That should make it more comfortable for players
That should make it more comfortable for playersin Hähnchenführer 21.08.2018 09:46
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Gerard Gallant didn’t consider pulling Marc-Andre Fleury as another game and perhaps the Vegas Golden Knights‘ Stanley Cup hopes slipped away.
The struggles and another pile of Washington Capitals goals are on the entire team. Gallant couldn’t pull all his players at once.
”There was nothing that he could have done Cheap Frank Ragnow Jersey ,” Gallant said.
As the face of the franchise and its backbone on the ice, Fleury did just about everything to lead the expansion Golden Knights to the Cup Final with a .947 save percentage that made him the playoff MVP front-runner. In four games against Washington, Fleury has allowed 16 goals on 103 shots, a pedestrian .845 save percentage that speaks as much to Vegas crashing back down to earth as a team.
There is plenty of blame to pass around for the Golden Knights as they face a 3-1 series deficit that no team since the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs has overcome in the final. Vegas needs Fleury to be better and his teammates to improve in front of him in Game 5 on Thursday night or they will watch their opponent celebrate a championship their home ice.
”When you’re a goalie you don’t want to get scored on,” Fleury said. ”There was a lot of that (in Game 4). It’s never a good feeling. It’s a team game. Everybody’s trying hard out there, trying to help me out. We’ll find a way to make it work.”
It’s not working right now. The Capitals’ strategy of making lateral passes to get Fleury moving side-to-side is proving effective at even strength and on a power play that’s scoring at a 26.7 percent clip.
Forward Alex Tuch said staying out of the penalty box is one necessary improvement, but it goes beyond that. Vegas has ridden Fleury to this point and now has to cut down on the high-danger scoring chances he’s facing and too often allowing to turn into goals.
”Play better defensively,” Gallant said Tuesday. ”There’s too many guys staring at the puck carrier, and we’re leaving the back side open too much. Make sure we’re paying attention to the guys behind the puck and away from the puck. Marc will make the save on the guy shooting the puck. We’ve just got to make sure we’re taking away the passes.”
Fleury didn’t make the save on Devante Smith-Pelly on the doorstep in Game 4 as the Golden Knights fell behind 3-0 despite one of their best periods of the series that featured James Neal’s inexplicable shot off the post facing a wide-open net. As Gallant pointed out, Fleury had little chance on others as Washington put up six goals in a blowout .
Golden Knights players can’t help but feel like they’re letting ”Flower” down.
”We have the best goalie in the league and he’s been carrying (us) the whole year along and we feel like the goals … there’s not much you can do on those,” center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said. ”This is the frustrating part.”
Fleury acknowledged falling behind 3-1 was demoralizing. But the 33-year-old refuses to say fatigue has been a factor for him or his teammates.
”I think everybody’s fine,” Fleury said. ”It’s the same for their team Marquis Haynes Jersey Elite , also. They’ve been through the same season, same playoffs. Being tired is no excuse.”
The Golden Knights have lost three games in a row as they near the end of an otherwise-charmed inaugural season. Perhaps Fleury has one more stand-on-his head, stop-everything game left in him in front of the home fans in Las Vegas, but the Golden Knights will need more than a singular effort from their goalie.
”Not where we want to be, that’s for sure,” Fleury said. ”Nobody’s quitting. We’re going home. We’ve had some success there. We just have to focus on period at a time, you know? Don’t think too far ahead. Just play our game, see where that takes us.”
More Stanley Cup coverage: Chiefs linebacker Reggie Ragland was in swaddling blankets the previous time Kansas City won a home playoff game.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill was nestled comfortably in the womb.
It was January 1994, Joe Montana was the quarterback and the Chiefs beat the Steelers on an overtime field goal by Nick Lowery to advance.
And it’s hard to believe anybody packed inside Arrowhead Stadium that day imagined a quarter century would pass without another home playoff win.
”It would be nice to break that,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said, ”but you can’t add any extra motivation once you get to this stage. This is all the work we’ve been putting in as this team from day-one – this team. When we were putting in our goals and talking about that.
”It’s tough to add any more motivation with historic streaks or things like that.”
Besides, the Titans (9-7) are trying to end their own maddening stretch of playoff futility.
Tennessee rumbles into Kansas City for the wild-card round Saturday in its first postseason trip since 2008 Michael Brantley Jersey , when the Titans were the AFC’s top seed.
If they can waltz out with a win, as they did in 2016, it would be their first playoff victory since January 2004.
”It’s playoff time,” Titans safety Kevin Byard said. ”I dream about … matchups, about going up against guys like (Travis) Kelce and going up against Andy Reid, a Hall of Fame-level coach. He’s a great coach. And going into Arrowhead Stadium, one of the louder stadiums, I don’t think there’s better you can ask for in the first week of the playoffs.”
Indeed, there are story lines galore in a game that could be overshadowed by higher-profile matchups, or perhaps overlooked because of the Chiefs’ midseason swoon and the Titans’ late-season slump.
Smith is trying to validate the best season of his career in what could be his final game for the Chiefs (10-6). Hill is hoping to show off his world-class speed on a national stage.
And running back Kareem Hunt, who won the NFL rushing title this season, will have a chance to etch his name alongside the likes of Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell as one of the league’s best.
”If you lose Kalen Ballage Jersey Elite , you go home,” Hunt said simply. ”Everybody is giving their all not to go home.”
On the flip side, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota will try to rewrite the story of an up-and-down season with his playoff debut. Running back Derrick Henry and his supporting cast will help. And embattled coach Mike Mularkey will try to prove he was the right man for the job all along.
”The intensity and everything goes up when you get to this point,” Mularkey said.
As the Titans prepare to visit the Chiefs, here are a few more story lines to watch:
DEEP THREAT: The Chiefs lost kick returner Akeem Hunt to an injury last weekend against Denver, and special teams coach Dave Toub said Hill could return against the Titans. The speedster was taken off that particular duty this season to keep him fresher for the offense.
Toub was asked what the Chiefs lost in that sacrifice. ”Maybe two touchdowns,” he said flatly.
SPEAKING OF SPECIAL TEAMS: The Titans beat the Chiefs 19-17 in December 2016 on a game-ending field goal by Ryan Succop, who had spent most of his career with Kansas City. Succop came up short on his first attempt at the 53-yarder, but Reid had called timeout just before to give him another shot.
Succop made the mulligan for a victory in the coldest game in franchise history.
MARIOTA’S MOMENT: The Titans’ young quarterback had struggled down the stretch, when they lost three straight to fall off the playoff pace.
But while his numbers against Jacksonville last week to help clinch a postseason berth were modest, several teammates said Mariota got his swagger back.
”It was just me being me,” he said. ”Again Authentic A.J. Green Jersey , I’m going to do whatever it takes to win. This is the time in the season when you’ve just got to lay it all on the line.”
WATCH FOR FLAGS: The Chiefs were among the most penalized teams in the NFL this season, getting flagged 118 teams. The Titans were the second-best in the league, drawing just 85 penalties – second-fewest in franchise history for a 16-game season. In a playoff game with razor-thin margins, penalties could be the difference between winning and losing.
ARROWHEAD MYSTIQUE: The weather should be in the 40s for kickoff Saturday, or about 40 degrees warmer than when these teams met last season.
That should make it more comfortable for players, but also fans that will be plenty lubricated from their tailgates by the late afternoon kickoff.
”There’s nothing like Arrowhead Stadium when that place is packed,” Reid said, ”and it’s a little cold and the ground is shaking a little bit. It doesn’t get any better.”