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While Hellebuyck has been a revelation, the 24-year-old has never played in the postseason. A hot goaltender is a key ingredient for a long playoff run, so I assume he’ll stay composed under pressure. Stingy defense is another ingredient, and the Jets have been stellar on D. They are fifth-best in the league in goals per game, allowing 2.6. The Capitals are more mediocre in this area, as a leaky defense has been a concern since training camp. Washington is below the league average, allowing 2.93 goals per game.
As it stands now, the Jets would face the Wild in the first round, and that’s a tough matchup. The Capitals, meanwhile, would draw the Devils — young and plucky like the Jets, but once again, potentially overmatched by experience. My heart wants the Jets to make a long playoff run, but my gut says the Ovechkin-led Capitals — a team that has plenty of experience playing in April and May — may make it further.
Kings coach John Stevens decided to put That 70’s Line on hiatus for a night.
Instead, having forwards Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson play with center Adrian Kempe gave Los Angeles’ chances of making the postseason a much-needed reboot.
Toffoli and Pearson scored, Kempe had two assists and the Kings moved back into playoff position with a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.
Stevens shuffled his lines coming off a 7-2 loss to St. Louis on Saturday, getting the response he was looking for from Los Angeles’ three emerging stars on offense.
I was really happy for the Kempe line tonight, Stevens said. We talked to that line just how much we needed them to play like they did earlier in the year. It could really balance out our attack, and I thought they did tonight.