But the Bears loaded up around

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But the Bears loaded up around

Postby zhangzk » 8th Oct 18, 03:28

What a difference a year makes.

A year ago at this time Eddie Jackson Jersey , the Winnipeg Jets weren’t even in the playoffs and the Vegas Golden Knights didn’t even have players.

Now they’re getting ready to pit their depth, speed and two of the postseason’s best goaltenders against each other when the Western Conference final gets underway in Winnipeg on Saturday night.

”We know what they bring, we know that they’re good, that they maybe surprised a few teams, but not really,” said Paul Stastny, whose Jets advance to the final with a Game 7 victory over the Predators on Thursday night. ”They had 109 points. In a sense they play like us, they have a lot of depth and they can roll four lines and they have good, puck-moving D. So we’re going to have our hands full for sure.”

Vegas beat the Jets in two of their three regular-season meetings, splitting the two games in Winnipeg and winning the lone meeting at T-Mobile Arena. Two of those games were with Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury out with an injury.

Fleury has had a tremendous postseason, registering four shutouts, a .951 save percentage and 1.53 goals-against average – all career bests. Appearing in his first postseason, Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck has a 2.24 GAA and a .927 save percentage.

Fleury had five days off in between series while Hellebuyck will have had just 48 hours to prepare for one of the fastest and most potent offenses in the league.

”It is a quick turnaround Travis Konecny Jersey ,” Hellebuyck said Thursday night. ”We’re going to get our rest, we’re going to enjoy tonight and get back to it. Rest is a weapon, but I think the way we battle in this room, I think we’re prepared for anything.”

Here are other things to watch in this series:

SCORING

The Jets have some of the best scoring depth of any team in the NHL, led by 44-goal scorer Patrik Laine. And he’s on the second line. Winnipeg’s top line of Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler scored a combined 208 points in the regular season. The Jets’ second line wasn’t far behind, with Laine, Stastny and Nikolaj Ehlers scoring 183 points. Winnipeg is tied with Washington for the most goals (43) during the playoffs.

Vegas also boasts two potent lines but is capable of rolling four dangerous lines to balance the scoring across 12 forwards. The Golden Knights had four players finish with at least 60 points this season, led by William Karlsson (43 goals, 35 assists). Linemates Jonathan Marchessault (75 points) and Reilly Smith (60 points) complete one of the best lines in the NHL.

RAGING ROOKIES

Both teams have first-year phenoms who can’t be overlooked.

Vegas’ Alex Tuch has four goals and three assists as the sole postseason rookie for the Golden Knights.

Winnipeg forward Kyle Connor scored his first two career playoff goals and added an assist in Game 5 against Nashville to become the first rookie in franchise history to post a three-point game in the playoffs. Connor, who scored nine goals over his last 13 regular-season games, had two assists in the Jets’ 5-1 victory over the Predators in Game 7.

REST OR RUST

The Golden Knights may have the advantage of rested legs, but they also will catch a dangerous Jets team that could still be fueled by momentum from Thursday’s win. Vegas had a long layoff after the first round and beat the Sharks 7-0 in Game 1 of the next series. But San Jose also had extended time off.

ROAD WARRIORS

Both teams have shown they can win on the road in the playoffs.

The Golden Knights won Games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles to complete a first-round sweep of the Kings Mika Zibanejad Jersey , then took Games 3 and 6 in San Jose. Vegas has lost only once on the road in the postseason.

Winnipeg is 4-2 on the road in the playoffs after splitting a pair in Minnesota in its opening-round series against the Wild. They took three on Nashville’s home ice.




The Chicago Bears spent the offseason loading up to end a string of losing seasons. They just made their biggest move.

The Bears acquired star pass rusher Khalil Mack from the Raiders in a massive trade on Saturday that sent two first-round draft picks to Oakland.

Mack held out for the entire offseason and preseason, seeking a new, long-term contract rather than play under the final year of his rookie deal that would have earned him $13.8 million. Raiders coach Jon Gruden, in his biggest move since returning to the sideline from the broadcast booth, accommodated the 27-year-old Mack by dealing him.

Oakland will get first-round selections in 2019 and 2020, a sixth-rounder next year and a third-rounder in 2020. Oakland also included its second-round selection in 2020 and a conditional fifth-rounder that year.

Mack and the Bears agreed to a six-year, $141 million extension that guarantees $90 million. That makes him the highest-paid defensive player in league history one day after Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, signed a six-year, $135 million deal, with $87 million guaranteed.

ESPN first reported the trade.

The fifth overall selection in the 2014 draft, Mack is a two-time All-Pro and the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Mack has played in every game for Oakland the past four seasons, with 231 primary tackles Danny Trevathan Jersey , 40½ sacks, and nine forced fumbles.

“We are excited to add a special playmaker like Khalil to our football team,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said in a statement. “He brings a ton on the field, but he really fits what we are building in our locker room, too. Elite defensive players in their prime are rare so when we knew we had a legit shot to acquire him, we did everything we thought necessary to get him.”

Since entering the league, Mack leads all players with 185½ quarterback pressures and ranks second with 68 tackles for loss, according to SportRadar. He is one of the most versatile defenders in the NFL.

Simply put, he’s a game changer.

The move sent shock waves around the league.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr tweeted “No way” and added: “#RaiderNation we feel your pain trust me but we need you next Monday night!” Oakland linebacker Bruce Irvin made his feelings clear with a profane post. He later wrote, “What a shock. Now move on and win.. time to beat the Rams!!”

Mack had been a cornerstone in Oakland along with Carr ever since being drafted and helped the Raiders end a 13-year playoff drought in 2016. But he never formed a relationship with Gruden, who had said the opportunity to coach Mack was one of the reasons he was attracted to the job.

Gruden had called Mack Oakland’s best player but decided to go in a different direction rather than give another player a contract worth more than $20 million a year after Carr got a lucrative extension last summer.

General manager Reggie McKenzie said the two sides traded initial offers before the start of the league year in March and weren’t close at all. The gap never narrowed.

“My whole thought process was to get Khalil in here,” McKenzie said. “It was here at the end in the final hour that it kind of just hit and it hit hard and heavy. It was not the plan to trade him at all.”

The Raiders invested heavily in the pass rush in the draft, taking tackles P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst Jeff Petry Jersey Kids , and end Arden Key in hopes of teaming them with Mack and Irvin. The three rookies showed promise in the preseason, but they will never get the chance to play with Mack.

Oakland hosts the Rams on Sept. 10. Chicago opens on Sept. 9 in a prime-time game against Green Bay.

A thrilled Bears left tackle Charles Leno Jr. tweeted a video of himself dancing to Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack.”

A three-time Pro Bowl pick, Mack is also the best pass rusher acquired by the Bears since they signed Julius Peppers away from Carolina with a six-year deal in 2010.

The Bears last traded two first-round picks when they acquired quarterback Jay Cutler from Denver in 2009. The deal for Mack is another bold move by Pace as he tries to lift a struggling franchise.

Chicago has four straight last-place finishes in the NFC North, five seasons in a row without a winning record, and just one playoff appearance since the 2006 team reached the Super Bowl.

But the Bears loaded up around prized quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, firing coach John Fox and replacing him with the offensive-minded Nagy. They added some new playmaking targets, most notably former Jacksonville Pro Bowl receiver Allen Robinson.

The Bears re-signed defensive coordinator Vic Fangio after passing on him for the head coaching job and drafted linebacker Roquan Smith with the No. 8 overall pick.

Now, the Monsters of the Midway are adding one of the NFL’s top pass rushers to a defense that ranked 10th overall and tied for seventh in sacks despite not having a Pro Bowl player. With his speed and power, Mack gives the Bears a huge threat on the edge to go with Leonard Floyd on the opposite side.

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zhangzk
 
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