NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 21, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 21, 2018

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.