Juggernaut Jets? Winnipeg could follow Kings’ 2012 Cup run

Randy Lewis experienced a little deja vu watching the Winnipeg Jets sweep Edmonton in the first round.

He texted his Jets forward son, Trevor Lewis, that the team was giving him flashbacks to the 2012 Los Angeles Kings — the team that also knocked off a heavily favored opponent and buzzsawed through the playoffs on the way to the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

From the lack of expectations to an elite goaltender, young stud defenseman and a gritty veteran captain, Winnipeg looks like a carbon copy of LA nine years ago.

Trevor Lewis, the only player on both of those teams, sees the parallels in goalies Connor Hellebuyck and Jonathan Quick and the us-against-the-world mentality that fuels them.

“There’s definitely comparisons with Quickie when he was unbelievable and Hellebuyck — he’s been awesome for us,” said Lewis, who spent 12 years with the Kings before joining the Jets this season. “A tight-knit group and kind of going in as an underdog and no one really giving you a chance.”

Almost a decade since the Kings won their first three series with a total of two losses, the Jets’ next chance to show they belong in that company starts Wednesday when they host Game 1 of the second-round series against Montreal. The Canadiens will surely know what’s coming.

“Maybe Edmonton was a little surprised at our commitment to defense and how tightly we were able to check some of them early in the series,” Winnipeg forward Adam Lowry said. “I don’t think moving into round two you’re going to see that. I think you’re going to get every team’s best every night and the better team’s going to come out on top.”

The opening round was a showcase for Hellebuyck, No. 1 defenseman Josh Morrissey and captain Blake Wheeler. After the 2012 Kings held Henrik and Daniel Sedin to seven points in five games, the Jets limited likely MVP Connor McDavid and reigning MVP Leon Draisaitl to nine in the sweep.

Morrissey averaged 30 minutes a game, doing his best impression of Kings top blue liner Drew Doughty.

“Every player wants to have the opportunity to play as much as you can and sort of run with that,” Morrissey said. “I certainly relish that opportunity.”

Hellebuyck, the 28-year-old reigning Vezina Trophy winner, stopped 151 of 159 shots. Quick is also American and was emerging in his mid-20s as one of hockey’s best netminders.

“Goalie’s obviously one of the biggest parts to winning the Cup, especially looking back to my time in LA with Quickie there,” Lewis said. “Bucky, he’s awesome. He’s our best player, and we’re going to need him a lot.”

The Jets are also leaning on their captain like the Kings did with Dustin Brown in 2012. Brown became the second U.S.-born captain to hoist the Cup, and Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler is aiming to be the third.
Wheeler took a puck to the midsection late in the third period of Game 4 against Edmonton in one of those captain-making moments the Jets have gotten used to seeing from him.

“It’s not just in the games: It’s how he moves around the room,” coach Paul Maurice said. “He’s in a great mood. He’s excited. … Blake’s a driver. He’s a grinder and he’s a driver and he’s a wired guy. So when he brings more than that like in terms of having fun around it, he kind of lightens the room a little bit.”

Maurice is a lighter touch as coach compared to gruff Kings coach Darryl Sutter, though their resumes are alike. Sutter was on his fifth NHL head coaching stop, while this is Maurice’s fourth and he has been around long enough to have been behind the bench for the Hartford Whalers.

“They’re definitely similar in how they know the game,” Lewis said of the coaches. “They might get the message across definitely, but you definitely understand when they’re trying to get something across. They might have different ways of going about it, but their knowledge of the game is pretty similar.”

Similarities to the Kings may be coming a little soon for some younger members of the Jets.

Andrew Copp, who was a senior in high school when LA made its run, is well-versed in comparisons to the 2016 Nashville Predators who went to the final despite entering the playoffs as an afterthought He doesn’t want to get too far ahead of himself.

“Any time when a team is discounted or maybe an underdog in the first round and kind of gets out against a team that was kind of expected to move on, I think you start drawing parallels to (Los Angeles) or Nashville,” Copp said. “But we’re not really concentrating on drawing parallels to Stanley Cup winners just yet. We’re just kind of worried about Game 1 of the next series.”

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    Hughes has first NHL hat trick, Devils beat Capitals 5-1

    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
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    NEWARK, N.J. – Jack Hughes had his first career NHL hat trick, Vitek Vanecek made 38 saves against his former team and the New Jersey Devils beat the Washington Capitals 5-1 on Saturday for coach Lindy Ruff’s 800th victory.

    “It’s exciting,” Hughes said. “Couple of two-goal games in my career, so nice to cap it off with the third one tonight.”

    Ruff became the fifth NHL coach to reach the 800-victory mark. The former Buffalo player won 571 games with the Sabres from 1997-2011. He had 165 wins in five seasons with Dallas and has 64 in two-plus seasons with New Jersey.

    “It means I’ve been around a long time,” Ruff cracked. “Great to win the game. Again, you got to do a lot of right things, have good teams, and the way our team is playing I have to give them a lot of credit for getting me there.”

    The Atlantic Division-leading Devils have won two in a row after seeing their franchise-record 13-game winning streak snapped by Toronto.

    Devils captain Nico Hischier and Fabian Zetterlund also scored.

    John Carlson scored for Washington and Charlie Lindgren made 24 saves.

    “Not scoring goals, not capitalizing on our chances,” Carlson said. “We’ve had our chances, especially today, but we only walked away with one goal. We could have had five or six. It’s just not going in right now.”

    Vanecek, meanwhile, was hoping for the shutout against a familiar foe.

    “That would have been nice, but that’s hockey,” Vanecek said, “For sure you’re trying, but not every time; the win is more important.”

    Hischier opened up the scoring with his 10th goal of the season midway through the first period on a power play after Alexander Ovechkin was called for slashing.

    Hughes wrapped the puck around goalie Lindgren’s right leg and the goal post to put the Devils up 2-0 5:59 into the second period. Hughes appeared to have lost his angle on the goal when he ripped a shot off Lindgren’s face mask and into the net midway through the period for his 10th goal of the season to give New Jersey a 3-0 lead.

    The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick added his third midway through the third period as hats rained down on the ice with New Jersey up 4-0.

    “You want to continue to play the right way, but if an opportunity comes you want to definitely put it in the back of the net with authority,” Hughes said. “So tonight, I was able to cap it off and it was nice.”

    Fabian Zetterlund capped the scoring for New Jersey late in the third period.

    NOTES: The Devils improved to 16-0-0 this season when Hischier has a point. New Jersey’s Nathan Bastain (upper body) did not return after the first period. . Ovechkin is still nine goals away from 800 and 11 from passing Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL goals list.

    UP NEXT

    Capitals: At Vancouver.

    Devils: At the New York Rangers.

    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.