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Winnipeg Jets lose their cool as Anaheim Ducks smash and crash their way to Game 1 win

Array ( [post_title] => Winnipeg Jets lose their cool as Anaheim Ducks smash and crash their way to Game 1 win [post_content] =>

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Toby Enstrom, the Winnipeg Jets defenceman, touched the puck briefly in his own end, then Matt Beleskey of the Anaheim Ducks sent him crashing to the ice. Momentum carried the puck forward, and Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele touched it briefly himself, before being levelled by a hip check from Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin.

It was just 10 seconds of play with a few minutes left in the second period, but it was all anyone needed to see of Game 1 of this playoff series to get a sense of how things are likely to unfold. It was hockey as controlled violence.

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau was matter-of-fact about all the smashing and crashing that took place on the way to a 4-2 Anaheim win in the series opener: “That’s what happens when two big teams meet,” he said. They go boom.

“You play seven games like that, you’re going to get some people not liking each other,” Boudreau said. There seemed to be plenty of evidence of dislike already.

Some of that ill-temper, unfortunately for the Jets, playing the first playoff game for a Winnipeg NHL team in almost two decades, proved to be their undoing. With a 2-1 lead late in the second period on goals by Adam Lowry and Drew Stafford, and having not taken a penalty to that point, the Jets’ Mark Scheifele was goaded into taking a shot to the face of Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler who, to be fair, is often quite deserving of a shot in the face. But after the power play rolled over into the third period, the Ducks quickly set up in the Jets’ end, and with the puck bouncing around in front of the Winnipeg net, Corey Perry deftly corralled it and pulled it to his forehand before snapping it past Ondrej Pavelec. It was the first power-play goal for the Ducks since the last week of March. (Earlier on Thursday, captain Ryan Getzlaf had been asked what he wanted to see from the power play: “Pucks going in the net,” he said, smiling. So, check.)

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Jets coach Paul Maurice, while not exactly complaining about the penalty call against Scheifele in his post-game comments, did note that there had seemed to be “five or six” similar shots to the mug in the course of the game that went unwhistled. “I think we were maybe lulled into a false sense of security by what hadn’t been called up to that point,” he said.

But, no matter. The Ducks had tied the game in the third, which is what the Ducks do. They set an NHL record with 18 wins in games in which they trailed at some point in the third period. They are now 1-for-1 in such games in the playoffs. Twelve minutes after the tying goal, Perry raced toward the Winnipeg net, and after Pavelec made an initial pad save, Perry poked at the puck as he raced by the goal mouth. The puck hit Pavelec again, but his pad was in the net. Perry raised his hands in celebration, but he was the only one on the ice who realized he had scored. Play continued for a full minute, with the Jets even drawing a penalty, before a whistle came and an eventual video review that granted the Ducks the goal, and the lead.

“I was pretty sure it was in,” Perry said. “But you never know until they announce it.”

Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty ImagesSami Vatanen #45 of the Anaheim Ducks reacts to his goal with Emerson Etem #16 to take a 1-0 lead over the Winnipeg Jets during the first period in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 16, 2015 in Anaheim, California.

A late power-play goal, this time from Getzlaf, made the final score 4-2.

“That was the first time we had two power-play goals in a game in God knows how long,” Boudreau said. The answer is not since Jan. 11, or a little over three months.

Afterward, the Jets were focusing on the positives. “We’ve got to have that same attack mindset (in the third) that we had in the first two periods,” said defenceman Tyler Myers.

“It’s not a one-game series,” said Stafford. “We hope to make it as hard on them as possible.” The forward who came over to the Jets in the Evander Kane trade said that his team played with the right kind of edge, but that they need to watch the stuff that takes place after the whistles.

AP Photo/Chris Carlson
AP Photo/Chris CarlsonWinnipeg Jets left wing Adam Lowry, middle, celebrates his goal as Anaheim Ducks right wing Tim Jackman, left, and center Rickard Rakell skate by during the first period of Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, April 16, 2015.

“You want to make sure you’re frustrating them during the play,” he said.

Maurice insisted that on the whole he was pleased with the start, if not the result. He brooked no suggestion that effort was lacking, or that the team was too inexperienced to see through a full 60 minutes of play. His players said they knew this would be a tough series, and nothing happened on Thursday to suggest otherwise. “In some ways, it’s less devastating than some of those losses we had weeks ago,” Maurice said, referring to the lowlights of the chase for the playoffs. At least now, they know exactly how more chances they will get to keep their season alive. They are down to three outs, to be exact.

“We didn’t expect to go 16-0, or 4-0,” the coach said.

No, but they are at 0-1. And have some work to do.

 

[post_excerpt] => Scott Stinson: It was just 10 seconds of play, but it was all anyone needed to get a sense of how things are likely to unfold [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-17 17:15:07 [post_date] => 2015-04-17 11:15:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-04-17 17:15:07 [post_modified] => 2015-04-17 11:15:07 [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [guid] => http://news.nationalpost.com/?p=743939 [meta] => Array ( [enclosure] => Array ( [0] => http://wpmedia.news.nationalpost.com/2015/04/jets_ducks_hockey-1.jpg?w=140 [1] => https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/469999484.jpg?w=620 [2] => https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/jets_ducks_hockey-2.jpg?w=620 [3] => http://wpmedia.news.nationalpost.com/2015/04/jets_ducks_hockey-1.jpg?w=620 image/jpeg ) [syndication_source] => National Post » Winnipeg Jets [syndication_source_uri] => http://news.nationalpost.com [syndication_source_id] => http://sports.nationalpost.com/tag/winnipeg-jets/feed/ 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Decide filter: Returning post, everything seems orderly :Winnipeg Jets lose their cool as Anaheim Ducks smash and crash their way to Game 1 win

Array ( [post_title] => Winnipeg Jets lose their cool as Anaheim Ducks smash and crash their way to Game 1 win [post_content] =>

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Toby Enstrom, the Winnipeg Jets defenceman, touched the puck briefly in his own end, then Matt Beleskey of the Anaheim Ducks sent him crashing to the ice. Momentum carried the puck forward, and Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele touched it briefly himself, before being levelled by a hip check from Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin.

It was just 10 seconds of play with a few minutes left in the second period, but it was all anyone needed to see of Game 1 of this playoff series to get a sense of how things are likely to unfold. It was hockey as controlled violence.

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau was matter-of-fact about all the smashing and crashing that took place on the way to a 4-2 Anaheim win in the series opener: “That’s what happens when two big teams meet,” he said. They go boom.

“You play seven games like that, you’re going to get some people not liking each other,” Boudreau said. There seemed to be plenty of evidence of dislike already.

Some of that ill-temper, unfortunately for the Jets, playing the first playoff game for a Winnipeg NHL team in almost two decades, proved to be their undoing. With a 2-1 lead late in the second period on goals by Adam Lowry and Drew Stafford, and having not taken a penalty to that point, the Jets’ Mark Scheifele was goaded into taking a shot to the face of Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler who, to be fair, is often quite deserving of a shot in the face. But after the power play rolled over into the third period, the Ducks quickly set up in the Jets’ end, and with the puck bouncing around in front of the Winnipeg net, Corey Perry deftly corralled it and pulled it to his forehand before snapping it past Ondrej Pavelec. It was the first power-play goal for the Ducks since the last week of March. (Earlier on Thursday, captain Ryan Getzlaf had been asked what he wanted to see from the power play: “Pucks going in the net,” he said, smiling. So, check.)

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Jets coach Paul Maurice, while not exactly complaining about the penalty call against Scheifele in his post-game comments, did note that there had seemed to be “five or six” similar shots to the mug in the course of the game that went unwhistled. “I think we were maybe lulled into a false sense of security by what hadn’t been called up to that point,” he said.

But, no matter. The Ducks had tied the game in the third, which is what the Ducks do. They set an NHL record with 18 wins in games in which they trailed at some point in the third period. They are now 1-for-1 in such games in the playoffs. Twelve minutes after the tying goal, Perry raced toward the Winnipeg net, and after Pavelec made an initial pad save, Perry poked at the puck as he raced by the goal mouth. The puck hit Pavelec again, but his pad was in the net. Perry raised his hands in celebration, but he was the only one on the ice who realized he had scored. Play continued for a full minute, with the Jets even drawing a penalty, before a whistle came and an eventual video review that granted the Ducks the goal, and the lead.

“I was pretty sure it was in,” Perry said. “But you never know until they announce it.”

Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty ImagesSami Vatanen #45 of the Anaheim Ducks reacts to his goal with Emerson Etem #16 to take a 1-0 lead over the Winnipeg Jets during the first period in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 16, 2015 in Anaheim, California.

A late power-play goal, this time from Getzlaf, made the final score 4-2.

“That was the first time we had two power-play goals in a game in God knows how long,” Boudreau said. The answer is not since Jan. 11, or a little over three months.

Afterward, the Jets were focusing on the positives. “We’ve got to have that same attack mindset (in the third) that we had in the first two periods,” said defenceman Tyler Myers.

“It’s not a one-game series,” said Stafford. “We hope to make it as hard on them as possible.” The forward who came over to the Jets in the Evander Kane trade said that his team played with the right kind of edge, but that they need to watch the stuff that takes place after the whistles.

AP Photo/Chris Carlson
AP Photo/Chris CarlsonWinnipeg Jets left wing Adam Lowry, middle, celebrates his goal as Anaheim Ducks right wing Tim Jackman, left, and center Rickard Rakell skate by during the first period of Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, April 16, 2015.

“You want to make sure you’re frustrating them during the play,” he said.

Maurice insisted that on the whole he was pleased with the start, if not the result. He brooked no suggestion that effort was lacking, or that the team was too inexperienced to see through a full 60 minutes of play. His players said they knew this would be a tough series, and nothing happened on Thursday to suggest otherwise. “In some ways, it’s less devastating than some of those losses we had weeks ago,” Maurice said, referring to the lowlights of the chase for the playoffs. At least now, they know exactly how more chances they will get to keep their season alive. They are down to three outs, to be exact.

“We didn’t expect to go 16-0, or 4-0,” the coach said.

No, but they are at 0-1. And have some work to do.

 

[post_excerpt] => Scott Stinson: It was just 10 seconds of play, but it was all anyone needed to get a sense of how things are likely to unfold [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-17 17:15:07 [post_date] => 2015-04-17 11:15:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-04-17 17:15:07 [post_modified] => 2015-04-17 11:15:07 [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [guid] => http://news.nationalpost.com/?p=743939 [meta] => Array ( [enclosure] => Array ( [0] => http://wpmedia.news.nationalpost.com/2015/04/jets_ducks_hockey-1.jpg?w=140 [1] => https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/469999484.jpg?w=620 [2] => https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/jets_ducks_hockey-2.jpg?w=620 [3] => http://wpmedia.news.nationalpost.com/2015/04/jets_ducks_hockey-1.jpg?w=620 image/jpeg ) [syndication_source] => National Post » Winnipeg Jets [syndication_source_uri] => http://news.nationalpost.com [syndication_source_id] => http://sports.nationalpost.com/tag/winnipeg-jets/feed/ 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FAF deciding on filters on post to be syndicated:

Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks have no idea what to expect as series gets underway

Array ( [post_title] => Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks have no idea what to expect as series gets underway [post_content] =>

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Five days after the playoff matchups were set, the opinions about what to expect from Winnipeg-Anaheim have crystallized into one solid consensus: no one knows anything.

Do the Ducks have an advantage because of their playoff experience? Or do they have a disadvantage because their recent playoff disappointments weigh on them? Are the Jets blessed to be new to the post-season picture, where what they don’t know won’t hurt them? Or are they just pretending to be underdogs because they like the role? Both dressing rooms include players who provided differing answers to all of the above.

But, more than that, these teams don’t even know that much about each other. The last time they played, before Thursday night’s opener at the Honda Center in Anaheim, was half a season ago. Winnipeg has added five players to the roster since then, some of them as injury replacements. The team is relatively healthy now, so this group is not just untested against Anaheim, not just untested in the playoffs, but untested, period.

“We’ve kind of gone a long time with 26 guys in our room and we’ve only played 20 of them, so we don’t know what we’re like,” said Paul Maurice, head coach of the Jets.

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Maurice noted that the new additions since mid-season “came at a time of need.” Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford arrived from Buffalo after Evander Kane was lost to injury (and appeared to lose the support of his teammates). Lee Stempniak and Jiri Tlusty were acquired after Mathieu Perreault was hurt. Maurice said the new bodies filled a critical role, and the team wouldn’t have made the playoffs without them. Now, health has created an unexpected luxury, at least as far as team health will last in the playoffs, which often is not long.

“We are still in some ways learning who we are,” Maurice said. “Not so much in terms of the identity, but how good we can be.”

“I think they are a way more complete team,” said Bruce Boudreau, head coach of the Ducks.

But on the matter of whether all that is new for the Jets — the roster, the playoffs — is a good thing, opinion is decidedly mixed.

Ryan Getzlaf, the Ducks’ captain, wouldn’t concede that Winnipeg’s playoff inexperience made them any more dangerous. “Dangerous is a loaded word,” he said, with a smile. “But, yeah, sometimes, when you don’t know, you don’t know any better. You just go out and play.”

Anaheim, obviously, knows about the playoffs, and particularly about early exits. Two division titles in the last two years that resulted in a first-round ross and a second-round defeat. Now a third division title, and hope that they can break the pattern.

“It’s no secret the track record we have,” said defenceman Cam Fowler. But the only way to turn it around, the Ducks say quite reasonably, is to turn it around.
Maurice said he didn’t think that the pressure on Anaheim would hinder them in a noticeable way.

Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty ImagesRyan Getzlaf, the Ducks’ captain, wouldn’t concede that Winnipeg’s playoff inexperience made them any more dangerous. “Dangerous is a loaded word,” he said, with a smile. “But, yeah, sometimes, when you don’t know, you don’t know any better. You just go out and play.”

“If you are carrying that kind of pressure, you’re a very good team,” the Jets coach said. “If they are circling your name at the start of the year as a Stanley Cup contender, and they were, rightfully so, with Anaheim, then you handled [the pressure.]”

Maurice also had an opinion on the value of experience in the post-season that bordered on Zen: “If you’ve got a lot of playoff experience, you’re probably a pretty darn good team. So, the value isn’t necessarily the experience, it’s being good enough to get it.” The journey is the destination, or something.

The best news about the start of the series on Thursday is that it will finally provide an answer to the question of which team is the underdog: whoever loses. Otherwise, there is little consensus on the question.

“Well, the standings are a fact,” said Maurice. “They finished first, we finished eighth. But the puck’s gonna drop and I don’t think any of the guys are going to have a media guide handy.”

Boudreau laughed at the suggestion that the Jets would consider themselves underdogs. Is such talk gamesmanship? “What do you think?” the coach asked rhetorically. “Of course it’s gamesmanship.”

Alex Gallardo/The Canadian Press
Alex Gallardo/The Canadian PressThe last time the Jets and Ducks played, before Thursday night’s opener at the Honda Center in Anaheim, was half a season ago. Winnipeg has added five players to the roster since then, some of them as injury replacements.

Fowler, the young Anaheim defenceman from Michigan, said there was little difference between the teams.

“It’s easy to say it’s one versus eight, but if you play anyone in the Western Conference, it’s going to be a dogfight,” he said.

Getzlaf, the hulking centre, will have the last word on the subject. How important is it that the Ducks finished first?

“Well, I’d say it’s very important,” he said, grinning again.

“No,” he added, after a beat. These are two good teams, with big — very big — lineups that will crash into each other like a series of car accidents for between four and seven games.

“There is no underdog,” Getzlaf said.

Until someone is leading the series, that is.

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winnipeg-jets-anaheim-ducks-have-no-idea-what-to-expect-as-series-gets-underway )

Decide filter: Returning post, everything seems orderly :Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks have no idea what to expect as series gets underway

Array ( [post_title] => Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks have no idea what to expect as series gets underway [post_content] =>

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Five days after the playoff matchups were set, the opinions about what to expect from Winnipeg-Anaheim have crystallized into one solid consensus: no one knows anything.

Do the Ducks have an advantage because of their playoff experience? Or do they have a disadvantage because their recent playoff disappointments weigh on them? Are the Jets blessed to be new to the post-season picture, where what they don’t know won’t hurt them? Or are they just pretending to be underdogs because they like the role? Both dressing rooms include players who provided differing answers to all of the above.

But, more than that, these teams don’t even know that much about each other. The last time they played, before Thursday night’s opener at the Honda Center in Anaheim, was half a season ago. Winnipeg has added five players to the roster since then, some of them as injury replacements. The team is relatively healthy now, so this group is not just untested against Anaheim, not just untested in the playoffs, but untested, period.

“We’ve kind of gone a long time with 26 guys in our room and we’ve only played 20 of them, so we don’t know what we’re like,” said Paul Maurice, head coach of the Jets.

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Maurice noted that the new additions since mid-season “came at a time of need.” Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford arrived from Buffalo after Evander Kane was lost to injury (and appeared to lose the support of his teammates). Lee Stempniak and Jiri Tlusty were acquired after Mathieu Perreault was hurt. Maurice said the new bodies filled a critical role, and the team wouldn’t have made the playoffs without them. Now, health has created an unexpected luxury, at least as far as team health will last in the playoffs, which often is not long.

“We are still in some ways learning who we are,” Maurice said. “Not so much in terms of the identity, but how good we can be.”

“I think they are a way more complete team,” said Bruce Boudreau, head coach of the Ducks.

But on the matter of whether all that is new for the Jets — the roster, the playoffs — is a good thing, opinion is decidedly mixed.

Ryan Getzlaf, the Ducks’ captain, wouldn’t concede that Winnipeg’s playoff inexperience made them any more dangerous. “Dangerous is a loaded word,” he said, with a smile. “But, yeah, sometimes, when you don’t know, you don’t know any better. You just go out and play.”

Anaheim, obviously, knows about the playoffs, and particularly about early exits. Two division titles in the last two years that resulted in a first-round ross and a second-round defeat. Now a third division title, and hope that they can break the pattern.

“It’s no secret the track record we have,” said defenceman Cam Fowler. But the only way to turn it around, the Ducks say quite reasonably, is to turn it around.
Maurice said he didn’t think that the pressure on Anaheim would hinder them in a noticeable way.

Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty ImagesRyan Getzlaf, the Ducks’ captain, wouldn’t concede that Winnipeg’s playoff inexperience made them any more dangerous. “Dangerous is a loaded word,” he said, with a smile. “But, yeah, sometimes, when you don’t know, you don’t know any better. You just go out and play.”

“If you are carrying that kind of pressure, you’re a very good team,” the Jets coach said. “If they are circling your name at the start of the year as a Stanley Cup contender, and they were, rightfully so, with Anaheim, then you handled [the pressure.]”

Maurice also had an opinion on the value of experience in the post-season that bordered on Zen: “If you’ve got a lot of playoff experience, you’re probably a pretty darn good team. So, the value isn’t necessarily the experience, it’s being good enough to get it.” The journey is the destination, or something.

The best news about the start of the series on Thursday is that it will finally provide an answer to the question of which team is the underdog: whoever loses. Otherwise, there is little consensus on the question.

“Well, the standings are a fact,” said Maurice. “They finished first, we finished eighth. But the puck’s gonna drop and I don’t think any of the guys are going to have a media guide handy.”

Boudreau laughed at the suggestion that the Jets would consider themselves underdogs. Is such talk gamesmanship? “What do you think?” the coach asked rhetorically. “Of course it’s gamesmanship.”

Alex Gallardo/The Canadian Press
Alex Gallardo/The Canadian PressThe last time the Jets and Ducks played, before Thursday night’s opener at the Honda Center in Anaheim, was half a season ago. Winnipeg has added five players to the roster since then, some of them as injury replacements.

Fowler, the young Anaheim defenceman from Michigan, said there was little difference between the teams.

“It’s easy to say it’s one versus eight, but if you play anyone in the Western Conference, it’s going to be a dogfight,” he said.

Getzlaf, the hulking centre, will have the last word on the subject. How important is it that the Ducks finished first?

“Well, I’d say it’s very important,” he said, grinning again.

“No,” he added, after a beat. These are two good teams, with big — very big — lineups that will crash into each other like a series of car accidents for between four and seven games.

“There is no underdog,” Getzlaf said.

Until someone is leading the series, that is.

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FAF deciding on filters on post to be syndicated:

Winnipeg Jets counting on a confident Ondrej Pavelec in NHL playoffs

Array ( [post_title] => Winnipeg Jets counting on a confident Ondrej Pavelec in NHL playoffs [post_content] =>

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ondrej Pavelec came into a game in St. Louis in early March with his Winnipeg Jets already behind 4-1. He stopped everything, and his teammates rallied with three third-period goals to tie it.

Then, with one minute left, Blues defenceman Barret Jackman flipped the puck toward the net from almost the red line. Pavelec reached out with his glove hand, and whiffed. As the Blues celebrated the winning goal, Pavelec’s teammates could be seen watching the scoreboard for a replay: How did that happen?

“It was a test,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said on Wednesday of the crushing mistake from Pavelec, coming as it did with Winnipeg fighting for a playoff spot. “It was a new situation (for him), and clearly we have to be impressed with the way he handled that.”

Yes, he handled it OK. The 27-year-old Czech posted an absurd .955 save percentage in the months of March and April, along with 9-2-1 record as a starter, and in the final week of the season he was unbeatable. That’s not literary licence: Pavelec posted three straight shutouts as the Jets secured the Western Conference’s final wild-card playoff spot, leading to Thursday’s opening game in southern California against the Anaheim Ducks.

Pavelec was already the franchise leader in wins (and losses), but after eight seasons between Atlanta and Winnipeg, it has really taken until this last stretch for him to become, unequivocally, the guy.

Maurice says some of the criticism he has endured was not entirely warranted.

“The mood swings about him are far greater than the swings in the quality of his game,” the coach said. His statistics might move, Maurice said, but it’s not like the team played the same way in front of him every night.

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“He’s been a far more consistent performer in my mind than he’s been given credit for,” he said. “But hopefully, that (St. Louis goal) was a defining event, because that was tough to take … To have that happen, that hurts him personally, because he cares about those guys. But he repaid them in full and then some.”

And so, Pavelec is the starter on a playoff team, finally. How does that feel?

“I don’t know yet,” he says, in front of his locker. “I’ll tell you tomorrow.” He is smiling as he says it, and explains that he is excited, but nervous. Good nervous. “If any goalie tells you they don’t get nervous,” he says, “I don’t believe them.”

Pavelec, though, also disputes the notion that there has been a remarkable change in his game in recent weeks. This might be because a starting goalie in the NHL needs confidence like the rest of us need water and air; you simply can’t survive by lingering on a bad stretch of games. When Pavelec is asked if, right now, he is playing the best hockey of his life, the question is put up on a tee for him to smash: Yes, this is the best I have played.

 THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
THE CANADIAN PRESS/John WoodsThe 27-year-old Czech posted an absurd .955 save percentage in the months of March and April, along with 9-2-1 record as a starter.

Instead, his answer, which is hard to transcribe: “Meeeeeeeeh. I feel good. It’s hard to say.” The numbers suggest otherwise. Pavelec finished this season with a .920 save percentage, the best of his career, which is all the more surprising because it was a pedestrian .908 through February, which is why he had essentially lost the starter’s job to Michael Hutchinson for a good portion of the season. But Pavelec is playing some excellent hockey now, even if he doesn’t know it.

Over in the Anaheim goal, Frederik Andersen is also talking only about the good times. He says he has had a good year, despite injuries, and feels ready for the playoffs.

“You want to say it’s just another game, but it is a little bit different,” the 25-year-old Dane said. “Everyone’s a little more into it, everyone knows what’s at stake.”

What’s at stake, for him, could be the hook, as was the case last year when the Ducks won the conference in the regular season, but switched between Andersen, John Gibson, and Jonas Hiller in a playoff run than ended in the second round.

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
AP Photo/Ross D. FranklinIn the Anaheim goal, Frederik Andersen is also talking only about the good times. He says he has had a good year, despite injuries, and feels ready for the playoffs.

But Andersen said on Wednesday that experience was nothing but good for him. He knows what the playoffs are like — “everybody’s amped up” — and he can draw on that, he said.

His coach, Bruce Boudreau, similarly blew off the notion that his goalie situation between Andersen and Gibson might be a little unsettled.

“I’m pretty sure, after two years, I know what I’m going to get from our guy,” Boudreau said, “and I’m sure Paul is pretty confident in Pavelec and what they are going to get from him. So I don’t think either coach is worried about their goalie.”

Not that they would admit, anyway. Nor would either coach like to acknowledge how much of playoff success comes down to just that one guy. In this season, across the NHL, the save percentage of the winning goalie: .941. In games lost: .877.

This is why confidence, for the one position in hockey that is quickest to draw blame, is almost certainly the right way to go. You can’t play goalie scared.

“You have to enjoy it,” Pavelec says. “I can’t wait.”

[post_excerpt] => Scott Stinson: An NHL goalie needs confidence like the rest of us need water and air [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-16 15:57:38 [post_date] => 2015-04-16 09:57:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-04-16 15:57:38 [post_modified] => 2015-04-16 09:57:38 [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [guid] => http://news.nationalpost.com/?p=742537 [meta] => Array ( [enclosure] => Array ( [0] => http://wpmedia.news.nationalpost.com/2015/04/469116920-1.jpg?w=140 [1] => https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/hkn_canucks_jets_20150404-1.jpg?w=620 [2] => https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/ducks_coyotes_hockey.jpg?w=620 [3] => http://wpmedia.news.nationalpost.com/2015/04/469116920-1.jpg?w=620 image/jpeg ) [syndication_source] => National Post » Winnipeg Jets [syndication_source_uri] => http://news.nationalpost.com [syndication_source_id] => http://sports.nationalpost.com/tag/winnipeg-jets/feed/ [rss:comments] => 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Decide filter: Returning post, everything seems orderly :Winnipeg Jets counting on a confident Ondrej Pavelec in NHL playoffs

Array ( [post_title] => Winnipeg Jets counting on a confident Ondrej Pavelec in NHL playoffs [post_content] =>

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ondrej Pavelec came into a game in St. Louis in early March with his Winnipeg Jets already behind 4-1. He stopped everything, and his teammates rallied with three third-period goals to tie it.

Then, with one minute left, Blues defenceman Barret Jackman flipped the puck toward the net from almost the red line. Pavelec reached out with his glove hand, and whiffed. As the Blues celebrated the winning goal, Pavelec’s teammates could be seen watching the scoreboard for a replay: How did that happen?

“It was a test,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said on Wednesday of the crushing mistake from Pavelec, coming as it did with Winnipeg fighting for a playoff spot. “It was a new situation (for him), and clearly we have to be impressed with the way he handled that.”

Yes, he handled it OK. The 27-year-old Czech posted an absurd .955 save percentage in the months of March and April, along with 9-2-1 record as a starter, and in the final week of the season he was unbeatable. That’s not literary licence: Pavelec posted three straight shutouts as the Jets secured the Western Conference’s final wild-card playoff spot, leading to Thursday’s opening game in southern California against the Anaheim Ducks.

Pavelec was already the franchise leader in wins (and losses), but after eight seasons between Atlanta and Winnipeg, it has really taken until this last stretch for him to become, unequivocally, the guy.

Maurice says some of the criticism he has endured was not entirely warranted.

“The mood swings about him are far greater than the swings in the quality of his game,” the coach said. His statistics might move, Maurice said, but it’s not like the team played the same way in front of him every night.

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“He’s been a far more consistent performer in my mind than he’s been given credit for,” he said. “But hopefully, that (St. Louis goal) was a defining event, because that was tough to take … To have that happen, that hurts him personally, because he cares about those guys. But he repaid them in full and then some.”

And so, Pavelec is the starter on a playoff team, finally. How does that feel?

“I don’t know yet,” he says, in front of his locker. “I’ll tell you tomorrow.” He is smiling as he says it, and explains that he is excited, but nervous. Good nervous. “If any goalie tells you they don’t get nervous,” he says, “I don’t believe them.”

Pavelec, though, also disputes the notion that there has been a remarkable change in his game in recent weeks. This might be because a starting goalie in the NHL needs confidence like the rest of us need water and air; you simply can’t survive by lingering on a bad stretch of games. When Pavelec is asked if, right now, he is playing the best hockey of his life, the question is put up on a tee for him to smash: Yes, this is the best I have played.

 THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
THE CANADIAN PRESS/John WoodsThe 27-year-old Czech posted an absurd .955 save percentage in the months of March and April, along with 9-2-1 record as a starter.

Instead, his answer, which is hard to transcribe: “Meeeeeeeeh. I feel good. It’s hard to say.” The numbers suggest otherwise. Pavelec finished this season with a .920 save percentage, the best of his career, which is all the more surprising because it was a pedestrian .908 through February, which is why he had essentially lost the starter’s job to Michael Hutchinson for a good portion of the season. But Pavelec is playing some excellent hockey now, even if he doesn’t know it.

Over in the Anaheim goal, Frederik Andersen is also talking only about the good times. He says he has had a good year, despite injuries, and feels ready for the playoffs.

“You want to say it’s just another game, but it is a little bit different,” the 25-year-old Dane said. “Everyone’s a little more into it, everyone knows what’s at stake.”

What’s at stake, for him, could be the hook, as was the case last year when the Ducks won the conference in the regular season, but switched between Andersen, John Gibson, and Jonas Hiller in a playoff run than ended in the second round.

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
AP Photo/Ross D. FranklinIn the Anaheim goal, Frederik Andersen is also talking only about the good times. He says he has had a good year, despite injuries, and feels ready for the playoffs.

But Andersen said on Wednesday that experience was nothing but good for him. He knows what the playoffs are like — “everybody’s amped up” — and he can draw on that, he said.

His coach, Bruce Boudreau, similarly blew off the notion that his goalie situation between Andersen and Gibson might be a little unsettled.

“I’m pretty sure, after two years, I know what I’m going to get from our guy,” Boudreau said, “and I’m sure Paul is pretty confident in Pavelec and what they are going to get from him. So I don’t think either coach is worried about their goalie.”

Not that they would admit, anyway. Nor would either coach like to acknowledge how much of playoff success comes down to just that one guy. In this season, across the NHL, the save percentage of the winning goalie: .941. In games lost: .877.

This is why confidence, for the one position in hockey that is quickest to draw blame, is almost certainly the right way to go. You can’t play goalie scared.

“You have to enjoy it,” Pavelec says. “I can’t wait.”

[post_excerpt] => Scott Stinson: An NHL goalie needs confidence like the rest of us need water and air [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-16 15:57:38 [post_date] => 2015-04-16 09:57:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-04-16 15:57:38 [post_modified] => 2015-04-16 09:57:38 [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [guid] => http://news.nationalpost.com/?p=742537 [meta] => Array ( [enclosure] => Array ( [0] => http://wpmedia.news.nationalpost.com/2015/04/469116920-1.jpg?w=140 [1] => https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/hkn_canucks_jets_20150404-1.jpg?w=620 [2] => https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/ducks_coyotes_hockey.jpg?w=620 [3] => http://wpmedia.news.nationalpost.com/2015/04/469116920-1.jpg?w=620 image/jpeg ) [syndication_source] => National Post » Winnipeg Jets [syndication_source_uri] => http://news.nationalpost.com [syndication_source_id] => http://sports.nationalpost.com/tag/winnipeg-jets/feed/ [rss:comments] => 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FAF deciding on filters on post to be syndicated:

Montreal Canadiens’ Devante Smith-Pelly, Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat and the rest: Players who could emerge as playoff heroes

Array ( [post_title] => Montreal Canadiens’ Devante Smith-Pelly, Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat and the rest: Players who could emerge as playoff heroes [post_content] =>

The playoffs, as the NHL used to market, are a time when heroes are born. Sometimes they are the obvious ones. But in a condensed tournament, there are always a handful of players who you would not expect that end up making the big difference.

Last year, it was Justin “Mr. Overtime” Williams who scored nine goals and 25 points — including two game-winners — to help the Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup. The year before it was Chicago’s Bryan Bickell and in 2011-12 Daniel Brière led the playoffs with eight goals in only 11 games.

Who could be this year’s star? Here are 16 not-so-obvious choices — one from each team — that we believe have an ability to become difference-makers:

CANADIENS vs. SENATORS

Devante Smith-Pelly, Montreal In 20 games with the Canadiens, he managed just one goal. But don’t let his meagre regular season stats fool you. Smith-Pelly was acquired precisely for this time of the year, having led the Ducks with five goals in 12 games during last year’s playoffs.
Mark Stone, Ottawa Is there a better clutch player in the NHL these days? Stone scored 15 of his 26 goals in the final 36 games of the season. But he cemented his reputation as a big-game player when he scored seven goals for Canada at the 2012 world junior championship.

LIGHTNING vs. RED WINGS
Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay The Lightning goalie was injured for last year’s playoffs and has a very limited post-season résumé — one game in the AHL, which occurred four years ago. But with 40 wins this season and an impressive .916 save percentage, he is the key to Tampa Bay’s success.
Tomas Tatar, Detroit Though Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk were one-two in team scoring, eventually the young guys are going to have to take over. With a year of playoff experience under his belt, this could be Tatar’s time. The 23-year-old led the team with 29 goals, scoring 14 of them in the final four months.

Related

RANGERS vs. PENGUINS
Kevin Hayes, New York You’d be foolish not to bet on Rick Nash, who scored 42 goals this season, but Hayes is a fine backup option. He scored 11 of his 17 goals in the second-half and received more and more ice time as the season wore on.
Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh It is hard to comprehend that this is the same player who won a gold medal at the last Olympics. Maybe age is finally catching up to the 35-year-old who finished the season with 17 goals and 40 points. But after scoring just two goals in his last 33 games, we’re willing to bet he breaks out of his slump eventually.

CAPITALS vs. ISLANDERS
Braden Holtby, Washington The forgotten Vezina Trophy candidate had another breakout season with 41 wins, a 2.22 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. He also tied for second with nine shutouts.
Anders Lee, New York Not only did he quietly score 25 goals and 41 points this season, but his second-half numbers (12 goals and 23 points in the final 36 games) were second only to John Tavares.

DUCKS vs. JETS
Ryan Kesler, Anaheim
Although he finished the season with his second-lowest goal total (20) in a full season, the Ducks had the playoffs in mind when they acquired Kesler last summer. In 57 post-season games with the Canucks, he scored 12 goals and 38 points
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg He finished third amongst defencemen with 18 goals, but Big Buff is a big-time playoff performer. We haven’t seen that in the last four years, because Winnipeg and Atlanta have both been non-playoff teams. But when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, Byfuglien led the team with 11 goals in 22 games.

CANUCKS vs. FLAMES
Bo Horvat, Vancouver It’s easy to overlook Horvat’s rookie season in a year where so many freshmen players had big years. But he was fifth in team scoring with 13 goals and 22 points — with 10 goals and 17 points coming in the second-half of the season. Last year, he helped London win the OHL championship by scoring the game-winner with 0.1 seconds remaining in the third period of Game 7.
Sean Monahan, Calgary Johnny Gaudreau became the big story in Calgary, but it was an even younger talent who was the team’s best player. Monahan is just 20 years old, but in his second season he scored more than 30 goals and 30 assists — a feat that Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and only seven other players under the age of 21 accomplished in the last 20 years.

PREDATORS vs. BLACKHAWKS
Filip Forsberg, Nashville The Calder Trophy winner for the first-half of the season, Forsberg did not exactly fade as the season went on, but was rather lost amongst other great rookie performances. Forsberg still finished the year with 26 goals (one behind Mike Hoffman) and a team-leading 63 points (one behind Mark Stone and Johnny Gaudreau).
Patrick Kane, Chicago He is healthy and the mullet is back. Enough said.

BLUES VS. WILD
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis One of the reasons the Blues have not been able to take the next step in the playoffs is because the team has lacked game-breakers. That is no longer an issue. Tarasenko tied for fifth with 37 goals and finished in the top-10 in NHL scoring with 73 points.
Mikael Granlund, Minnesota He has not yet developed into a big-time scorer by any means, but the 22-year-old Granlund finished the season with nine points in his last 12 games. This could be his opportunity to break out.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
AP Photo/Jeff RobersonSt. Louis Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko tied for fifth with 37 goals.
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Decide filter: Returning post, everything seems orderly :Montreal Canadiens’ Devante Smith-Pelly, Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat and the rest: Players who could emerge as playoff heroes

Array ( [post_title] => Montreal Canadiens’ Devante Smith-Pelly, Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat and the rest: Players who could emerge as playoff heroes [post_content] =>

The playoffs, as the NHL used to market, are a time when heroes are born. Sometimes they are the obvious ones. But in a condensed tournament, there are always a handful of players who you would not expect that end up making the big difference.

Last year, it was Justin “Mr. Overtime” Williams who scored nine goals and 25 points — including two game-winners — to help the Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup. The year before it was Chicago’s Bryan Bickell and in 2011-12 Daniel Brière led the playoffs with eight goals in only 11 games.

Who could be this year’s star? Here are 16 not-so-obvious choices — one from each team — that we believe have an ability to become difference-makers:

CANADIENS vs. SENATORS

Devante Smith-Pelly, Montreal In 20 games with the Canadiens, he managed just one goal. But don’t let his meagre regular season stats fool you. Smith-Pelly was acquired precisely for this time of the year, having led the Ducks with five goals in 12 games during last year’s playoffs.
Mark Stone, Ottawa Is there a better clutch player in the NHL these days? Stone scored 15 of his 26 goals in the final 36 games of the season. But he cemented his reputation as a big-game player when he scored seven goals for Canada at the 2012 world junior championship.

LIGHTNING vs. RED WINGS
Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay The Lightning goalie was injured for last year’s playoffs and has a very limited post-season résumé — one game in the AHL, which occurred four years ago. But with 40 wins this season and an impressive .916 save percentage, he is the key to Tampa Bay’s success.
Tomas Tatar, Detroit Though Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk were one-two in team scoring, eventually the young guys are going to have to take over. With a year of playoff experience under his belt, this could be Tatar’s time. The 23-year-old led the team with 29 goals, scoring 14 of them in the final four months.

Related

RANGERS vs. PENGUINS
Kevin Hayes, New York You’d be foolish not to bet on Rick Nash, who scored 42 goals this season, but Hayes is a fine backup option. He scored 11 of his 17 goals in the second-half and received more and more ice time as the season wore on.
Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh It is hard to comprehend that this is the same player who won a gold medal at the last Olympics. Maybe age is finally catching up to the 35-year-old who finished the season with 17 goals and 40 points. But after scoring just two goals in his last 33 games, we’re willing to bet he breaks out of his slump eventually.

CAPITALS vs. ISLANDERS
Braden Holtby, Washington The forgotten Vezina Trophy candidate had another breakout season with 41 wins, a 2.22 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. He also tied for second with nine shutouts.
Anders Lee, New York Not only did he quietly score 25 goals and 41 points this season, but his second-half numbers (12 goals and 23 points in the final 36 games) were second only to John Tavares.

DUCKS vs. JETS
Ryan Kesler, Anaheim
Although he finished the season with his second-lowest goal total (20) in a full season, the Ducks had the playoffs in mind when they acquired Kesler last summer. In 57 post-season games with the Canucks, he scored 12 goals and 38 points
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg He finished third amongst defencemen with 18 goals, but Big Buff is a big-time playoff performer. We haven’t seen that in the last four years, because Winnipeg and Atlanta have both been non-playoff teams. But when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, Byfuglien led the team with 11 goals in 22 games.

CANUCKS vs. FLAMES
Bo Horvat, Vancouver It’s easy to overlook Horvat’s rookie season in a year where so many freshmen players had big years. But he was fifth in team scoring with 13 goals and 22 points — with 10 goals and 17 points coming in the second-half of the season. Last year, he helped London win the OHL championship by scoring the game-winner with 0.1 seconds remaining in the third period of Game 7.
Sean Monahan, Calgary Johnny Gaudreau became the big story in Calgary, but it was an even younger talent who was the team’s best player. Monahan is just 20 years old, but in his second season he scored more than 30 goals and 30 assists — a feat that Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and only seven other players under the age of 21 accomplished in the last 20 years.

PREDATORS vs. BLACKHAWKS
Filip Forsberg, Nashville The Calder Trophy winner for the first-half of the season, Forsberg did not exactly fade as the season went on, but was rather lost amongst other great rookie performances. Forsberg still finished the year with 26 goals (one behind Mike Hoffman) and a team-leading 63 points (one behind Mark Stone and Johnny Gaudreau).
Patrick Kane, Chicago He is healthy and the mullet is back. Enough said.

BLUES VS. WILD
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis One of the reasons the Blues have not been able to take the next step in the playoffs is because the team has lacked game-breakers. That is no longer an issue. Tarasenko tied for fifth with 37 goals and finished in the top-10 in NHL scoring with 73 points.
Mikael Granlund, Minnesota He has not yet developed into a big-time scorer by any means, but the 22-year-old Granlund finished the season with nine points in his last 12 games. This could be his opportunity to break out.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
AP Photo/Jeff RobersonSt. Louis Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko tied for fifth with 37 goals.
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Calgary Flames’ young stars could be a handful for Vancouver Canucks: Western Conference playoff predictions

Array ( [post_title] => Calgary Flames’ young stars could be a handful for Vancouver Canucks: Western Conference playoff predictions [post_content] =>

Pacific Division

(1) Anaheim (51-24-7, 109 points) | (WC) Winnipeg (43-26-13, 99 points)

Season series: Anaheim won series 3-0 (one OT win and one shootout win)

Game 1: Thursday, 10:30 p.m. ET Sportsnet

Ducks will win if … They continue to have the answer for the Jets’ red-hot goalie, Ondrej Pavelec, in their first-ever playoff meeting with Winnipeg. They beat Pavelec all three times and scored 12 goals, the last in a shootout on the night they retired Teemu Selanne’s number. As usual, the Ducks are trying to find a left-winger for captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on their No. 1 line. It might be rookie Jiri Sekac, who started the season with Montreal. Anaheim will go with Fred Andersen in net, who played all three games against the Jets, in part because John Gibson has an upper-body injury.

Jets will win if … They can physically impose their will on the Ducks with a big forward group and their huge back-end with Dustin Byfuglien — just back from suspension — Tyler Myers and Jake Trouba. A real darkhorse: they might be the hardest-hitting team in the NHL. They got clever little PP D-man Toby Enstrom, who missed the last week with a suspected shoulder injury, back for the last league game against Calgary so he can partner the 6-foot-8 Myers. Pavelec, who sat out the last league game with Calgary to rest and guard against injury after three straight shutouts (Minnesota, Chicago, Colorado), has to use some of that magic against the Ducks.

Prediction: Ducks in seven

Related

———

(2) Vancouver Canucks (48-29-5) | (3) Calgary Flames (45-30-7)

Season series: Calgary won series 2-1-1

Game 1: Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET CBC

Flames will win if … Young stars Johnny Gaudreau, 21, and Sean Monahan, 20, continue to not act their age and refuse to get rattled by the playoff pressure. The pair, along with linemate Jiri Hudler, accounted for 86 of Calgary’s 241 goals, led by 31-goal seasons from both Monahan and Hudler. Calgary’s No. 1 line has 66 combined playoffs games, all from Hudler’s time with Detroit. Vancouver’s top forward unit of Henrik and Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows has 262 combined playoff games.

Canucks will win if … They can find a way to make their power play a major factor against a disciplined Calgary crew. Vancouver went 0-for-3 with the man-advantage in the season finale against Edmonton. In the 11 games prior, they were on an 11-for-30 run (36.7 per cent). Calgary had the NHL’s 20th-best penalty kill success rate (80.6 per cent) on the season, but they were short-handed the fewest times (186). They gave up the fourth-fewest PP goals (36), which was two fewer than Vancouver, who were No. 2 in success rate (85.7) but No. 20 in times short (266).

Prediction: Vancouver in six


———

Central Division

(1) St. Louis Blues (51-24-7) | (WC) Minnesota Wild (46-28-8)

Season series: Minnesota won series 2-1-1

Game 1: Thursday, 9:30 p.m. ET SN 360

Blues will win if … Their goaltending holds up, which it didn’t last season when Ryan Miller was brought in as a hired gun, but he wound up being off target. The Blues really have no other question marks as they are deep on defence and have a nice mix of speed, skill and brawn up front. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock appeared to be leaning towards Jake Allen as his Game 1 starter but, of course, that could be a smokescreen as well. If Allen can’t get the job done, then Brian Elliott will get his opportunity. Or maybe that will be the other way around.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesWild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been superb between the pipes since joining the team mid-season from Arizona (27-8-2).

Wild will win if … They just continue doing what they have been doing since mid-January, when they began a 28-9-3 run that produced the NHL’s best record in the second half of the season. Devan Dubnyk has been superb between the pipes since joining the team mid-season from Arizona (27-8-2), Norris Trophy candidate Ryan Suter anchors the defence and 33-goal scorer Zach Parise leads the offence. The Wild have plenty of depth and experience. They also have the league’s No. 1 penalty-killing unit. Calling them a wild-card hardly seems fitting.

Prediction: Wild in six

———

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, FileBlackhawks are getting Patrick Kane back in time for their opener at Nashville.

(2) Nashville Predators (47-25-10) | (3) Chicago Blackhawks (48-28-6)

Season series: Chicago won series 3-2-0

Game 1: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. ET SN 360

Nashville will win if … They use the momentum of their first two games at home. The Predators put up the second-most home wins this season and had a 28-9-4 record at the Bridgestone Arena. Music City certainly knows how to put on a party and the rink will be rocking. Capitalizing on the Blackhawks’ slump to end the season could help, too. Strength in goal is key and Pekka Rinne is one of the best in the league. With rookie Filip Forsberg leading the way, Mike Ribeiro 2.0, Roman Josi and Shea Weber, they’re deep from top to bottom. But can they put it together when it matters?

Chicago will win if … They capitalize on their seven-straight years of playoff experience, two Stanley Cup victories, and Western Conference appearances. They’ve been streaky this year and injury-ridden. No question, the Blackhawks still have game and know how to win. Against the Predators during the regular season, they had a 142-120 edge in shots on goal — piling pucks on net is also key. Corey Crawford needs to be outstanding. The pieces they picked up (Antoine Vermette, Andrew Desjardins and Brad Richards) must contribute and their top four defencemen (Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya) need to steady the back-end.

Prediction: Nashville in six

[post_excerpt] => Postmedia hockey experts take a closer look at the Western Conference teams and predict who will make it out of the first round of the playoffs [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-14 20:25:19 [post_date] => 2015-04-14 14:25:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-04-14 20:25:19 [post_modified] => 2015-04-14 14:25:19 [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [guid] => http://news.nationalpost.com/?p=741009 [meta] => Array ( [enclosure] => Array ( [0] => http://wpmedia.news.nationalpost.com/2015/04/hkn_flames_finishing_strong_201503261.jpg?w=140 [1] => https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/468872526.jpg?w=620 [2] => https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/faceoff_hockey.jpg [3] => http://wpmedia.news.nationalpost.com/2015/04/hkn_flames_finishing_strong_201503261.jpg?w=620 image/jpeg ) [syndication_source] => National Post » Winnipeg Jets [syndication_source_uri] => http://news.nationalpost.com [syndication_source_id] => 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Decide filter: Returning post, everything seems orderly :Calgary Flames’ young stars could be a handful for Vancouver Canucks: Western Conference playoff predictions

Array ( [post_title] => Calgary Flames’ young stars could be a handful for Vancouver Canucks: Western Conference playoff predictions [post_content] =>

Pacific Division

(1) Anaheim (51-24-7, 109 points) | (WC) Winnipeg (43-26-13, 99 points)

Season series: Anaheim won series 3-0 (one OT win and one shootout win)

Game 1: Thursday, 10:30 p.m. ET Sportsnet

Ducks will win if … They continue to have the answer for the Jets’ red-hot goalie, Ondrej Pavelec, in their first-ever playoff meeting with Winnipeg. They beat Pavelec all three times and scored 12 goals, the last in a shootout on the night they retired Teemu Selanne’s number. As usual, the Ducks are trying to find a left-winger for captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on their No. 1 line. It might be rookie Jiri Sekac, who started the season with Montreal. Anaheim will go with Fred Andersen in net, who played all three games against the Jets, in part because John Gibson has an upper-body injury.

Jets will win if … They can physically impose their will on the Ducks with a big forward group and their huge back-end with Dustin Byfuglien — just back from suspension — Tyler Myers and Jake Trouba. A real darkhorse: they might be the hardest-hitting team in the NHL. They got clever little PP D-man Toby Enstrom, who missed the last week with a suspected shoulder injury, back for the last league game against Calgary so he can partner the 6-foot-8 Myers. Pavelec, who sat out the last league game with Calgary to rest and guard against injury after three straight shutouts (Minnesota, Chicago, Colorado), has to use some of that magic against the Ducks.

Prediction: Ducks in seven

Related

———

(2) Vancouver Canucks (48-29-5) | (3) Calgary Flames (45-30-7)

Season series: Calgary won series 2-1-1

Game 1: Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET CBC

Flames will win if … Young stars Johnny Gaudreau, 21, and Sean Monahan, 20, continue to not act their age and refuse to get rattled by the playoff pressure. The pair, along with linemate Jiri Hudler, accounted for 86 of Calgary’s 241 goals, led by 31-goal seasons from both Monahan and Hudler. Calgary’s No. 1 line has 66 combined playoffs games, all from Hudler’s time with Detroit. Vancouver’s top forward unit of Henrik and Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows has 262 combined playoff games.

Canucks will win if … They can find a way to make their power play a major factor against a disciplined Calgary crew. Vancouver went 0-for-3 with the man-advantage in the season finale against Edmonton. In the 11 games prior, they were on an 11-for-30 run (36.7 per cent). Calgary had the NHL’s 20th-best penalty kill success rate (80.6 per cent) on the season, but they were short-handed the fewest times (186). They gave up the fourth-fewest PP goals (36), which was two fewer than Vancouver, who were No. 2 in success rate (85.7) but No. 20 in times short (266).

Prediction: Vancouver in six


———

Central Division

(1) St. Louis Blues (51-24-7) | (WC) Minnesota Wild (46-28-8)

Season series: Minnesota won series 2-1-1

Game 1: Thursday, 9:30 p.m. ET SN 360

Blues will win if … Their goaltending holds up, which it didn’t last season when Ryan Miller was brought in as a hired gun, but he wound up being off target. The Blues really have no other question marks as they are deep on defence and have a nice mix of speed, skill and brawn up front. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock appeared to be leaning towards Jake Allen as his Game 1 starter but, of course, that could be a smokescreen as well. If Allen can’t get the job done, then Brian Elliott will get his opportunity. Or maybe that will be the other way around.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesWild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been superb between the pipes since joining the team mid-season from Arizona (27-8-2).

Wild will win if … They just continue doing what they have been doing since mid-January, when they began a 28-9-3 run that produced the NHL’s best record in the second half of the season. Devan Dubnyk has been superb between the pipes since joining the team mid-season from Arizona (27-8-2), Norris Trophy candidate Ryan Suter anchors the defence and 33-goal scorer Zach Parise leads the offence. The Wild have plenty of depth and experience. They also have the league’s No. 1 penalty-killing unit. Calling them a wild-card hardly seems fitting.

Prediction: Wild in six

———

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, FileBlackhawks are getting Patrick Kane back in time for their opener at Nashville.

(2) Nashville Predators (47-25-10) | (3) Chicago Blackhawks (48-28-6)

Season series: Chicago won series 3-2-0

Game 1: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. ET SN 360

Nashville will win if … They use the momentum of their first two games at home. The Predators put up the second-most home wins this season and had a 28-9-4 record at the Bridgestone Arena. Music City certainly knows how to put on a party and the rink will be rocking. Capitalizing on the Blackhawks’ slump to end the season could help, too. Strength in goal is key and Pekka Rinne is one of the best in the league. With rookie Filip Forsberg leading the way, Mike Ribeiro 2.0, Roman Josi and Shea Weber, they’re deep from top to bottom. But can they put it together when it matters?

Chicago will win if … They capitalize on their seven-straight years of playoff experience, two Stanley Cup victories, and Western Conference appearances. They’ve been streaky this year and injury-ridden. No question, the Blackhawks still have game and know how to win. Against the Predators during the regular season, they had a 142-120 edge in shots on goal — piling pucks on net is also key. Corey Crawford needs to be outstanding. The pieces they picked up (Antoine Vermette, Andrew Desjardins and Brad Richards) must contribute and their top four defencemen (Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya) need to steady the back-end.

Prediction: Nashville in six

[post_excerpt] => Postmedia hockey experts take a closer look at the Western Conference teams and predict who will make it out of the first round of the playoffs [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-14 20:25:19 [post_date] => 2015-04-14 14:25:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-04-14 20:25:19 [post_modified] => 2015-04-14 14:25:19 [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [guid] => http://news.nationalpost.com/?p=741009 [meta] => Array ( [enclosure] => Array ( [0] => http://wpmedia.news.nationalpost.com/2015/04/hkn_flames_finishing_strong_201503261.jpg?w=140 [1] => https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/468872526.jpg?w=620 [2] => https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/faceoff_hockey.jpg [3] => http://wpmedia.news.nationalpost.com/2015/04/hkn_flames_finishing_strong_201503261.jpg?w=620 image/jpeg ) [syndication_source] => National Post » Winnipeg Jets [syndication_source_uri] => http://news.nationalpost.com [syndication_source_id] => 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NHL Stanley Cup playoffs 2015: First round sees Montreal Canadiens take on Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks face Calgary Flames

Array ( [post_title] => NHL Stanley Cup playoffs 2015: First round sees Montreal Canadiens take on Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks face Calgary Flames [post_content] =>

For the first time since 2004, five Canadian NHL teams will compete for the Stanley Cup. The Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators all qualified for the post-season, some in more dramatic ways than others. The Senators booked their ticket on the final day of the regular season with a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, while the Flames and Jets earned pivotal wins to secure their berths in the final week.

Rogers, which owns the rights to all the playoff series for the first time under its 12-year broadcast deal with the NHL, announced its broadcast schedule for the first round early Sunday morning. Rogers will staff five of the eight series and they will air on CBC, Sportsnet and Sportnet 360. The games begin on Wednesday with the Montreal-Ottawa series.

Here’s a look at the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs first-round matchups and broadcast schedules:

Eastern Conference

Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators
Canadiens: 50-22-10, 110 points
Senators: 43-26-13, 99 points

Senators won season series 3-1

Play-by-play crew: Paul Romanuk, Mike Johnson and Glenn Healy; reporter: David Amber

Game 1 Wednesday, April 15 at Montreal, 7 p.m. CBC
Game 2 Friday, April 17 at Montreal, 7 p.m. CBC
Game 3 Sunday, April 19 at Ottawa, 7 p.m. CBC
Game 4 Wednesday, April 22 at Ottawa, 7 p.m. CBC
Game 5 Friday, April 24 at Montreal, TBA CBC
Game 6 Sunday, April 26 at Ottawa, TBA CBC
Game 7 Tuesday, April 28 at Montreal, TBA CBC

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings
Lightning: 50-24-8, 108 points
Red Wings: 43-25-14, 100 points

Lightning won season series 3-1

Play-by-play crew: Rick Ball and John Garrett; reporter: Dan Murphy

Game 1 Thursday, April 16 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 2 Saturday, April 18 at Tampa Bay, 3 p.m. CBC
Game 3 Tuesday, April 21 at Detroit, 7 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 4 Thursday, April 23 at Detroit, 7 p.m. CBC
Game 5 Saturday, April 25 at Tampa Bay, TBA
Game 6 Monday, April 27 at Detroit, TBA
Game 7 Wednesday, April 29 at Tampa Bay, TBA

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Rangers: 53-22-7, 113 points
Penguins:43-27-12, 98 points

Rangers won season series 3-1.

Play-by-play crew: Bob Cole and Greg Millen; reporter: Christine Simpson

Game 1 Thursday, April 16 at NY Rangers, 7 p.m. CBC
Game 2 Saturday, April 18 at NY Rangers, 8 p.m. ET CBC
Game 3 Monday, April 20 at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. CBC
Game 4 Wednesday, April 22 at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. SN 360
Game 5 Friday, April 24 at NY Rangers, TBA
Game 6 Sunday, April 26 at Pittsburgh, TBA
Game 7 Tuesday, April 28 at NY Rangers, TBA

Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Capitals: 45-26-11, 101 points
Islanders: 47-28-7, 101 points

Season series tied 2-2.

Play-by-play crew: Using U.S. broadcasts

Game 1 Wednesday, April 15 at Washington,7 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 2 Friday, April 17 at Washington,7 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 3 Sunday, April 19 at NY Islanders, Noon Sportsnet
Game 4 Tuesday, April 21 at NY Islanders, 7:30 p.m. SN 360
Game 5 Thursday, April 23 at Washington, TBA
Game 6 Saturday, April 25 at NY Islanders, TBA
Game 7 Monday, April 27 at Washington, TBA

Related

Derek Leung/Getty Images
Derek Leung/Getty ImagesThe Vancouver Canucks will take on the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs.

Western Conference:

Anaheim Ducks vs. Winnipeg Jets
Ducks: 51-24-7, 109 points
Jets: 43-26-13, 99 points

Ducks won season series 3-0.

Play-by-play crew: Dave Randorf and Garry Galley; reporter: Cassie Campbell-Pascall

Game 1 Thursday, April 16 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 2 Saturday, April 18 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 3 Monday, April 20 at Winnipeg, 9 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 4 Wednesday, April 22 at Winnipeg, 9:30 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 5 Friday, April 24 at Anaheim, TBA Sportsnet
Game 6 Sunday, April 26 at Winnipeg, TBA Sportsnet
Game 7 Tuesday, April 28 at Anaheim, TBA Sportsnet

Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames
Canucks: 47-29-5, 99 points
Flames: 45-30-7, 97 points

Season series tied 2-2.

Play-by-play crew: Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson; reporter: Scott Oake
All games also available in Punjabi on Omni

Game 1 Wednesday, April 15 at Vancouver, 10 p.m. CBC
Game 2 Friday, April 17 at Vancouver, 10 p.m. CBC
Game 3 Sunday, April 19 at Calgary, 10 p.m. CBC
Game 4 Tuesday, April 21 at Calgary, 10 p.m. CBC
Game 5 Thursday, April 23 at Vancouver, TBA CBC
Game 6 Saturday, April 25 at Calgary, TBA CBC
Game 7 Monday, April 27 at Vancouver, TBA CBC

St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild
Blues: 51-24-7, 109 points
Wild: 46-28-8, 100 points

Season series tied 2-2.

Play-by-play crew: Using U.S. broadcasts

Game 1 Thursday, April 16 at St. Louis, 9:30 p.m. ET SN 360
Game 2 Saturday, April 18 at St. Louis, 3 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 3 Monday, April 20 at Minnesota, 8 p.m. ET SN ONE
Game 4 Wednesday, April 22 at Minnesota, 9:30 p.m. ET SN 360
Game 5 Friday, April 24 at St. Louis, TBA
Game 6 Sunday, April 26 at Minnesota, TBA
Game 7 Wednesday, April 29 at St. Louis, TBA

Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Predators: 47-25-10, 104 points
Blackhawks: 48-27-6, 102 points

Blackhawks won season series 3-1

Play-by-play crew: Using U.S. broadcasts

Game 1 Wednesday, April 15 at Nashville, 8:30 p.m. SN 360
Game 2 Friday, April 17 at Nashville, 9:30 p.m. ET Sportsnet
Game 3 Sunday, April 19 at Chicago, 3 p.m. ET Sportsnet
Game 4 Tuesday, April 21 at Chicago, 9:30 p.m. ET Sportsnet
Game 5 Thursday, April 23 at Nashville, TBA
Game 6 Saturday, April 25 at Chicago, TBA
Game 7 Monday, April 27 at Nashville, TBA

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Decide filter: Returning post, everything seems orderly :NHL Stanley Cup playoffs 2015: First round sees Montreal Canadiens take on Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks face Calgary Flames

Array ( [post_title] => NHL Stanley Cup playoffs 2015: First round sees Montreal Canadiens take on Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks face Calgary Flames [post_content] =>

For the first time since 2004, five Canadian NHL teams will compete for the Stanley Cup. The Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators all qualified for the post-season, some in more dramatic ways than others. The Senators booked their ticket on the final day of the regular season with a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, while the Flames and Jets earned pivotal wins to secure their berths in the final week.

Rogers, which owns the rights to all the playoff series for the first time under its 12-year broadcast deal with the NHL, announced its broadcast schedule for the first round early Sunday morning. Rogers will staff five of the eight series and they will air on CBC, Sportsnet and Sportnet 360. The games begin on Wednesday with the Montreal-Ottawa series.

Here’s a look at the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs first-round matchups and broadcast schedules:

Eastern Conference

Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators
Canadiens: 50-22-10, 110 points
Senators: 43-26-13, 99 points

Senators won season series 3-1

Play-by-play crew: Paul Romanuk, Mike Johnson and Glenn Healy; reporter: David Amber

Game 1 Wednesday, April 15 at Montreal, 7 p.m. CBC
Game 2 Friday, April 17 at Montreal, 7 p.m. CBC
Game 3 Sunday, April 19 at Ottawa, 7 p.m. CBC
Game 4 Wednesday, April 22 at Ottawa, 7 p.m. CBC
Game 5 Friday, April 24 at Montreal, TBA CBC
Game 6 Sunday, April 26 at Ottawa, TBA CBC
Game 7 Tuesday, April 28 at Montreal, TBA CBC

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings
Lightning: 50-24-8, 108 points
Red Wings: 43-25-14, 100 points

Lightning won season series 3-1

Play-by-play crew: Rick Ball and John Garrett; reporter: Dan Murphy

Game 1 Thursday, April 16 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 2 Saturday, April 18 at Tampa Bay, 3 p.m. CBC
Game 3 Tuesday, April 21 at Detroit, 7 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 4 Thursday, April 23 at Detroit, 7 p.m. CBC
Game 5 Saturday, April 25 at Tampa Bay, TBA
Game 6 Monday, April 27 at Detroit, TBA
Game 7 Wednesday, April 29 at Tampa Bay, TBA

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Rangers: 53-22-7, 113 points
Penguins:43-27-12, 98 points

Rangers won season series 3-1.

Play-by-play crew: Bob Cole and Greg Millen; reporter: Christine Simpson

Game 1 Thursday, April 16 at NY Rangers, 7 p.m. CBC
Game 2 Saturday, April 18 at NY Rangers, 8 p.m. ET CBC
Game 3 Monday, April 20 at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. CBC
Game 4 Wednesday, April 22 at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. SN 360
Game 5 Friday, April 24 at NY Rangers, TBA
Game 6 Sunday, April 26 at Pittsburgh, TBA
Game 7 Tuesday, April 28 at NY Rangers, TBA

Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Capitals: 45-26-11, 101 points
Islanders: 47-28-7, 101 points

Season series tied 2-2.

Play-by-play crew: Using U.S. broadcasts

Game 1 Wednesday, April 15 at Washington,7 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 2 Friday, April 17 at Washington,7 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 3 Sunday, April 19 at NY Islanders, Noon Sportsnet
Game 4 Tuesday, April 21 at NY Islanders, 7:30 p.m. SN 360
Game 5 Thursday, April 23 at Washington, TBA
Game 6 Saturday, April 25 at NY Islanders, TBA
Game 7 Monday, April 27 at Washington, TBA

Related

Derek Leung/Getty Images
Derek Leung/Getty ImagesThe Vancouver Canucks will take on the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs.

Western Conference:

Anaheim Ducks vs. Winnipeg Jets
Ducks: 51-24-7, 109 points
Jets: 43-26-13, 99 points

Ducks won season series 3-0.

Play-by-play crew: Dave Randorf and Garry Galley; reporter: Cassie Campbell-Pascall

Game 1 Thursday, April 16 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 2 Saturday, April 18 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 3 Monday, April 20 at Winnipeg, 9 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 4 Wednesday, April 22 at Winnipeg, 9:30 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 5 Friday, April 24 at Anaheim, TBA Sportsnet
Game 6 Sunday, April 26 at Winnipeg, TBA Sportsnet
Game 7 Tuesday, April 28 at Anaheim, TBA Sportsnet

Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames
Canucks: 47-29-5, 99 points
Flames: 45-30-7, 97 points

Season series tied 2-2.

Play-by-play crew: Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson; reporter: Scott Oake
All games also available in Punjabi on Omni

Game 1 Wednesday, April 15 at Vancouver, 10 p.m. CBC
Game 2 Friday, April 17 at Vancouver, 10 p.m. CBC
Game 3 Sunday, April 19 at Calgary, 10 p.m. CBC
Game 4 Tuesday, April 21 at Calgary, 10 p.m. CBC
Game 5 Thursday, April 23 at Vancouver, TBA CBC
Game 6 Saturday, April 25 at Calgary, TBA CBC
Game 7 Monday, April 27 at Vancouver, TBA CBC

St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild
Blues: 51-24-7, 109 points
Wild: 46-28-8, 100 points

Season series tied 2-2.

Play-by-play crew: Using U.S. broadcasts

Game 1 Thursday, April 16 at St. Louis, 9:30 p.m. ET SN 360
Game 2 Saturday, April 18 at St. Louis, 3 p.m. Sportsnet
Game 3 Monday, April 20 at Minnesota, 8 p.m. ET SN ONE
Game 4 Wednesday, April 22 at Minnesota, 9:30 p.m. ET SN 360
Game 5 Friday, April 24 at St. Louis, TBA
Game 6 Sunday, April 26 at Minnesota, TBA
Game 7 Wednesday, April 29 at St. Louis, TBA

Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Predators: 47-25-10, 104 points
Blackhawks: 48-27-6, 102 points

Blackhawks won season series 3-1

Play-by-play crew: Using U.S. broadcasts

Game 1 Wednesday, April 15 at Nashville, 8:30 p.m. SN 360
Game 2 Friday, April 17 at Nashville, 9:30 p.m. ET Sportsnet
Game 3 Sunday, April 19 at Chicago, 3 p.m. ET Sportsnet
Game 4 Tuesday, April 21 at Chicago, 9:30 p.m. ET Sportsnet
Game 5 Thursday, April 23 at Nashville, TBA
Game 6 Saturday, April 25 at Chicago, TBA
Game 7 Monday, April 27 at Nashville, TBA

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Go Jets Go!

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