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lin yelan (elaine95)
Free Member · Join Date: 29 May, 2018 · Posts 253
25 Sep, 2018 · #1
LOS ANGELES — With the help of an unlikely ally Jake Ryan Jersey , the Los Angeles Kings will be celebrating a return to the postseason when they face the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night at Staples Center.

The Kings (44-28-8) qualified for the postseason on Wednesday night with the St. Louis Blues’ 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Los Angeles returned to the postseason in coach John Stevens’ initial season behind the bench. Stevens replaced Darryl Sutter after the Kings sputtered to a 10th-place finish in the 2016-17 season and combined with new general manager Rob Blake to pivot the team into a more up-tempo, offensive-minded team while not forgetting their defensive roots. The result was a double-digit standings point improvement and a slight chance to gain home-ice advantage if the Kings win their remaining two games and the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks lose in either of their last two matches.

Los Angeles is battling through significant injuries among its defensive corps that could place two rookies into the lineup on Thursday. Jake Muzzin and Derek Forbort are sidelined with injuries that have them categorized as ‘week-to-week’ by Stevens. Forbort suffered a lower-body injury early in the first period against Colorado, forcing Stevens to utilize Alec Martinez for 32:11 of game play. Paul LaDue stepped in to play 16:32, and fellow rookie Kevin Gravel looks to round out the third defensive pair.

Along the forward wall, winger Alex Iafallo, a fixture on the Kings’ top line alongside Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, will miss his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury.

“It’s been the next man up,” Stevens said. “It’s odd that there are that many defenseman injuries this time of the year. It’s the schedule, everybody wants to put pucks in deep and forecheck, so the speed of the game — Minnesota’s lost a couple guys Darius Leonard Jersey , just like we have.”

The Kings recorded victories in the two previous games between the teams this season, winning 5-2 on Dec. 5 in Los Angeles and getting a 4-3 overtime triumph on Mar. 19.

The Wild (44-26-10) clinched a playoff spot on Monday night and opened their three-game California road trip with a 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. Matt Dumba registered the Minnesota goal and Devan Dubnyk stopped 27 of 29 Anaheim shots.

Despite a loss in a game that was meaningless to their postseason aspirations, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau liked his team’s performance in a tight checking game that should be the brand of hockey they will face in the postseason.

“The first two periods we were really good,” Boudreau said. “The third period they definitely outworked us. It was a great test that this is what playoff hockey’s going to be like. The Ducks were in the third period a desperate hockey club. Maybe it’s a cheap lesson learned, hopefully.”

Their remaining two games will not affect their playoff seeding as they are locked into the No. 3 seed in the Central Division and will face either the Nashville Predators or the Winnipeg Jets. With both potential opponents among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, Boudreau welcomes the challenges they present.

“The great thing is, if you can beat either one of those teams, you can beat any team in the league because those are two of maybe the top three teams in the NHL,” Boudreau said.

Like Stevens, Boudreau must manage a team with significant injuries on the blue line with less than a week until the playoffs starts.

Ryan Suter Trent Williams Jersey , one of the top defenseman in the NHL, was lost for the season after suffering a fractured right ankle in a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday night. Suter underwent surgery on Monday to repair the fracture.

Entering the playoffs, there was some question if the Philadelphia 76ers could keep up their torrid pace.

After the most lopsided Game 1 victory so far, consider the question answered. Emphatically.

The 76ers head into Tuesday’s Game 2 8 p.m. showdown with the Miami Heat riding a 17-game winning streak — including Saturday’s 130-103 win at Wells Fargo Center — and with the knowledge that Joel Embiid’s return may come sooner than later.

For their first playoff trip in more than a half-decade, things aren’t starting off so bad for Philadelphia.

“Now I think we are 26-1 at home since Christmas, we’ve won a lot of games in a row, it sort of all adds up,” head coach Brett Brown said. “We’ve talked a lot about how do we come out of halftime. Lots of times in the normal regular season it’s not uncommon for both teams to need to have the dust shaken off of them to respond and start playing competitive basketball again.”

Philadelphia seemed well-oiled — and well-prepared — against the Heat in Game 1, even after trailing by four at the half. The 76ers blitzed Miami with a 34-18 third quarter and then slammed the door shut with a 40-25 fourth quarter, hitting the 130-point mark for the third time in five games.

“They just played unbelievably http://www.washingtonredskinsteamonline.com/zach-brown-jersey ,” Miami guard Goran Dragic said. “They were hitting some shots, they didn’t run away from the game. They were physical the whole game. They have some good shooters. We just fell apart at the end of third, beginning of the fourth quarter. We didn’t play defense well. Most of the shots, that’s the shots, they were making. We can do nothing about that. We need to go and see film, try to get better and get back to work Monday.”

If Embiid returns sooner than later, the Heat could be in big trouble.

Embiid cleared concussion protocol on Sunday, Brown said, though the team does not have a specific date for return. Embiid, who missed the final eight games of the regular season after colliding with teammate Markelle Fultz and suffering an orbital bone fracture and a concussion Tarell Basham Jersey , told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that he feels ready to contribute.

“If it was my decision, I would play, but I can’t get back out on the court if I don’t have the OK from them,” said Embiid, who averaged 22.9 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 63 games in the regular season. “But everything has been going well. I’ve been able to do everything. And I feel great. So we got a pretty good chance for Game 2 or Game 3. We gonna see how it feels in the next couple of days.”

Should Embiid return, the 76ers will add to their decisive front-court advantage over the Heat. Miami’s best offensive post player may be reserve forward Kelly Olynyk, who had 26 points and seven rebounds in 31 minutes off the bench in Game 1.

Center Hassan Whiteside had just two points and six rebounds in 12 minutes in the first game.

“It’s not about him,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game. “This series and this game are going to move quickly. There are a lot of substitutions both ways and there is not a lot of time based on the flow and the matchups. It’s not necessarily an indictment to his first four minutes but we all have to collectively be better on Monday.”

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