Rested Golden Knights ready to face Jets in NHL's Western Conference final

Jets ready for quicker series with Vegas after seven game grind against Predators

Will Vegas triumph over a bruising and skilled Jets squad?

The goaltending matchup is a good one, pitting veteran Marc-Andre Fleury for Vegas against youngster Connor Hellebuyck.

The second round of the playoffs has come and gone, and what a round it was. Tyler Myers, acquired in the Evander Kane deal in 2015, scored the all-important first goal of the game, and Mark Scheifele, the Jets first-ever draft pick, seventh overall in 2011, scored a pair of goals in the win and finished the series with 11 points (7G, 4A).

"You'll get some good-natured heckling, but at the end of the day, we love our hockey, but we're known as "friendly Manitoba" and you'll see it come through if you come pop up for a visit".

We don't think so. Yet this is the same Islanders team that signed Andrew Ladd to an very bad long-term contract, but no one wants to consider that.

"Man, they gave us a big boost with their energy and enthusiasm", said Matt Niskanen, a defenseman in his 11th National Hockey League season. Vegas has lost only once on the road in the postseason.

Game 3: Wednesday @ Knights, 9 p.m. But Vegas had to have a lot go right to get where it is.

Braden Holtby was spectacular in defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Tampa Bay and Vegas have shown resiliency after a setback, as the are 19-8 following a loss, while the Golden Knights are 20-10-1. "For the game, if we keep playing well as a team, doing what the coach wants us to, with some speed and doing everybody doing their job in our zone, we should be in good shape". Even Tampa AGM Julien Brisebois was quoted as saying that Tampa couldn't have gotten over the hump without their two newly acquired stars.

Cooper put the through an intense, high-tempo practice Sunday in hopes of setting the tone for a more spirited performance in Game 2, after his team played with less intensity than in any of its first-round games against New Jersey. The Golden Knights do have the ability to rally late, winning six games this season when trailing entering the final period - fourth best in the National Hockey League. The fact that these two teams are squaring off for a Cup finals berth really speaks to the parity in today's National Hockey League, and how the 2017-18 season has been defined by underdogs eclipsing expectations, time and time again. Felt good, no injuries, totally healthy.

It's going to be either the "Golden Misfits" - as they've lovingly dubbed themselves - a team of castoffs that have virtually all played deeper into these playoffs than the organizations that just let them go.

"I think you approach it as you approached all the games you played so far in the playoffs", Jets captain Blake Wheeler said.

Why The Jets Win Well, how about the fact that they defeated the reigning Presidents' Trophy winners for starters?

One day after being put "on notice" by the National Hockey League for licking Lightning forward Ryan Callahan during Friday night's overtime loss in Game 4, there were no more such incidents involving Bruins winger Brad Marchand, who also made headlines after appearing to lick Toronto's Leo Komarov in the first round. There is no way you'd believe any of that that for a second. Vegas won the regular-season series with the Jets 2-1. Then they've had to wait another seven years for Jets 2.0 to be sculpted into a championship-calibre outfit. They're a threat on the powerplay, on the rush, and from the blue-line, and on the cycle down low.

In the final 10 seasons of the division's existence, the Panthers, Hurricanes and Thrashers combined for just four playoff appearances and were subjected in turn to the embarrassment of half-empty home games and relocation rumors that Atlanta ultimately succumbed to. "Quality player, you can see that on the ice, quality person ... until you have a player, someone like that, that can provide those experiences, you really don't know how much you have". Both teams were long-shots and now both teams are here.

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