Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Cinderella run continues: 10 things that define the Golden Knights

Golden Knights' Stanley Cup run unlike anything we've seen 3 goal first period propels Winnipeg Jets past Vegas Golden Knights in conference final opener
Sergio Cook | 12 May, 2018, 21:29

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 past year and one that didn't even play.

Through two rounds, Fleury has pitched a shutout in four of 10 appearances, allowing a mere 1.53 goals per game and recorded a 12.99 GSAA - all of which are league-best among starting netminders in the playoffs. Of the remaining four teams left in the National Hockey League playoffs, there may not be a better candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy then Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

The 14-year veteran said the lack of discipline, and even his own mistakes, are nothing to dwell on if the Golden Knights want to steal back home-ice advantage.

"I feel very much responsible for our season ending at this point", a despondent Rinne told a scrum at his locker stall.

The SWBL has released their schedule and the Virden Oilers see their first action on the road as they go to Elkhorn and Reston on May 23 and 25, respectfully. Backup to the backup goalie Oskar Dansk got hurt, and they just kept winning. Vegas had a long layoff after the first round and beat the Sharks 7-0 in Game 1 of the next series.

In the following series the deployment of Karlsson's line was more evenly spread out at five-on-five, but that's presumably because San Jose's scoring talent was more evenly distributed across its top two lines. Scoring in the win was Jonathan Marchessault, which was his 4th of the postseason, Nate Schmidt, which was his 2nd of the playoffs and Cody Eakin, which was his 3rd. To me, when Tampa is on their game, they are the best team in the National Hockey League.

Fleury has had a tremendous postseason, registering four shutouts, a.951 save percentage and 1.53 goals-against average - all career bests. Hellebuyck has been good in the playoffs but has shown some weaknesses with a respectable 2.25 goals against average. Fleury is 21-5 with a 2.33 GAA and a.917 save percentage in his carer (regular season) against the Jets. Vegas matched up with the Kings in the first round and was a popular pick for an upset, then they swept them with little issue. They are the greatest expansion team in sports history, finishing the regular season with 109 points, while the Jets, after missing the post season a year ago, finished with 114 points.

The Jets sure found that to be true as they won the series against the Preds without ever taking two games in a row.

Winnipeg Jets (C2) vs. Vegas Golden Knights (P1) WINNIPEG, MB - FEBRUARY 1: Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Vegas Golden Knights keeps an eye on the play during first period action against the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell MTS Place on February 1, 2018 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

The and Vegas Golden Knights were favored to win their second-round matchups.

Scheifele scored seven goals in the series - all in Nashville.

And while the enjoyed six days off after eliminating New Jersey in five games, it was Boston that looked sharper after winning an emotional Game 7 at home against Toronto three nights prior.

Winnipeg regained home-ice advantage for the best-of-seven series due to their overall second-place finish with 114 points. Both teams are entering uncharted territory and both have advanced further into the playoffs than anyone would have expected.

The Golden Knights have been a big surprise this year, while the Jets come in having won 19 of their last 24. They just made the best defensive team in hockey look bad. Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler each had two assists.

All signs point to Seattle as getting the next NHL expansion franchise, and given the Knights' success don't be surprised if the rest of the league makes it harder for Seattle to duplicate what the Knights did.

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