High-flying Winnipeg Jets ready to roll the dice against Vegas

Previewing the 2018 Conference Finals

Previewing the 2018 Conference Finals

Will Vegas triumph over a bruising and skilled Jets squad? The way Marc-Andre Fleury and Connor Hellebuyck have played this regular/post season, it might be surprising if those numbers continue on the over. "The team that can play as close to their game as possible - their identity game - wins".

Victories by the Golden Knights and the Capitals in their conference finals would set up a matchup against Prior's old team with the Stanley Cup on the line.

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.

We don't think so.

Both teams have first-year phenoms who can't be overlooked.

Coach Gerard Gallant said they deserve to be there.

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Captain Blake Wheeler had two goals and nine assists in the best-of-seven. While Pavelski's line was technically the de facto top unit on paper, there's a very viable case to be made that the line featuring Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl was the more risky of the two based on how they were playing. They just completed a gruelling seven game series with the Nashville Predators and now, on one day's rest, will start the conference final.

Game 3: Wednesday @ Knights, 9 p.m.

Braden Holtby was spectacular in defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins. "Over the last 10 or 15 years, they're more prepared".

The Jets have scored exactly the same number of goals (43) as the high-flying Washington Capitals in exactly the same number of games (12) and they managed to make one of the deepest and most highly regarded defense corps look ordinary in Round 2. The fact that these two teams are squaring off for a Cup finals berth really speaks to the parity in today's National Hockey League, and how the 2017-18 season has been defined by underdogs eclipsing expectations, time and time again.

Emrick also discusses the rivalry between Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin on the podcast, which is backed by the resources of The Associated Press, and the teams left in the playoffs. Backup to the backup goalie Oskar Dansk got hurt, and they just kept winning. While the whole team impressed by showing their resilience against the playoff battle-hardened Sharks, the Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith line once again showed that they're almost unstoppable.

It's part of a league-wide trend, too: The 50 rookie skaters in these playoffs are the most since teams used 54 in 2005-06.

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However, the Jets are also healthy and ready to nab a spot in the Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.

Winnipeg believes the quick turnaround and any lingering emotions from the second round won't follow it into its first conference final.

"If we don't win the Cup, I certainly hope Dave and George do", said Kolzig, who serves as the Capitals' professional development coach. Even if the Golden Knights' top line is able to maintain its sparkling level of play and holds its own against the other team's big guns, the Jets have so many other weapons to throw at them in the moments Karlsson, Marchessault, and Smith aren't on the ice (including a second scoring line that would merit top billing on most other teams).

In the second, the Jets simply dominated keeping the puck in the offensive zone and outshot Nashville 6-2. They're a threat on the powerplay, on the rush, and from the blue-line, and on the cycle down low.

Expect the best series we have seen in these playoffs, but unfortunately one of these awesome stories ends here.

I think what we're going to see between these two teams is the heavy, mean game of the Jets against the heart-and-soul play of the Knights. Instead of the team that looked crisp with every pass, and sharp with every shot on goal, the Golden Knights were undisciplined and sloppy through the first 40 minutes. So much for patience with this expansion team, #VegasStrong wants a #CupIn1.

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