entered their final

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entered their final

Postby elaine95 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:48 am

Marc-Andre Fleury has been the foundation for the Vegas Golden Knights‘ run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Yet while he has a 1.68 goals-against average and .947 save percentage Dontae Johnson Jersey , he’ll be the first one in the locker room to credit the defensemen in front of him.

”It’s a team game – win as a team, lose as a team,” said Fleury, who looks to become the 11th goaltender in NHL history to have his name on the Cup at least four times – and the fourth of that group to win with multiple teams.

”These guys are a big part of our success. We’re well balanced, we got some veteran guys, some younger guys, got some offensive guys, some defensive guys playing together. Those guys have been rallying all playoffs, trying to help me out, blocking shots and letting me see the puck, so it’s been a lot of fun.”

The pairings of Nate Schmidt and Brayden McNabb, Shea Theodore and Deryk Engelland, and Colin Miller with Luca Sbisa or Jon Merrill, have helped the Golden Knights become a very tight defensive team during the playoffs, something that will have to carry into Game 1 at T-Mobile Arena Marshawn Lynch Jersey , on Monday against the Washington Capitals.

Schmidt has developed into the team’s top defenseman after struggling to find consistent ice time in Washington last season, when he averaged 15:29 on the ice. The fifth-year pro leads the Golden Knights with an average 22:14 on the ice and brings a familiarity to the Final, having played with Washington’s top scorers Evgeny Kuznetsov (24 points) and Alex Ovechkin (22), who rank first and second, respectively, in overall playoff scoring.

”I know a lot of those guys, I know what they like to do,” said Schmidt, who has six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in the postseason. ”For what I want to do on the ice, it helps me and I think it helps our group as well that we’ve had success against them. But it’s a whole other type of animal this time of year.”

The Golden Knights swept the regular-season series against Washington, winning 3-0 on Dec. 23 in Vegas and 4-3 on Feb. 4 in D.C.

With five more Capitals have double-digit points – Nicklas Backstrom (16), John Carlson (16), T.J. Oshie (15), Lars Eller (13) and Tom Wilson (11) – Vegas will need one last big effort from a defensive group that has helped allow the second-least number of goals among playoff teams that have played 10 games.

Washington coach Barry Trotz said he knows the Golden Knights have three dynamic duos that each feature one offensive guy who can skate and move the puck – that being Miller Dee Ford Jersey , Theodore, and Schmidt – paired with more of a traditional stay-at-home defenseman who isn’t afraid to get physical, block shots and slow the opposing team’s pace – such as Sbisa, Engelland, Merrill and McNabb.

”But they still bring some offense, too,” Trotz said. ”They play 5-5-5 all three zones just as we talk about with the Capitals. Watch the TV, you see five guys in the picture, then you’re doing good.”

Schmidt said using speed against them worked during the regular season, by moving their feet more than Washington did, and helping to develop plays in transition. But again, this is the Stanley Cup Final, and Schmidt said he knows Washington can skate well and will be a challenge.

”I think another thing is just making sure you’re really disciplined against this team,” Schmidt said. ”You’ve got to make sure you stay out of the penalty box, keep Ovechkin off the power play and keep that unit off the power play.”

To Vegas’ credit Mike Williams Jersey , however, it does have the fourth-best penalty kill in the playoffs, stopping 82.5 percent of the power plays it has seen. And, as Sbisa said, that circles back to Fleury and the chemistry that’s been built with the defensive pairings.

”That bond is definitely there,” Sbisa said. ”You don’t have to worry about anything else, play it loose, play to your strengths and that’s what we’ve been doing as a group. The six Ds that are playing that night, they’re tight; we play as a three-man group (with Fleury). Flower’s a guy that doesn’t take too much credit for himself, even though he should, because he’s been that good and it’s obviously nice to hear stuff like that coming out of his mouth. But he definitely deserves all the credit here.

”As a D-man, knowing that you have the best goalie in the world behind you, saving you when something happens, it makes a huge difference because it allows you to play your game. Praise has to go both ways.”

Chris Ilitch is the first to admit that it hasn’t been business as usual for the Detroit Red Wings the past couple of seasons, but he’s confident the man to bring them back to the glory days is the man they currently have in charge.

The Red Wings’ governor announced Saturday the club had agreed to a new two-year contract with general manager Ken Holland.

”Around these parts Blake Martinez Jersey , we’re used to be being in the playoffs, we’re used to competing for Stanley Cups, and believe me, that’s where we all want to be,” Ilitch said. ”That’s a lot of fun. To get back there, it’s a process. We’ve done it before and we’re going to do it again.

”We think Ken is the right guy to lead that for our organization, so we’re thrilled to have him back.”

Detroit’s 25-year run of consecutive postseason appearances came to an end in 2015-16 and the Red Wings have missed the playoffs the past two seasons. They entered their final game of the season on Saturday against the New York Islanders 27th overall in the NHL with a 30-39-12 record.

Still, Ilitch pointed to Holland’s performance as both a scout and the team’s director of scouting as the Red Wings assembled the talent pool that won four Stanley Cups between 1997-2008 as an indication that Holland can mastermind the current rebuild.

”Ken Holland has had the experience of seeing a Detroit Red Wings team in the 1980s build from the ground all the way up to the Stanley Cup champion,” Ilitch said. ”That’s the blueprint for our future and Ken knows that.”

Holland has traded to restructure the team and holds an NHL-high 11 picks in the upcoming entry draft.

”I understand there’s a big challenge ahead here going forward,” Holland said. ”I look forward to the challenge of rebuilding the Detroit Red Wings.”

Holland indicated that he would address the future of coach Jeff Blashill on Tuesday when the Wings have scheduled their locker cleanout day.

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