NHL Western Conference final preview: Winnipeg Jets vs. Vegas Golden Knights
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 12, 2018,
May 12, 2018, 15:48
Paul Stastny and Mark Scheifele scored twice each as the Winnipeg Jets routed the Nashville Predators 5-1 in Game 7 to book a spot in the NHL Western Conference finals against the Vegas Golden Knights. Stastny and Scheifele would each light the lamp in the final frame to secure the win and a berth in the Western Conference final for the first time in franchise history. Vegas ended up with 109 points in what's been called a fairytale campaign for an expansion team.
"A year in a goalie's life makes such a big difference", Jets coach Paul Maurice said of his 24-year-old goalie. I had to wait years for my team to get out of the basement, and here they are, making the playoffs already.
"I'm sure a lot of people in the organization looked at it as if Moses resurrected a former first-round pick", Kolzig said. We've got such a great group here. And it had to be the right fit.
The series also pits two hot goaltenders against each other in Jets Connor Hellebuyck and veteran Marc-Andre Fleury, who's been in 125 playoffs games compared to Hellebuyck's 12. "They all work hard, cheer each other on, and the guys that play cheer us on, too". "To play well in here as consistently as we did, it's impressive". A quality person, we knew that from our due diligence in the past. "But what he can bring inside the room. you don't really appreciate until you have".
Home-ice advantage also figures to be significant, despite the Jets losing two of three games at MTS Arena to the Predators. 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. That limited protection list means good players will be available for Seattle, but this time around, NHL GMs will have more time to prepare and will likely be a lot more careful with the players they leave unprotected.
"Play with some confidence and some courage". Those numbers are off the charts good, and Fleury will have to play at that pace or close to that if the Cinderella Knights continue playing this post season.
Marc-Andre Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup victor with the Penguins, appears to have raised his game with the expansion Golden Knights.
It may not be a bad thing to start on the road this time around.
Hours after Boston beat Tampa Bay 6-2 to take a 1-0 series lead Saturday, the Sharks handed Vegas its first postseason loss in six games with a 4-3 double-overtime victory. Both Winnipeg and Vegas are among the best home teams in the league, and the first team to steal a game on the road.will likely be the one to win the series.
Tampa Bay and Vegas have shown resiliency after a setback, as the are 19-8 following a loss, while the Golden Knights are 20-10-1.
The Second Round saw them play the only team that finished above them, the Presidents Trophy winning Nashville Predators.
The best expansion team in baseball was the Los Angeles Angels, who went 70-91 in 1961. "It's gonna be a real tough matchup". They then won eight of 10 playoff games by a combined 29-17 margin. "Maybe one technical thing that's changed, but for the most part of it, it was just about getting ready, the mental aspect of it", said Fleury. "Remember the year prior in Florida, the wonderful job he did with that team".
The under is 7-1 in the last seven Jets home games. The difficulty of these buildings will be huge, which may ultimately contribute to the likelihood of a seven-game series.