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Publicar un nuevo temaPublicar una respuesta Página 1 de 1   [ 1 mensaje ]
Autor Mensaje
 Asunto: the puck out by any m
NotaPublicado: 10 Ago 2018 06:55 
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Registrado: 26 Jul 2018 08:35
Mensajes: 99
After winning 14 of 15 games and opening a 10-point lead in the Central Division Jonathan Cooper Color Rush Jersey , the Nashville Predators were due for a fall. Three games in four days against Toronto, Minnesota and Winnipeg — the last two on the road — provided the proper setup for a slump.

Three losses later, including Sunday night’s 5-4 shootout setback to Winnipeg, Nashville’s lead has been cut in half. That sets the stage for a little more drama in the regular season’s final two weeks as the Predators now lead hard-charging Jets by just five points with seven games left.

The schedule-maker provided Nashville with a providential three-game homestand, starting Tuesday night with Minnesota’s final visit of the regular season.

At 48-16-11, the Predators have 107 points, good for a one-point lead on Tampa Bay in the battle for the Presidents’ Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. To hold onto that, Nashville will look to end its brief skid against Minnesota.

Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis said the team should be encouraged by their performance in Winnipeg, where it managed a point on the second half of a back-to-back and came within a post — Kyle Turris beat Connor Hellebuyck but not the iron right before overtime ended — of two points.

“It’s not about Xs and Os so much,” Ellis said. “It’s about being on the puck first, hitting guys first and initiating stuff like that. Tonight, in a back-to-back versus that team, it was a good game for both sides.”

It was definitely a good game for Nashville’s backup goalie http://www.bengalsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-sam-hubbard-jersey , Juuse Saros, who stopped 43 of 47 shots and gave his team a chance to leave Canada with two points. The rested Jets put 25 shots on Saros in the second period alone, and he made three clutch saves in overtime.

Pekka Rinne (40-11-4, 2.27 goals-against average, .928 save percentage), coming off consecutive losses for the first time since mid-December, should get the start in net against Minnesota. The Wild have beaten him all three times they’ve faced him this season, including a 4-1 verdict Saturday night that featured the ejection of Predators coach Peter Laviolette late in the third period.

Minnesota (42-24-9) had a chance to cap its weekend with a stirring come-from-behind win over Boston on Sunday night but ceded a Brad Marchand goal 28 seconds into overtime and fell 2-1 despite 26 saves from backup goalie Alex Stalock.

“We hit a couple of posts and we had a goal called back,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We got three of four points this weekend against two of the best teams in the league, so we’re holding our own. This was a big point.”

Minnesota enters with 93 points, three more than Colorado, and stands third in the Central. The Wild are 3-0-2 in their last five games but play five of their last seven on the road.

Devan Dubnyk (32-14-6, 2.60 http://www.bengalsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-mark-walton-jersey , .916), who owns three wins against Nashville this season, should get the call in net. Minnesota will get a fresh face in the lineup with the signing of Boston University standout Jordan Greenway, who had 13 goals and 22 assists this season for the Terriers. He’s expected to make his NHL debut in Nashville.

Like he does with so many things, Sidney Crosby makes it look easy.

There was the time he shot the puck off the post and swatted the rebound into the net out of midair. Or, the time he waited for the puck to drop and backhanded it in for a goal. Or, when knocked the puck up to himself with his stick before tapping it in.

”I think it’s just instincts,” Crosby said.

It’s actually a mix of natural talent, instincts, awareness, timing, patience and hand-eye coordination. Crosby’s Pittsburgh teammates are still amazed every time he does it – and they should be.

”It’s just a reactionary thing,” Penguins winger Conor Sheary said. ”When you see the puck go in the air http://www.eaglesauthorizedshops.com/authentic-markus-wheaton-jersey , you just try to bat it. He’s better at it than a lot of other guys, and I don’t know what that is.”

Batting a fluttering piece of frozen rubber 3 inches in diameter and 1-inch thick with a stick blade 2 to 3 inches wide is no simple task. Doing it at full speed in an NHL playoff game certainly raises the degree of difficulty. Yet a handful of goals have been scored or saved already this postseason with a player somehow able to connecting their stick with an airborne puck at the perfect time.

As recently as Tuesday night, Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin batted the puck out of the air off the post in Crosby-esque fashion for the game-winner to beat the Penguins.

”I hit the post and it’s a good thing I didn’t raise my arms up,” Ovechkin said. ”I finished up the play and got lucky.”

Teams don’t have drills for this kind of thing, but hockey players are always noodling with the puck, so the familiarity with both stick and puck becomes ingrained at an early age. Playing baseball and other sports growing up can’t hurt. Washington Capitals forward Brett Connolly, who scored a baseball-style goal with Boston in 2015, thinks players learn the skill and try to use it when they can.

”Your athleticism kind of takes over at that point,” Connolly said. ”Once your hand-eye is at a high level, you kind of track the puck. I think as hockey players we’re always looking around, we’re so quick, our eyes are all over the place and we’re staring at the puck. You kind of just take a chance at it and sometimes it works out.”

It worked out for Toronto’s Connor Brown on his goal in Game 5 of the first round when the puck bounced off a defenseman’s stick and he knocked it in before goaltender Tuukka Rask knew where it was. Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky didn’t know where the puck was when captain Nick Foligno whacked it out of the air to prevent a goal during the first round against Washington, either http://www.packersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-marquez-valdes-scantling-jersey , a product of years of work.

”That was actually my guy, so the least I could do was bat it out,” Foligno said. ”Honestly, I practice it so much with playing around with the puck that you just get used to it playing so many years. Obviously, a little bit of luck to make sure you get it out and not hit somewhere else.”

To the surprise of no one, Crosby’s career is full of similar highlights. He once slugged a home run during batting practice at PNC Park some years ago.

On the ice, Crosby doesn’t have to hit the puck as hard as Aaron Judge hits a baseball or as precisely as Roger Federer hits a tennis ball, but Penguins winger Bryan Rust correctly points out: ”They’re also looking for it to be in the air. Our sport, the puck’s not supposed to be in the air.”

Crosby and others figure it out anyway.

”There’s a lot of things you’ve got to be aware of, and you need pucks to be in those areas to do it,” Crosby said. ”Sometimes you can go a period of time where you don’t get a puck that sits right there for you. I’ve been around the net when pucks have been able to kind of just lay there for me. There’s a lot of different factors, but I think just being in and around the net trying to expect different things and being ready for it.”

Playing peewee baseball explains some of it for Crosby, a two-time season and playoff MVP who works on redirecting and bating pucks so often in practice it has become a routine way for him to score.

Not so much for others Orlando Brown Jr. Color Rush Jersey , like Bruins forward Sean Kuraly, who played the waiting game during Game 1 of Boston’s series against Toronto and batted the puck in while falling over Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen.

”You have to wait for the puck to come down,” the otherwise-impatient Kuraly said. ”I’m a terrible baseball player. It has nothing to do with baseball.”

Goalies with thicker blades on their sticks get into the act, too. Andersen robbed Rick Nash on a sure-fire goal in the first round in Game 6, and Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray extended his stick to stop Ovechkin in Game 2 of the Penguins-Capitals series.

Goaltenders are counted on to keep the puck out by any means necessary.
Imagen
Scoring a goal by batting the puck in? Well, that’s just fun.

”It’s a creative game. You’ve got to mix it up and be creative,” Connolly said. ”To score, you’ve got to try and do something different sometimes to get one.”



AP Sports Writers Jimmy Golen in Boston and Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed.



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