Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Previewing the 2018 Conference Finals

Jets land in NHL West finals Winnipeg Jets Advance, Scheifele Sets NHL Record
Chelsea Rogers | 12 May, 2018, 21:32

The incredible Cinderella story of the Vegas Golden Knights continues to add additional chapters to their magical story and none of their players seem to shy away from the approaching "midnight" hour.

Opening the season with the lowest odds of any team, at 500-1 according to the Westgate SuperBook, the NHL's 31st franchise has blown all expectations out of the water.

They were glued to the bar television watching the 5-1 Game 7 victory over the Nashville Predators and they're all going to be at Bell MTS Place when the Jets open their Western Conference final against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night. While the Golden Knights have been a great story, there has been plenty of grumbling from the stepsisters left behind by Cinderella. They're naive and just play and have a lot of fun and it doesn't bother 'em. "The two teams we played were very good hockey teams and we were very evenly matched with those teams". Heck, the Golden Knights were not even in the league last season - but what a story. Expect the unexpected. In this case, that's a team that many figured wouldn't make the playoffs facing off against an expansion team for a chance to dance in the Stanley Cup final. Steven Stamkos of Markham, Ontario leads the Lightning with seven playoff assists. I had the Jets and Capitals winning, so thanks to those two, but also had the Bruins and the Sharks.

It's hard to predict a Stanley Cup Champion this season because any one of these four teams could win it all. Those marks placed him at second and sixth in those respective categories in the National Hockey League.

Now the Golden Knights have made the Western Conference Finals and are just eight wins away from earning the Stanley Cup in their first year of existence. Only the Lightning scored more goals than the Jets during the regular season; in the playoffs, no one has lit the lamp at a higher clip than Winnipeg. Tyler Myers, acquired in the Evander Kane deal in 2015, scored the all-important first goal of the game, and Mark Scheifele, the Jets first-ever draft pick, seventh overall in 2011, scored a pair of goals in the win and finished the series with 11 points (7G, 4A). What stands out most about their run is defence. Deryk Engelland leads with nine blocked shots in 45 minutes of penalty-kill time. Their blueprint is quite the recipe for success.

Golden Knights Head coach Gerard Gallant will also be in attendance along with players Deryk Engelland, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jonathan Marchessault and James Neal.

Winnipeg regained home-ice advantage for the best-of-seven series due to their overall second-place finish with 114 points.

Teen Missing After Possible Gator Attack: 'It Bit me, It Bit me'
Authorities say a 6-foot alligator was found during a search of the pond — too small to inflict serious damage on a human. Florida Fish and Wildlife officials said it is not yet clear if an alligator was involved in the boy's disappearance.

6 - T-Mobile Arena has quickly turned into one of hockey's most-feared rinks.

So which team does Kelly believe wins Game 1? They are the greatest expansion team in sports history, finishing the regular season with 109 points, while the Jets, after missing the post season past year, finished with 114 points.

But for Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice, something else lingers ahead of two opponents preparing to decide which will move on and which will head home.

That's not to mention the bounty of draft picks the Golden Knights extracted from the rest of the National Hockey League, including three first round picks in 2017, that should make them a contender for years to come. She says many in Vegas don't know where Winnipeg is.

Just how long they can keep this up, and how much further this dynamic top line can ultimately take the Golden Knights remains to be seen. Are the third National Hockey League team to win two rounds of the playoffs in their inaugural season, joining the 1917-18 Toronto Arenas and 1967-68 St. Louis Blues ...

Sometimes real life even gets in the way of Game 7 of a compelling Stanley Cup playoff series. Now, he and the team are laughing at all of us.

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