NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 21, 2018

by | May 21, 2018 | News, NHL | 3 comments

Vegas Golden Knights are going to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights have become the first expansion team since the 1967-68 St. Louis Blues to reach the Stanley Cup Final. Ryan Reaves’ second-period goal stood as the game winner to give the Golden Knights a 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets to win the Western Conference Final in five games.

Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves, pushing his 2018 postseason record to 12-3 with a 1.68 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage. The Golden Knights await the winner of the Eastern Conference Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals. 

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has backstopped the Vegas Golden Knights into the 2018 Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury was the difference maker in this series against the Jets, coming up with big saves at crucial moments to preserve his club’s leads. He has to be considered the favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

The Golden Knights did a great job neutralizing the Jets’ impressive offensive depth in this series. Apart from the series-opening contest, the Golden Knights never trailed in a game.

As for the Jets,  head coach Paul Maurice denied his club had run out of gas by the Conference Final. But after Game 1, they were constantly on the back foot, forced to play catch-up and stymied by Fleury’s goaltending and the Golden Knights’ speed and aggressive checking.

The Jets appear to have a bright future, but that’ll depend upon what moves general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff makes this summer. I’ll have more later this morning in the Rumors section. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning have done a good job of shutting down Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin in the last three games of the Eastern Conference Final. Fourth-line forwards Cedric Paquette, Chris Kunitz and Ryan Callahan, along with blueliners Anton Stralman and Dan Girardi, have made life miserable for the Capitals captain. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals need a hero heading into Game 6 tonight down three games to two, and it needs to be goaltender Braden Holtby, who’s been outplayed in this series by Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals need all hands on deck if they hope to stave off elimination and force a seventh and deciding game on Wednesday night in Tampa Bay. That means their best players, including Ovechkin and Holtby, must be at their best. Anything less means they’ll be clearing out their lockers tomorrow and hitting the golf course soon afterward. 

 

 

 








3 Comments

  1. It is impossible to put into words what the Golden Knights have done.

    No executive in sports history has ever had a better year than McPhee just did.

    Gallant might have authored the best coaching job in sports history.

    The question is what lessons can be drawn by others teams from their success…

    The first is obviously depth.

    The Pens proved last year, by winning without their best D man, that you are as good as your weakest link, not your strongest. (Ironically, Letang was so bad this year that he proved it from both sides).

    By getting the 8th best player from every team, the Knights lacked a lot of big name “strong links” but their “weak links” were all very good players.

    Also, McPhee’s extortions were brilliant. He needed centers. Badly. But he bluffed the Wild and Jackets into giving him extra assets and the centers he probably wanted all along.

    The other main thing that seperates the Knights is their back pressure. The Pens couldn’t sustain that level from their forward group this year after winning two Cups with back pressure being the key staple of their game. The Knights have taken it to another level. Their team works so hard every night.

    Oh, and Marc is a pretty good goalie. That helps. He’s sealed his HOF bid now.

  2. “Their team works so hard every night”.
    Any team that can do this will please their fans, and do well. Having, in essence, four second lines and three second pairings, in front of an elite goaltender, is a good formula in the salary cap era. In the absence of a true superstar, rather than simply paying top players star money some non-expansion team may try this. It will be interesting.

  3. the knights play a great team game because of a great coach.fleury was dynamite! but does anyone else hate the holding that the knight seem to get away with.they seem to squeeze your arm or stick under thier arm along the boards to make it look like a puck battle when it is in fact holding.i have never seen a team execute it so well.i call it garbage hockey and it reminds me of the N.H.L. before the rules changed to stop hooking and holding.if you watched the game closely(and didn’t have a phone in your hand),you would have seen7 of these plays in the 3rd period alone that should have been called penalties! now how is the league going to fix this? they are probably not.just turn your head and pretend it isn’t happening! if you enjoyed the game on sunday,then you can’t be a ‘real’ hockey fan no matter which team you were hoping for.do everything you can to slow down the other team! garbage hockey!