© Chuck Duboff
I do know a little bit about hockey, but have to admit that I have no idea what is going to happen in this Western Conference Final between the Winnipeg Jets and the Vegas Golden Knights. Both teams have earned their right to still be playing hockey in the middle of May; say what you want about Vegas, but they had a great season and have dispatched both the LA Kings and San Jose Sharks. You don’t do that without any talent or solid coaching.
So, what to expect. My first concern is Game 1 tonight. The Jets are saying all the right things about just going out and playing their game, but it’s been less than 48 hours since beating Nashville…and the Jets have got to be both physically and mentally fatigued. Meanwhile, Vegas has had a week of rest and come to Winnipeg fresh and ready to take on the Jets.
It will be a speed game; both teams emphasize playing with speed and this could be a track meet from the drop of the puck in Game 1. I don’t anticipate a lot of physicality in these games, but would give a slight edge to the Jets in this department. Listening to the experts talk, it sounds like its important for the Jets forwards to get on the Knights D-men as they are trying to get the puck out of their zone…there’s a tendency for mistakes if they are harassed in their own zone. As for goaltending…it’s a toss up…of course Marc Andre Fleury has been sensational and deserving of all the praise he has been getting; but, Conner Hellebucyk, in his very quiet way, has been just as good. It’s a cliche to say that whoever gets the better goaltending will win, but, whoever gets the better goaltending will win. (you like that?..lol)
If the Jets can win both games 1 and 2 at home, I see this being a very short series, but if Vegas can steal one in Winnipeg, I can see it going 6 or 7 games. I really struggle with making a prediction when I don’t know much about Vegas, but, if pressed, I will say Jets in 6 games.