'Saucer-eyed': Caps, others count on rookies in National Hockey League playoffs

Winnipeg Jets strike first, down Vegas in Western Conference opener

I am not saying I want future expansion teams to be cup contenders out of the gate either, heck as a Sabre fan myself the last thing I want to see is Vegas in year one win when we are approaching 50 years with a no titles ourselves.

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

Tampa is deeper and slightly better than the Caps, but you get the feeling that this might actually be the Caps year. 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 Golden Knights are in their inaugural season and it has been one of the best seasons for a first time team in the history of the National Hockey League.

"Obviously, (I) feel responsible for the season ending at this point", Rinne said. They're naive and just play and have a lot of fun and it doesn't bother 'em.

Much of the same can be said for Vegas, which looked nothing like the team that opened its second-round series with a 7-0 shellacking of.

GOALTENDING: The Knights have a Cup champion in Marc-Andre Fleury, who leads all playoff goalies with a paltry 1.53 GAA and incredible.951 save percentage.

"They're a fast team and they have a lot of offense for sure", Vegas forward Jonathan Marchessault said, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

"Usually he plays better the more that's on the line".

More news: Pelicans have no more room for error in Game 5

The Winnipeg Jets are in their first Conference Final for the first time ever while playing in the National Hockey League. Winnipeg will host the first two games of the series beginning Saturday night at 6:00pm, with Game 2 scheduled for Monday night at Bell MTS Place. And the Jets, the one franchise that eventually retreated to a northern market clamoring for hockey, still have four key players from that final Thrashers team in 2010-11: forwards Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little and defensemen Dustin Byfuglien and Toby Enstrom. He allowed five or six goals on seven occasions in the regular season and came back with a win in the next game in six of those games.

Boston's top line of Brad Marchand (one goal, three assists) David Pastrnak (four assists) and Patrice Bergeron (two goals, one assist) combined for 11 points, a huge contrast from Tampa Bay's top line of Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and J.T. Miller, which went scoreless in Game 1. His seven goals in the series with the Preds set an National Hockey League record.

"Our best games in this series were after tough losses". Connor Hellebuyck was excellent as he made 36 saves on 37 shots. During the regular season, he was 44-20 with a 2.36 GAA and a.924 save percentage overall, including 30-7 with a 2.31 GAA and a.921 save percentage here at home.

Seventeen years later, the Golden Knights were treated far more generously.

Winnipeg has been a decent offensive team in the playoffs as they come in ranked 5th in scoring at 3.17 gpg, while also ranking 10th in shots taken (31.8 spg) and 8th in power play conversions, converting on 22.6% of their chances.

Only three more predictions to make this spring, and today we'll make two of them. Comparing how other expansion teams have fared with the Golden Knights' experience isn't exactly apples-to-apples.

Bottom line, if the Golden Knights are to win this series, they will need production from the second line. "The team that can play as close to their game as possible - their identity game - wins".

"Critics that want to criticize him don't know what they're talking about, I don't care if they played in the National Hockey League or not", Subban said, according to Brady Trettenero of the Nation Network.

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