind Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson who collected 78 points in 81 games, averaging 0.96 points per game. Letang also√ā¬†finished the regular season with a team best plus 21 rating. Overall, Pittsburgh had six players with plus/minus ratings of plus 15 or better: Kris Letang (+21), Brooks Orpik (+19), Evgeni Malkin (+18), Pascal Dupuis (+18), Chris Kunitz (+16), and Sidney Crosby (+15)
-- Pascal Dupuis ended the regular season on 17 game points streak, capping off a tremendous season with 25 goals - 34 assists for 59 points and a plus 18 rating. Dupuis ranked 11th in the NHL with 55 even strength points.
James Neal who sat out the final two games of the season, finishes the regular season ranked 4th in goals with 40, 7th in points with 81, 1st in power play goals (18), 4th in power play points (30), and 2nd in shots with 329.
-- Marc Andre Fleury finished second in wins (42), 9th in goals against average (2.36) among goaltenders with 40 or more starts, and ranked 21st in save percentage (.913) among goaltenders with 40 or more starts.
-- Sidney Crosby registered 8 goals and 29 assists for 37 points in just 22 games played this season. Crosby collected 14 multi-point games, averaging 1.68 points per game. Crosby enters the playoffs with 5 goals in his last five games.
-- Chris Kunitz set career highs with 26 goals and 61 points, while appearing in all 82 games. Kunitz played in only 66 games in 2010-2011 and 50 games in 2009-2010.