Will Vegas triumph over a bruising and skilled Jets squad? Otherwise, yours truly would have gone 0-4 in the second round.
"The telling stat for me in this series is we played four games in (Nashville) and never lost in regulation (time)".
It's about 1,600 miles away from the Las Vegas Valley, but this weekend all eyes in southern Nevada will be on Winnipeg as the Golden Knights take on the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference Final. I had to wait years for my team to get out of the basement, and here they are, making the playoffs already. Traditionally we think of size and physicality as key tools for defending, whether on the forecheck or around the net. This should be a really good series that features plenty of offence (Ovie vs Stamkos) and some great goaltending (Holtby vs Vasilevskiy). Murren said MGM would likely not have any ownership in an National Basketball Association team if they do come here. To make it sting just a little bit more, Subban would score his fourth power play goal of the series just moments later to cut the lead to 2-1.
Over in the Eastern Conference we have Washington finally getting rid of their nemesis, the Penguins, which entitles them to face Tampa Bay. Despite playing the fewest games, Vegas leads the playoffs with 204 blocked shots and 106 takeaways and has the lowest giveaway total (83).
Seventeen years later, the Golden Knights were treated far more generously.
The airline announced today it's adding two special nonstop flights between Winnipeg and Las Vegas on May 17 and May 20. Their opponent, Winnipeg, has three rookies, but only one has logged regular playing time - left wing Kyle Connor broke out with two goals and an assist in Game 5 of the second round against Nashville, then had two assists in the Jets' 5-1 victory over the Predators in Game 7 on Thursday night. There are multiple examples of teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971 and Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001 winning league titles shortly after their conception. Even Tampa AGM Julien Brisebois was quoted as saying that Tampa couldn't have gotten over the hump without their two newly acquired stars. Smith proceeded to record 60 points in 67 games. But the Jets are firing on all engines and just seem destined for the finals. They have been very strong at the defensive end of the ice, during the postseason, as they come in ranked 1st in goals allowed, giving up 1.70 gpg, while also ranking 13th in shots allowed (34.4 spg) and 2nd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 15.0% of their chances.
Cooper put the through an intense, high-tempo practice Sunday in hopes of setting the tone for a more spirited performance in Game 2, after his team played with less intensity than in any of its first-round games against New Jersey. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is 8-2 in the playoffs with a 1.53 goals-against average and.951 save percentage. Either way, both buildings in the series are expected to have a major impact, so the pressure of holding serve in the home games will be crucial.
"Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury's teammates admire his positive disposition as much as his premier puckstopping abilities". They're a threat on the powerplay, on the rush, and from the blue-line, and on the cycle down low. Hell, they aren't supposed to be in the playoffs - period.
"I just tried to be calm", he said. "We did some good things, but our game was not at a playoff level like the other team that had just played in a Game 7, and that's what we have to bring (Monday night) or it's going to be a long series for us".