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|SAINT PAUL Davon House Jersey , Minn. — The Winnipeg Whiteout — that tradition which has Jets fans celebrating the region’s often inclement winter weather by wearing white to playoff games — seemed like a good idea, especially as raucous home crowds helped spur the Jets to a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven first round playoff series with the Minnesota Wild.
The concept of a whiteout was less fun for the Jets come Saturday, as they tried to make their way to the Twin Cities for Game 3. A freak April blizzard hitting central Minnesota shut down MSP Airport during the day, forcing the Jets to land in Duluth, Minn., in the early afternoon.
The Jets’ plane returned to Winnipeg, so the club will fly to Minneapolis tomorrow morning.
That’s about the worst thing that has happened to Winnipeg so far in the playoffs, as the Jets have dominated the last five periods of this series and even survived the Wild’s attempt to send a message in the final seconds of Game 2 as fists flew all over the ice in a “playoff normal” show of increasing bad blood between these Central Division rivals.
This franchise has never won a road playoff game, and as much as they enjoyed home ice in the first two games, the Jets are aware that a less-than-friendly reception is likely in Minnesota.
“They’re the next-best home team in the National Hockey League and they’re going to get into their comfort zone real good Delano Hill Jersey ,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said Saturday before the team left and returned to Winnipeg. “It’s a loud building, so what we need to do is handle it. Our game won’t change, the things that we want to accomplish on the ice, but it’s going to feel different on the bench.”
The Wild, who along with Anaheim and Pittsburgh are among only three teams in the NHL to make the playoffs in each of the past six consecutive seasons, headed home Friday night in a sadly familiar position. Minnesota has trailed a series 2-0 in five of those six playoff seasons, including a year ago when it lost the first two at home and fell to St. Louis in five games.
The pre-series concern for Minnesota was how their defense would fare without mainstay Ryan Suter, who was lost for the season with an ankle injury. Instead, the concern after 120 minutes of hockey has been the Wild offense, which has managed only three goals and 37 shots in two games. The Wild lost three consecutive games just once this season.
“No matter how you cut it Andre Holmes Jersey , guys play for seven months, and if they go down 0-2, they’re a little bit disappointed, but it’s not like getting down 0-2 in your building and having to go to their building,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said after the team practiced in its rink Saturday. “I don’t think we’ve got any room for rest. We’ve got to play our absolute best.”
Although Boudreau allowed extra rest for defenseman Matt Dumba, who has averaged 28 minutes, 30 seconds of ice time in the first two games as they try to fill the gap caused by Suter’s absence. Dumba stayed home from practice Saturday under orders from the coach, who said he will be ready on Sunday.
NEW YORK — The New York Islanders know Thursday night will be their final home game of the season as well as the last time they call Barclays Center their sole home.
But the most important bit of information remains unknown, and will likely remain a mystery for almost three more months: Will Thursday night also be the final time John Tavares suits up at home for the Islanders?
An uncertain future will overshadow the waning days of a disappointing season Thursday night when the Islanders host the New York Rangers in a battle of teams playing out the string.
Both teams were off Wednesday after playing Tuesday. The host Islanders edged the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 while the visiting Rangers fell to the New Jersey Devils 5-2.
The local rivals will be playing for nothing more than pride and the opportunity to avoid finishing in last place Thursday, when the Rangers (34-37-9) will take the ice one point ahead of the Islanders. This is only the sixth time since the Islanders (33-37-10) joined the NHL in 1972-73 that both teams will miss the playoffs.
Soon John Miller Jersey , the Islanders will find out if failing to reach the postseason for the second straight season and the short-term uncertainty of their arena situation are enough to drive Tavares away from the only team for which he’s played.
Tavares, whom the Islanders selected with the first overall pick of the 2009 draft, is scheduled to reach free agency July 1. And while his attendance at press conferences earlier this season announcing the Islanders’ plans to build a new arena on Long Island and to split the next three seasons between Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum (the team’s old home) could be construed as good signs for his future in New York, he has offered no hints one way or the other as the season has spiraled downward.
The Islanders are just 8-17-5 since the All-Star break and have just one winning streak of longer than two games since November.
“Obviously, the season will end on Saturday,” Tavares told reporters following practice Wednesday. “I want to go about it the right way and be the best captain I can be. When the time is right, it will all come to fruition and it will all be over at the same time. It’s gotten to this point now. I can’t say how it’s going to go going forward.”
The Rangers, who are winless in five games (0-4-1) at Barclays Center, will not be sad to see the Islanders exit Brooklyn. Lately, the Islanders have thrived against the Rangers regardless of locale Logan Thomas Jersey , going 8-1-2 against their closest rival since the start of the 2015-16 season.
“Obviously, we haven’t had a lot of success against the Islanders,” head coach Alain Vigneault told Newsday following practice Wednesday. “It’d be good for us to change that, and we’re getting an opportunity tomorrow to do that.”
Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak will likely get a chance to continue his mastery against the Rangers, who will start backup netminder Ondrej Pavelec.
Halak has sat the last three games — his most recent action was March 27, when he recorded 33 saves and earned the win in a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators — but is 17-7-0 in 25 career games against the Rangers, including 3-0-0 this year and 10-3-0 since joining the Islanders prior to the 2014-15 season.
Pavelec hasn’t played since last Friday, when he took the defeat after recording 43 saves in the Rangers’ 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is 4-8-3 in 15 career games against the Islanders.
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