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Sami Vatanen and forwards Michael Grabner

in Dies ist ein Forum in der Kategorie 21.12.2018 02:28
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SAN JOSE Adidas Scott Mayfield Jersey , Calif. (AP) Very little separated San Jose and Anaheim in the regular season, with the Ducks edging out the Sharks by one point for second place in the Pacific Division.Their first-round series wasn’t nearly as competitive.The Sharks rode their superior depth, potent power play and stellar goaltending from Martin Jones to the second sweep in franchise history, knocking out the Ducks with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night.”We’re playing well going into the second round,” defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. ”Everybody is contributing if it’s offensively, blocking shots, taking a hit. Everybody is doing what they have to for us to win.”After jumping on Anaheim early to win the first two games on the road, the Sharks earned a lopsided win in Game 3 thanks to undisciplined play by the Ducks and then withstood a strong push to end the series in Game 4.Jones kept Anaheim at bay for long stretches in the second and third period before finally allowing a tying goal to Andrew Cogliano. San Jose then took 1:16 to answer and scored the eventual series-clincher when Vlasic’s point shot deflected off Tomas Hertl and into the net.”The response goal was huge,” coach Peter DeBoer said. ”We were on our heels. They were pressing. It’s tough to play an elimination game when you get an opportunity to sweep a really good team like that.”The Sharks were in control for most of the series, outscoring the Ducks 16-4 in their most lopsided series in franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.San Jose got as many goals from its fourth line in the series as Anaheim had from its entire team with Marcus Sorensen scoring his third of the series to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead in the first period of the clincher. Eric Fehr also had a goal from the fourth line in the series.”Every night they hopped over the boards with energy and grabbed momentum for us, drew penalties Adidas Dustin Tokarski Jersey ,” DeBoer said. ”They were fantastic, but I’ve said from Day 1 we need to be a four-line team if we’re going to have success. And I think the teams that are moving through are. I watched Vegas a little bit last night. They’re a four-line team.”The expansion Golden Knights are also the next team in the Sharks’ way. The two will meet in the second round starting sometime next week in just the second series in the past 22 years featuring teams coming off sweeps in the previous round.Vegas finished off the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night, part of a record-setting inaugural campaign that included a Pacific Division title in the regular season.The Sharks will likely need another strong defensive effort next round led by Jones. He was brilliant in the clincher, making several tough saves against Corey Perry. He also had a shutout in Game 1 and set a San Jose playoff record with 45 regulation saves in Game 3.He finished the series with a .970 save percentage, helping the Sharks earn their second sweep in franchise history after also doing it in the first round against Vancouver in 2013.”Goaltending wins this time of the year,” forward Logan Couture said. ”He was fantastic. He made a lot of Grade A saves. He was our best penalty killer. They had some really good looks. Perry had a lot of chances that Joner made some big saves on.”By extending their season another round, the Sharks may be able to get star center Joe Thornton back in the lineup. Thornton has been out since injuring his right knee on Jan. 23. He has resumed skating and took part in warmups throughout the series but has said he doesn’t want to return until he knows he’s healthy enough to help the team and make it through what he hopes will be a run to the Stanley Cup Final.The Sharks have time now to figure that out.”That’s all hypothetical,” DeBoer said. ”That doesn’t even cross our desk. Those decisions will be something if he is healthy we’ll make then. Sometimes those things sort themselves out. I’m just really proud of our group, the resiliency, the composure.”— NEWARK, N.J. (AP) The worst season in nearly three decades is just a recent memory, and so is the five-year drought.The New Jersey Devils are back in the playoffs Adidas Robin Lehner Jersey , and again in the hunt for the Stanley Cup. It’s like old times.The Devils completed a remarkable comeback season by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Thursday night to clinch their first postseason berth since making it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012.It capped an offseason and regular season that saw general manager Ray Shero reshape half his 25-man roster through free agency, the draft and trades and have John Hynes make all the right moves to keep his team in a playoff position every day of the season.Not bad for a club that won 28 games and finished last in the Eastern Conference in 2016-17.”This is the best, the best,” said veteran defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2016. ”My first stint in Pittsburgh and Anaheim and then again in Pittsburgh, I never appreciated what baseball players did. I thought it was stupid when they would come in and have champagne when they made the playoffs. I get it now. Making the playoffs is hard.”The Devils can point to so many players in bouncing back from their worst season since 1988-89. Taylor Hall (39 goals, 54 assists) had a career year that teammates feel merits the Hart Trophy as the league MVP. Top draft pick Nico Hischier overcame a slow start to have 19 goals and 51 points. Free agent Will Butcher set a team record for rookie defensemen with 44 points.The unsung hero was goaltender Keith Kinkaid, who stepped for an injured Cory Schneider and carried the team over the final 10 weeks, going 10-1-1 in the last 12 games and helping the New York-metropolitan area avoid being shut out of the postseason for the first time since the Devils took up residence in New Jersey in 1982. The Rangers and Islanders will miss the postseason.”It’s fun, but playoffs are a new breed,” said Kinkaid, who re-signed with the team in the offseason despite being an unrestricted free agent.There are only two players left from the Devils’ 2011-12 team: defenseman and captain Andy Greene Adidas Leo Komarov Jersey , and Travis Zajac, who centers the line Hynes’ uses against the opponent’s top line.While there have been lean years, Zajac said the Devils rediscovered themselves this season. They practiced and played hard, and made sure opponents knew they were in for a battle every game.The results have been a 44-28-9 record that includes a 25-8-9 mark in one-goal games. It was a record that reminded many of the old Devils, a franchise that made the playoffs 20 of 22 times and won three Cups between 1989-90 and 2011-12.This group, however, skates faster and is relentless.Last year, the Devils were disappointing underachievers. Their biggest sin was failing to compete every night. And they paid the price, especially down the stretch when they went 3-17-4.Hynes and Shero changed that. It started with the roster makeover that included the signing of veteran Brian Boyle, and an attitude readjustment.”It’s a different skill set and youth,” said Shero, who also strengthened the team during the season by acquiring defenseman Sami Vatanen and forwards Michael Grabner and Patrick Maroon in trades. ”But they had to fight Adidas Valtteri Filppula Jersey , they clawed and scraped to get what they’ve got and they’ve earned it.”With a game to play, the Devils won’t learn their first-round opponent until Saturday at the earliest. They are the top wild-card team in the Eastern Conference, and they will at least stay there if they win at Washington on Saturday night. They also could go up or down depending on what Columbus, Philadelphia, Florida and Pittsburgh do.It really doesn’t matter. The Devils are just looking forward to the postseason.”You go into this year thinking it’s going to be a bigger challenge,” said Boyle, who provided inspiration by overcoming cancer early in the season. ”Plenty of people were writing us off. It makes it pretty sweet to clinch. I have just tried to tell everyone: `It’s going to be so much fun. You have never played hockey this fun in your life until you play playoff hockey.”’—

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