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Shortly after the San Jose Sharks were denied by the iron for the fourth time of the night [url=http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/dean-lowry-jersey]http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/dean-lowry-jersey[/url] , Marc-Andre Fleury rubbed the goal post to thank it for his good fortune.
There’s something magical about the ride the expansion Vegas Golden Knights have been on all season and now it’s going all the way to the Western Conference Final.
Fleury made 28 saves in his fourth shutout of the playoffs and the Golden Knights have made it to the NHL’s final four in their inaugural season after beating the San Jose Sharks 3-0 in Game 6 of their second-round series Sunday.
”It was maybe a little bit of a shock, but I’m proud of our team, our organization, the way they did things here,” Fleury said. ”I’m proud to be where we are right now.”
Fleury, who was part of three Stanley Cup-winning teams in Pittsburgh, is a main reason for the success. He allowed just three goals in a first-round sweep against Los Angeles, posted shutouts in Games 1 and 6 against the Sharks and was also spectacular in an overtime win in Game 3.
He had plenty of help from a crew of castoffs who have come together in Vegas to form a team that has a legitimate shot at a championship. Vegas next will play either Winnipeg or Nashville in the Western Conference Final. The Jets lead that series 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Monday night.
”We deserve to be here,” coach Gerard Gallant said. ”We’re a good team, we play hard and we played well all season long. The two teams we played were very good hockey teams and we were very evenly matched with those teams.”
Jonathan Marchessault opened the scoring, Nate Schmidt added an insurance goal that was only detectable by replay and Cody Eakin sealed it with an empty-netter to help Vegas become just the third team in NHL history to win multiple series in its first season.
The Toronto Arenas won the Stanley Cup in the first postseason in league history in 1918 and St. Louis won two rounds to win the all-expansion West Division in 1968.
The Sharks had numerous opportunities all night but were thwarted by a couple of shots that hit the iron, some acrobatic saves from Fleury and other chances that trickled just wide. This marked the fourth straight postseason for the Sharks that ended with a loss on home ice.
”It’s very disappointing, you get this far and lose, it’s disappointing,” Sharks forward Logan Couture said. ””It’s extra disappointing when you don’t play the way that you know that you’re capable of. … That’s something that’s very difficult to take.”
The Golden Knights took control of this game with some good fortune in the second period. It started when usually reliable Marc-Edouard Vlasic turned the puck over in his own zone. Reilly Smith took control near the blue line and found Marchessault alone in front for a goal that trickled between Martin Jones‘ pads.
The Golden Knights then added to the lead after an icing by Brent Burns led to an offensive zone faceoff. David Perron beat Tierney on the draw and Schmidt took a shot that appeared to deflect off the post and out.
Play went on for 25 more seconds before the buzzer rang, with the situation room in Toronto calling for a video review. That quickly showed that the puck bounced off the post [url=http://www.falconsauthorizedshops.com]Falcons Game Jerseys[/url] , off a piece equipment inside the net and out.
Vegas then had a delayed celebration for the goal that made it 2-0.
”I had no idea,” Schmidt said. ”I’d never seen something like that happen where they blew the play dead, but when I was skating back to the bench and all the guys were yelling, `It’s in.”’
That was the type of bounce the Sharks didn’t get early in the game when they hit the post or crossbar three times in the opening period and then again in the third when they tried to cut into Vegas’ lead.
They also had several other chances that either Fleury turned aside with acrobatic saves, trickled just wide or they were unable to get a clean shot, like a rebound Couture whiffed on from the slot in the first period with an open net.
”It’s a fine line,” coach Peter DeBoer said. ”I think we had a couple of those that didn’t go in. That’s hockey. But Vegas deserves to be moving on. They played great. They finished the chances when they needed to and got saves when they needed to.”
NOTES: Jones made 30 saves. … Vegas F William Carrier was scratched with a lower-body injury and replaced by Ryan Reaves, who played his first game this postseason.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have lost their three-time Pro Bowl tight end at least for a big chunk of the season.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota is being evaluated after hurting his throwing arm, and two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan is in the concussion protocol.
And that’s just the latest injuries for the Titans.
Now Tennessee has to see who’s healthy enough for the home opener Sunday against AFC South rival Houston (0-1) and adapt accordingly.
“What we’re going to do every week is try to figure out what gives us the best chance to win, personnel wise, who we have available, maybe who we’re playing obviously,” rookie coach Mike Vrabel said Monday.
“We’ll be flexible enough to use any personnel that we think will help us win. I don’t think we can commit to anything right now.”
The Titans already are down starting right tackle Jack Conklin, who was inactive against Miami as he recovers from a torn left ACL repaired in January.
On defense, starting linebacker Derrick Morgan played only 14 snaps in the Titans’ 27-20 loss in Miami as the Titans work the veteran back in after a preseason injury.
Tennessee’s top two draft picks also are linebackers [url=http://www.officialhockeypanthersshop.com/authentic-adidas-vincent-trocheck-jersey]Adidas Vincent Trocheck Jersey[/url] , and Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry both missed the opener with injuries.
Add to that the Titans are recovering from the league’s longest game since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970 because of two lightning delays that made the matchup in Miami last 7 hours, 8 minutes from the opening kickoff to the final second ticked off.
Morgan said it wasn’t easy warming up, cooling down again and again, but thinks the Titans learned some mental toughness from the day that wouldn’t end.
“Hopefully it never happens again and we never have to play football for eight hours straight,” Morgan said.
Mariota is being evaluated after he lost sensation in his right hand after the game from his injured right elbow. He was intercepted twice — both after taking a hit from Dolphins defensive lineman William Hayes following a handoff. Vrabel said they’re hopeful of getting a good report back on Mariota’s arm needing everybody that’s healthy and available.
Blaine Gabbert, signed this offseason, replaced Mariota and threw for 117 yards with an interception. The Titans do have rookie Logan Woodside on the practice squad, but will wait for a report on Mariota before deciding whether to add another quarterback.
Vrabel did say he told defensive coordinator Dean Pees to take note of how officials are handling quarterbacks carrying out a fake on a run-pass option.
“If that’s legal, then we have to do it the same exact way,” Vrabel said.
Lewan was resting Monday. Asked about Dolphins lineman Andre Branch’s hit, Vrabel said it probably wasn’t dirty even if the coach thinks his left tackle “absolutely” was targeted.
The Titans put tight end Delanie Walker on injured reserve Monday and the tight end will have surgery on his right ankle in the next few days. Walker came into the season with the most catches in the NFL by a tight end between 2013 and 2017. He also has been Mariota’s favorite target, leading the team in receptions in two of the past three years.
Vrabel said the Titans will evaluate Walker’s potential to return this season after surgery. Jonnu Smith, a third-round pick out of Florida International in 2017, has 19 receptions and will be the first expected to fill in for Walker. Smith had talked to Walker and said the veteran was in good spirits.
“It is some big shoes to fill,” Smith said.
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