Friday, 25 May, 2018

Jets overpower Predators, reach 1st conference finals

Winnipeg Jets vs. Vegas Golden Knights - 5/12/18 NHL Pick, Odds, and Prediction Predators outlast Jets in 2 OT, tie series at 1
Tamara Craig | 12 May, 2018, 21:29

The Jets won three games on the road, including Game 7, to advance to the Western Conference final for the first time in the city's National Hockey League history.

The Knights won 2 of the 3 games these teams met, however the Jets did manage to put 7 past the Knights in their one victory.

"Playoffs in three, make a run for the Stanley Cup in five, and win the Stanley Cup in six", part-owner Foley said back then at the opening of the Knights' new practice facility.

Particularly at the top of the lineup, where the unlikely trio of Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, and William Karlsson has teamed up to obliterate all reasonable projections we may have had based on their individual historical outputs prior to this year. When they meet starting Saturday night in Winnipeg in the Western Conference final, it will be a matchup between a team that missed the playoffs previous year and one that didn't even play.

The Jets are one of the fastest starting teams in the National Hockey League with a plus-25 goal differential in the first period.

Sophomore sniper Patrik Laine was glad he wasn't on his way to Finland.

"I got an opportunity and I was ready", said Vrana, a 22-year-old from the Czech Republic.

Just how far they go will depend largely on the pads of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup victor with Pittsburgh.

Connor Hellebuyck made 36 saves for Winnipeg, which won three of four games in Nashville after missing the Presidents' Trophy by three points to the Predators. During the regular season, Kyle Connor led all Jets scorers against the Golden Knights, with three goals, and one assist while Mark Scheifele had a goal and three assists over that time.

"With every round, you have to elevate your game, your intensity, everything, and we didn't", Cooper said.

"It was maybe a little bit of a shock, but I'm proud of our team, our organization, the way they did things here", he said.

Much of the same can be said for Vegas, which looked nothing like the team that opened its second-round series with a 7-0 shellacking of. Byfuglien's 18 penalty minutes are the most among surviving players ... They have home ice advantage the rest of the way. All the tickets for Saturday were snapped up.

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The under is 7-1 in the last seven Jets home games.

As the Jets looked into bolstering their depth at centre, Brassard was on the Jets' radar and a solid offer was believed to have been made to the Ottawa Senators, but the Golden Knights became the third team in the complicated deal that sent the centre to the Pittsburgh Penguins instead.

Wheeler isn't buying that label.

"Man, they gave us a big boost with their energy and enthusiasm", said Matt Niskanen, a defenseman in his 11th National Hockey League season.

It's an inaugural season no one saw coming, but a Cinderella story that will be forever remembered, regardless of its ending. This season, though, they've been pretty evenly matched, with the Caps going 1-1-1.

The series is expected to highlight speed and not be as physical as Winnipeg's clash with the Predators.

Paul Maurice has been saying it all season long.

I think what we're going to see between these two teams is the heavy, mean game of the Jets against the heart-and-soul play of the Knights.

Vegas has shown Seattle that first-year success is possible, but they have also hurt Seattle's chances for having that same success. "Try to limit them as much as we can".

With nine assists in the Nashville series and 12 in 12 playoff games, Scheifele's linemate and Jets captain Blake Wheeler may be on the verge of becoming the NHL's John Stockton.

"At the end of the day, it's just a hockey game", Hellebuyck said. So to come here, he's taken our team, I think you've seen what he's done.

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