Published: Sun, May 13, 2018
Sport | By Tony Jimenez

Jets' Connor Hellebuyck playing his best going into Knights series

Jets' Connor Hellebuyck playing his best going into Knights series

What a difference a year makes.

April 26, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) makes a third period save against the San Jose Sharks in game one of the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena.

After a back-and-forth slugfest of a second-round series with the Nashville Predators where neither club has imposed its will for longer than a period or two, the Jets are looking to get back to their best, or close to it, on the road in Game 7 at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night. "They had 109 points". His reputation as a prime-time player is matched only by the most cheerful demeanor in the sport.

The Winnipeg Jets have advanced to the Western Conference final for the first time in franchise history and WestJet is celebrating! Also defending for the Predators is Roman Josi (59), of Switzerland. Two of those games were with Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury out with an injury.

Grabbing the win was Connor Hellebuyck, who stopped 36 of the 37 shots that he faced to improve to 8-4 with a 2.25 GAA and a.927 save percentage in this his first season of playoff action. "Maybe one technical thing that's changed, but for the most part of it, it was just about getting ready, the mental aspect of it", said Fleury.

"When you have games like (Thursday), you crawl out of bed, you're a little bit groggy, but you're excited", Wheeler said. "They said that I'm a traitor", she says.

Of note, Connor Hellebuyck has had a very good post season to date but there is something to be said when it came to facing Vegas during the regular season. And he's on the second line.

Winnipeg's top line of Kyle Connor-Mark Scheifele-Blake Wheeler has meshed so well all season and is an extremely risky trio.

A tap of the stick to the Washington Capitals for slaying their playoff dragon, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In the first season of that realigned National Hockey League, the Hurricanes were the Southeast's lone playoff representative, earning the fewest regular-season points of any Eastern Conference qualifier.

OFFENCE: Jonathan Marchessault (four goals, seven assists) and Reilly Smith (one goal, 10 assists) lead the attack ...

The teams will play a best-of-seven series, with the victor headed to the National Hockey League championship.

The Vegas Golden Knights are an incredible story, there is no way around that.

Both teams have performed well so far in the playoffs, but it's time to dial up the intensity with this much on the line in the Conference Final. The Lightning will win this series over the Capitals but it will take them seven games to do it.

Fleury likes that his team has exceeded the expectations of everybody, including his can-do boss. Winning a Game 7 to advance to this series brings its own kind of momentum. His best moment came against the San Joe Sharks when he scored the overtime victor in Game 3 of the second round. I feel that all the edges point to the Golden Knights in this one and they should walk away with a hard-fought game one win.

Even more impressive for the Golden Knights is that they've made quick work of their opponents, needing just 10 games to reach the third round, and in the process they've controlled 57 per cent of the scoring chances at 5-vs-5, 62 per cent of the scoring chances on net, and 61 per cent of the passes to the slot.

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