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Jets vs. Golden Knights Predictions odds schedule

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    To fully appreciate this year’s Western Conference finals matchup, let’s time travel back to 2011, shall we? The Atlanta Thrashers were going through the motions of what would become their final season before moving to Winnipeg and the hockey in Vegas wasn’teven a figment of Gary Bettman’simagination.Three NHL franchises haven’t made the playoffs in the seven seasons since, let alone reach the Stanley Cup semifinals. Ten more haven’t won a Mike Piazza Jersey single playoff series.Yet here we are: A first-year expansion team meets a first-time final four participant for the right to play for a championship.GOLDEN STANDARD By point totals, the Jets and Golden Knights were the West’s second- and third-best teams from the regular season. They’re also two of the most exciting teams in the NHL, deploying high-flying offensive attacks built on speed and precision with the star power to match.Winnipeg is in the conference finals for the first time ever, dating to the franchise’s first incarnation.Vegas has achieved the benchmark in a slightly more timely fashion, taking the NHL by storm.Sporting News’ NHL experts , and make their series predictions below.MORE: Jets (-145) vs. Golden Knights (+125): Schedule, picks, predictionsGame 1: May 12 at Winnipeg, 7 p.m. (NBC, CBC, fuboTV)Game 2: May 14 at Winnipeg, 8 p.m. (NBCSN, CBC, Sportsnet,fuboTV)Game 3: May 16 at Vegas, 9 p.m. (NBCSN, CBC, Sportsnet,fuboTV)Game 4: May 18 at Vegas, 8 p.m. (NBCSN, CBC, fuboTV)*Game 5: May 20 at Winnipeg, 3 p.m. (NBC, CBC, Sportsnet, fuboTV)*Game 6: May 22 at Vegas, 9 p.m. (NBCSN, CBC, fuboTV)*Game 7: May 24 at Winnipeg (NBCSN, CBC, fuboTV)(All times Eastern; * If nece sary) Regular season meetings: VGK, 5-2 (11/10); WPG, 7-4 (12/1); VGK, 3-2 Darryl Strawberry Jersey OT (2/1)MORE:Tale of the tapeOffense: Now that the Penguins and Predators are out, the Jets have three of the top five scorers remaining in the postseason. Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler are 1-2 (16 and 15 points, respectively), and Scheifele’s 11 goals pace the entire field. Alex Ovechkin is the next closest with eight. Paul Stastny has 14 points. Vegas’ top goal-scorers are William Karl son,Alex TuchandJonathan Marche sault with four apiece.Advantage: Jets Defense:Similar to theirforwards, the Golden Knights distributeice timepretty evenly acro s the top six. Nate Schmidt is the only one who averages more than 20 minutes per game. Due respect to him andShea Theodore, the Jets have a more dynamic top four led byDustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba. Tyler Myers, arguably Winnipeg’s fifth-best defenseman, has three goals in the playoffs, including the one that started the Game 7 avalanche against the Predators.Advantage: Jets MORE: Goaltending: Marc-Andre Fleury has been magnificentthrough two rounds, sporting a.951 save percentage in10 games four of them shutouts and allowing just 17 goals. All of that leads the league. A career playoff heel, Fleury’s resurrected his reputationto become a clear Conn Smythe favorite.The question is: How much longer can he keep this up? The Golden Knights have given their goalie marginal offensive support (2.90goals per game) thus far,so Fleury is the single most critical player to the outcome of this series. In the other net is Connor Hellebuyck, a playoff rookie who’s validated his standing as one of the NHL’s best goalies with a.927save percentage (.942 at even strength).He’sallowed two or fewer goals in eight of12 startsAdvantage: SplitSpecial teams: Vegas’ ability to consistently kill off penalties throughout the playoffs has been remarkable. They’ve been short-handed 40times in 10 games, second-most next to Washington (which has played 12 games), but surrendered just six power play goals against (85 percent). Winnipeg makes up with a sub-par penalty kill by scoring at a 25 percent clip on the power play. Whether they can replicate that succe David Wright Jersey s against the Knights will be one storyline to watch.Advantage: Golden Knights Coaching:Paul Maurice and his staff have been free of coaching headaches so far in the playoffs with their top six clicking in most any situation. If it isn’t broken, don’ Juan Lagares Jersey t fix it, and they’ve maintained a level-headed approach. On the other bench, Gerard Gallant is a coach of the year shoo-in for his work all season finding ways to fit players into ideal roles that maximize their ability. In this series, his biggest task is to find ways to get the top line of Karl son, Marche sault and Reilly Smith into favorable situations.Advantage: Split MORE:Staff predictionsBrandon Schlager(9-3):They said the Kings, with their two Stanley Cups, would be too structured and battle-tested to handle. They said the Sharks speedy, coordinatedand full of dynamic offensive talent would beat them at their own game. They were wrong. All of them. The Golden Knights defied logic all season and then cut through the best challengers the rest of the Pacific Division had to offer on their way to the conference finals. Their first-year fairytale is fueled by a confluence of camaraderie, creativity, great coaching, and some good fortune. There’s no making sense of it beyond that. Now it’s on to Winnipeg, the would-be Presidents’ Trophy winner and Central Division champion had the Jets’ season of dominance not coincided with the Predators, who they just beat in seven games to formally announce their designs onthe Stanley Cup.I’ve believed in Vegas thislong, and still do, but this isn’t the Pacific Division anymore. This is where they’ll say the Jets, armed with the deepest and most talented group of forwards in the league, vasty outnumberthe Knights’ top scorers and can wear them down.If not,Hellebuyck has shown he’ Edwin Diaz Jersey s up to the task, having already outplayed fellow Vezina finalist Pekka Rinne. They’ll say Fleury is due for some regre sion. Hell, I’m saying that.The Jets look like the most fearsome team in the NHL, and stealing two games from them would be an accomplishment in itself.Maybe, to my delight, I’ll be wrong. If nothing else, let’s not take the Golden Knights for granted and appreciatewhat will be the final chapter to one of the greatest sports stories we’ve seen in some time.Jets in 6 games Evan Sporer(8-4): Ive been incredibly anti-Vegas all season long. I didnt think theyd do anything in the regular season, nor did I expect them to make the playoffs, nor did I expect them to win two rounds. But here we are, and here are these pesky Golden Knights, who just keep winning, to the point where maybe we shouldnt be surprised.Ill say this, though: I pickedthe Sharkslast round not because I legitimately thought San Jose would win. I picked the Sharks to win that series in five games out of a pseudo-frustration with how we

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