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13 Sep 2018 03:24


  • That the NHL’s two best teams during the regular season are going to a Game 7 on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Keenan Allen Jersey , Tenn., isn’t a big surprise.

    That the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators have mirrored each other statistically in several key areas speaks to how equal — and good — they are and were in combining for 231 regular season points.

    In their Western Conference semifinal, they have each attempted 338 shots and put 177 shots on net during 5-on-5 play, per Natural Stat Trick. Nashville has a 12-11 edge in 5-on-5 goals, while Winnipeg owns a 66-65 advantage in high-danger chances.

    The teams have also alternated wins, with the Jets taking the odd-numbered games. Both are 2-1 on the road in the series, so one could say that the Predators have home-ice disadvantage for a win-or-die showdown.

    But there is one big factor in Nashville’s favor — Game 7 experience. Its roster has a combined 45 games of Game 7 experience, as opposed to Winnipeg’s 12. Only seven Jets have ever played in a Game 7, none with this franchise.

    It is Winnipeg’s first Game 7 since the franchise moved from Atlanta following the 2010-11 season Cory James Jersey , and the Predators’ third in franchise history. It’s also the first Game 7 Nashville has ever played at home.

    “I would expect that the way we play matters the most,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “We’re certainly glad to be back in our building with our fans, they’ve been incredible all year long, but we really need to focus on the game. Just make sure we’re ready to play the game and do the right things on the ice.”

    Nashville certainly did all the right things in Game 6, other than take three first period penalties. But its penalty-killing and Pekka Rinne’s play in net were matchless as it captured a 4-0 win, preventing the Jets from reaching a conference final for the first time.

    Rinne bagged 34 saves for his fifth career postseason shutout, while Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg each scored two goals. Forsberg made the highlight clips with his second goal, a between-his-legs wrister at point-blank range early in the third period that essentially ended the game’s competitive phase.

    Winnipeg vows it won’t do anything different in preparation for the biggest game in franchise history.

    “There’s no big speech or departure from our game,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said following practice Wednesday. “The important one that was delivered all year is to enjoy what we do. Have the confidence that you’re going to go out and perform at your best. You can’t be on pins and needles.”

    Winnipeg has outscored the Predators 22-18 in the series and seems to be the healthier team going into Game 7. While the Jets should be able to ice their regular lineup John Lynch Jersey , Nashville might have to play without center Mike Fisher, who left Game 6 in the first period because of an undisclosed injury and never returned. Fisher didn’t practice on Wednesday.

    The series survivor will host Vegas in Game 1 of the conference finals on Saturday night.

    OAKLAND, Calif. — One team already assured of a losing trip and another hoping to avoid a losing homestand meet up for the third straight day looking for a series win when the Los Angeles Angels face the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon.

    The clubs entered the series on losing streaks, and each has ended its slide with a win. The Angels prevailed 8-4 on Friday night before the A’s got even with a 6-4 win on Saturday afternoon.

    The loss was the fifth in eight outings on a nine-game trip for the Angels, who will take the field Sunday without 14 players currently on the disabled list.

    That number was 15 after Los Angeles lost four more guys on the eve of the series, but shortstop Andrelton Simmons returned from a sprained left ankle Saturday to anchor an Angels defense that played error-free ball in the loss.

    Left-hander Andrew Heaney (3-5, 3.68 ERA) will try to send the Angels home for a six-game homestand on a winning note. If his recent pattern continues, he should be due for a strong effort.

    Heaney has allowed one or no runs four times in his last eight starts, with each followed by a lesser effort in which he has been roughed up for a total of 16 runs.

    He’s coming off one of the bad ones Tanoh Kpassagnon Jersey , having been bombed for five runs and seven hits in three innings of a 5-3 loss on Monday at Seattle. Monday’s outing occurred after he tossed a one-hitter June 5 against the Kansas City Royals.

    Heaney has pitched well against Oakland in his career, going 2-1 with a 3.79 ERA in three starts.

    He won his only previous start in Oakland, allowing three runs in seven innings in a 9-4 win in September 2015. He served up a home run to A’s catcher Josh Phegley that day.

    The A’s will counter with right-hander Daniel Mengden (6-6, 3.90), who has neither an encouraging recent trend nor a history of success against the Angels.

    Mengden has lasted just 8 2/3 innings in his last two starts, bombed for 12 runs and 13 hits by Texas and Houston in losses.

    He has never beaten the Angels, having gone 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA in two starts.

    The 25-year-old faced the Angels at home in the third game of the season in March, allowing six runs (five earned) in 5 2/3 innings of an 8-3 loss.

    If there’s a positive to be taken from that game, it was that Angels third baseman Zack Cozart Brian Poole Jersey , currently out of the lineup with a shoulder injury, was Los Angeles’ big hitter with a double and a triple.

    The A’s had hoped to take advantage of a second 10-game homestand since May 22, but have failed to do so despite opening with three wins in four games against Kansas City.

    They followed that by losing four straight, three to Houston, before rallying from behind for Saturday’s win.

    The club is now 4-5 on the homestand and 19-20 at home this season.

    Oakland went just 4-6 on its 10-game homestand against Seattle, Arizona and Tampa Bay.

    Like the Angels, the A’s featured a new look in their middle infield Saturday with the promotion of top prospect Franklin Barreto. He was recalled when third baseman Matt Chapman landed on the disabled list with a right thumb contusion.

    The 22-year-old second baseman went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the win, making him 0-for-10 with six strikeouts this season.
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