#1

hurdles to postseason success

in BullyGeister 01.11.2018 04:12
von elaine95 | 412 Beiträge

NASHVILLE Christopher Tanev Jersey , Tenn. (AP) The Winnipeg Jets only got a few hours to celebrate the biggest victory in franchise history.The Jets finished off the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Nashville Predators 5-1 in Game 7 of their second-round series Thursday night, then quickly headed home to prepare for the opener of their first ever Western Conference final Saturday night.”It’s too bad one of us had to be knocked off here,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. ”But night’s like tonight, you try to really soak it in and enjoy it. And then, wake up and get ready for a big game on Saturday.”The Jets will be hosting the upstart Vegas Golden Knights in a conference final nobody predicted.Upstart Winnipeg was swept in its only previous playoff appearance since leaving Atlanta for Canada in 2011. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, are dragging their debut season deep into the NHL calendar.”We know what they bring, we know that they’re good, that they maybe surprised a few teams, but not really,” Jets center Paul Stastny said. ”They had 109 points. In a sense they play like us, they have a lot of depth, and they can roll four lines, and they have good, puck-moving D. So we’re going to have our hands full for sure.”Stastny had one of two Winnipeg goals 2:06 apart in the first period to chase Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne for the third and final time in their series. Stastny finished with two goals and an assist, and Mark Scheifele finished with two goals, giving him a postseason record seven road goals in a single series .Tyler Myers also scored. Wheeler and rookie Kyle Connor each added two assists, and Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who improved to 4-0 coming off a loss this postseason, made 36 saves to outduel Rinne in the showdown between Vezina Trophy finalists.”A year in a goalie’s life makes such a big difference,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said of his 24-year-old goalie. ”In the third period, I think had one bobbled puck that got away from him, but everything else after that he was knocking it to the corner, he was clearing the front. He looked calm.”This was the first Game 7 for the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise, and the Jets dominated the Predators to win in Nashville for the third time in the series. They outskated the Predators and kept the puck on their sticks much of the game Authentic Daniel Sedin Jersey , even as Nashville outshot them 21-7 in the third period.By the time Scheifele scored his record-setting goal into an empty net with 2:33 left, the Jets had left no doubt this was their series.Now they head back to Winnipeg, where the Jets posted the NHL’s best home record in the regular season. They have a good idea how much this next series means as Canada’s last team still standing and even more special for Winnipeg after the town lost its first NHL team to Arizona.Wheeler said they’re thrilled their fans get to have a celebration.”Our fans have been with us filling up our building for seven years and we haven’t always had the most success, but they’ve always been supportive all over the city,” Wheeler said. ”I don’t think I’ve heard a negative comment in seven years. So now, we’re just happy to keep playing for them.”— ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) No team in the ultra-competitive Western Conference has made the playoffs more times in a row than the Minnesota Wild, with six straight appearances to share the current streak lead with the Anaheim Ducks.That regular season consistency has only led, however, to April dissatisfaction. Ousted in five games by Winnipeg in their first-round series, the Wild were sent again to an early exit from the Stanley Cup tournament. They were shut out by the Jets in the last two contests and finished with a scoreless streak of 141:47.”It’s really disappointing. I don’t think that’s indicative of the kind of team that we have. It was just a really tough night,” center Matt Cullen said after the 5-0 loss in Winnipeg on Friday. ”Obviously with our backs against the wall, I think we all expected more and hoped for more, and I think if we could do it all over again every guy would like to give more.”There was no shame in being beaten by the Jets, a deeper, faster team with an exceptional goalie in Connor Hellebuyck that finished with the second-best record in the NHL in 2017-18. For the Wild, though, there’s an overarching theme of staying stuck at a good-but-not-great level since the franchise-altering signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter helped start this remarkable-but-unfulfilling run of making the playoffs every year with the two stars on the roster.”We want more. We expect more from ourselves. We let another one slip away,” right wing Charlie Coyle said.Here are some key angles to the end of the Wild’s season:LOOKING BACKThe Wild are 2-6 in series and 15-29 in games in the postseason during the Parise-Suter era that began on July 4, 2012. The 17-year-old franchise’s only advancement past the second round remains the 2003 surge to the Western Conference finals, where the Wild were swept by the Ducks.The postseason trouble encountered by the Wild used to be in the form of the Chicago Blackhawks, who eliminated them in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in the first and third of those years. They lost in the first round in 2016 and 2017, though, and failed to make the playoffs this spring for the first time in 10 years. So Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are no longer the problem.Now Nashville and Winnipeg have taken the lead in the daunting Central Division Womens Derek Dorsett Jersey , with the Predators taking the Presidents’ Trophy with the league’s best record one season after reaching the Stanley Cup finals. Six of the seven teams made the playoffs either last year or this year.”We certainly believed that we could give these guys a real run for it even though nobody seemed to be giving us a chance,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said. ”We’re one play away each game. I know that’s easy to say, but it’s really how close it was besides tonight.”BANGED UPThis year, in fairness, one of the hurdles to postseason success became the rare absence of Suter, who has long been one of the NHL’s most durable players as a puck-moving, tough-minded defenseman. His broken ankle diluted the blue line in the final week of the regular season.Then Parise, whose late-season surge signaled he was all the way back from the back injury and surgery that kept him out for the first 39 games, was knocked out of action with a broken sternum suffered in Game 3 against the Jets.”Every team has injuries, right?” captain Mikko Koivu said, adding: ”For sure that hurts, there’s no question about that. But we can’t go behind that.”CULLEN MULLINGMatt Cullen, after winning the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017, put off retirement for another year and returned to his home-state team with 11 goals, 11 assists and valuable leadership at age 41. He wasn’t ready to address his future after Game 5.”My only thought here the last while was getting it back home for Game 6,” Cullen said. ”So to be honest I don’t have an answer right now.”QUIET COYLENot every forward will be productive in a playoff series, of course, but the Wild were hurting without any goals or assists by three of their top-nine forwards: Coyle, Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker. Coyle, who had only 11 goals during the regular season, was especially ineffective against the Jets.”Had plenty of chances to finish. I didn’t finish. Or the goalie came up big,” Coyle said. ”Whatever it is I didn’t get the job done. That hurts.”—

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