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in Fanclub Dölbau 14.08.2018 10:15
von huangjian123 | 276 Beiträge | 2760 Punkte

The road back to the Stanley Cup Final took two very different turns for the Penguins and Predators at the start of the second round.

Back-to-back defending champion Pittsburgh roared back from a two-goal Tarik Cohen Jersey , third-period deficit to beat the Washington Capitals, while the Winnipeg Jets chased Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne in a convincing 4-1 victory in Game 1. As each team prepares for Game 2, two key pieces could be ready to help.

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin practiced Saturday and is on the verge of returning to the lineup after missing the past two games with an apparent leg injury. Coach Mike Sullivan called Malkin a game-time decision, though signs are pointing to the Russian star playing Sunday at Washington (3 p.m. EDT, NBC).

”If I’m playing, I’m ready to play,” Malkin said. ”If you play, you need to show you can, you show you’re 100 percent. It’s not like the regular season. You can’t play slow the first period and be better in third. If I play, if I’m ready, I’m ready first shift.”

Predators winger Auston Watson skated just seven first-period shifts Friday night before leaving with an undisclosed injury. His teammates outshot the Jets 48-19 and still lost, though a healthy Watson for Game 2 back in Music City (7 p.m., NBCSN) could make a difference as the defending Western Conference champions try to even the series between the NHL’s top two teams.

”Getting this squared up before we go to Winnipeg is definitely important,” said Watson Jamal Adams Jersey , who felt great and called it a good practice. ”We’ll do our best to take care of business.”

The Penguins and Predators each took care of business in six games in the first round. Malkin had three goals and two assists in five games before being injured against Philadelphia, and the line of Colton Sissons, former Pittsburgh center Nick Bonino and Watson combined for 19 points in beating Colorado.

It’s impossible to overstate Malkin’s value to the Penguins. Top-line winger Jake Guentzel called Malkin’s potential return a ”game-changer,” restoring one of their most dangerous options on the power play and at even strength after a season in which the 31-year-old forward put up 98 points.

Malkin skated on the fourth line between rookie Zack Aston-Reese and Tom Kuhnhackl at practice and on the first power-play unit. If he plays, it wouldn’t be in a limited role.

”Putting Geno on the fourth line? Probably not,” Sullivan said. ”We’ll try to put him in a position where he can play to his strengths, be successful as an individual and help our team win.”

Just as the Penguins drew on two long playoff runs to come back against the Capitals, the Predators need only look up at their Western Conference champions banner in the rafters as they try to rebound.

”We just have to keep having that bounce-back mentality we’ve had since I’ve been here for two and a half years,” center Ryan Johansen said. ”We’re looking forward to tomorrow night’s game because we know we’re going to get a great response from everybody in here.”

A FOR DISCIPLINE

Referees combined to call three penalties each in Game 1 of Penguins-Capitals and Jets-Predators. Nashville was the most-penalized team in the league during the regular season but hasn’t taken one its past two games.

”We’re trying to get better in a lot of different areas,” coach Peter Laviolette said. ”And you hope that through the course of fixing some things, continuing to do things right that you like, fixing some things, staying out of the penalty box, whatever it may be that at the end of the night you’ll be able to move forward from that. There are some things that I guess are going in the right direction.”

The strength of the Washington and Pittsburgh power plays has those teams watching themselves and trying to avoid time in the sin bin.

”I think both teams go into the series trying to be disciplined for that reason Courtland Sutton Jersey ,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. ”You don’t want to give the power plays an opportunity to have an impact in the game.

HELLEBUYCK SHINES

Connor Hellebuyck, a Vezina Trophy finalist as the NHL’s top goaltender, starred for the Jets in making 47 saves in Game 1. In a breakout year for the 24-year-old, it was the kind of game that showed Winnipeg it has someone ready to take on the best in the West.

”There’s great difficulty in a lot of the saves and finding the puck in those scrums, but he’s built for that,” coach Paul Maurice said. ”He’s a big man that moves well and tracks well in traffic – especially close traffic. So he’s capable of that kind of game in that kind of environment.”



AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed.



While Evander Kane watched Stanley Cup playoff hockey from his couch during the first eight years of his NHL career, the power forward felt confident he could thrive in the pressurized atmosphere of the postseason if he could only get the chance.

When his long-delayed opportunity finally arrived Thursday night, Kane did everything he ever thought he could.

Kane scored two goals in his first career playoff game and Martin Jones made 25 saves as the San Jose Sharks beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-0 in their first-round series opener.

The game was a remarkable breakthrough for Kane, who joined the Sharks in a trade six weeks ago and reached the NHL postseason for the first time after 574 regular-season games and far too many early summers in Atlanta, Winnipeg and Buffalo.

Now 26 years old and tired of waiting, Kane has played ferociously since he landed in San Jose, contributing 14 points in 17 games down the stretch before his playoff outburst.

”It was nice to finally get out in the playoff atmosphere Anthony Miller Bears Jersey , and it was fun to finally get my first playoff win,” Kane said. ”It’s nice to contribute. That’s my job. I feel confident in my abilities. I don’t think it was my best game, but I’m never going to be mad when we get a playoff win and I get to contribute.”

Game 2 is Saturday night at Honda Center.

After a scoreless first period, Kane capitalized when two Anaheim penalties in 15 seconds left the Sharks with a two-man advantage. No Ducks were anywhere near Kane when he settled in the slot and scored on a one-timer from captain Joe Pavelski.

Kane did it again with Pavelski’s help less than seven minutes later, sliding the puck past goalie John Gibson on a 2-on-1 break and crashing headfirst into the post immediately afterward. The rout was on 84 seconds later when Brent Burns slipped a long shot through traffic for his 13th career playoff goal.

”(Kane) is a world-class player,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. ”I think Buffalo was a tough situation for everybody, and when he got the opportunity to get into our room and play with Burns and Pavelski, he was re-energized. That’s what you’re seeing: A guy who got his passion back and came to the rink excited.”

According to the NHL, Kane became the fourth player in the last 20 years to score multiple goals in his playoff debut, joining Alexander Radulov (2007), Mike Green (2008) and Gabriel Bourque (2012).

With Kane leading the way, the Sharks easily took early control in the series between California rivals. San Jose and Anaheim have been regular playoff teams for the past 15 years, yet are meeting in the postseason for only the second time.

Gibson stopped 30 shots for the Ducks, who lost a series opener at home in their third consecutive playoff series. Anaheim had won seven straight home games down the stretch Lamar Jackson Ravens Jersey , losing in regulation at home just once in 17 games since late January.

”You can’t afford to take seven minor (penalties) and give the opposition an opportunity to practice their power play,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. ”It takes any momentum that you had building in the game. It flips everything in their favor.”

Jones capably handled the Ducks’ infrequent scoring opportunities to earn his fifth career playoff shutout. Anaheim fans threw scattered boos at their team during the third period, particularly when the Ducks struggled to get the puck up the ice.

The Ducks promptly gave away the home-ice advantage they had claimed with a frantic late-season rally past San Jose into second place in the Pacific Division. Anaheim won its final five regular-season games to finish with 101 points, while the Sharks lost five of their last six and ended up with 100.

”I can count probably on one hand how many good shifts that we had the whole game,” Anaheim defenseman Francois Beauchemin said. ”We have to be a lot better than that.”

At least slow playoff starts are typical for these Ducks, who have lost Game 1 at home in four of their last five playoff series over the past three seasons. Anaheim still has appeared in two of the past three Western Conference finals.

San Jose and Anaheim haven’t faced off in the postseason since 2009, when the eighth-seeded Ducks stunned the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Sharks in six games in the first round. Three players on each roster are still around for the rematch, including captains Ryan Getzlaf and Pavelski.

NOTES: Cam Fowler missed the opener with an upper-body injury, and the Ducks’ top defenseman doesn’t appear to be close to returning. The club has said Fowler’s injury could keep him out for several more weeks. … Sharks C Joe Thornton skated in pregame warmups, but didn’t play in what would have been his first game since Jan. 25. The 38-year-old veteran has a right knee injury, but hopes to return soon. … Ducks D Kevin Bieksa also didn’t play, but is likely available after missing the last month due to surgery on his left hand.



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