Young Finland defenseman Heiskanen eyes NHL

The talented defenseman opened it at the junior world championship in Buffalo before becoming a mainstay on the Finnish men’s national team at the next two top tournaments: the Pyeongchang Olympics and the ongoing world championship.

In that time the 18-year-old has established himself as a reliable defenseman who has passed the test against top NHL talents at the tournament in Denmark. He plays in the top unit, meaning he has to stop the offensive aces of the opposition and that’s exactly what he has done.

NHL leading scorer Connor McDavid could attest to that.nike football nfl jerseys

On Saturday, Finland upset star-studded Canada captained by McDavid 5-1 and Heiskanen contributed a great deal.

He played 18:25 but his best moment came in the middle period when Canada was trailing 3-1 and desperately pressing to score. At one point, McDavid had just an empty net in front of him. Goaltender Harri Sateri was still at the far post and McDavid’s shot from the left circle was heading for goal.

But then Heiskanen came seemingly out of no where to Finland’s rescue, tipping the puck to safety.190

”It was almost in the net but I hit the puck,” Heiskanen said. ”It was a good save.”

When the two met in the third period, the result was a two plus two-minute penalty for high sticking for a frustrated McDavid, effectively ending Canada’s chances of a comeback.

Finland captain Mikael Granlund praised Heiskanen.

”I have seen him at the games here and nothing really surprises me about him,” Granlund said. ”The way he skates, the way he handles the puck and sees the ice. He can play these games. He’s been really, really good this tournament. He’s got a great career ahead of him.”

The obvious next step is the NHL.

The Dallas Stars picked him with the third overall selection in the 2017 NHL draft and signed him to a three-year entry level contract. He spent last season on loan with IFK Helsinki where he played since he was 17.cheap nfl throwback jerseys

He finished with 23 points including 11 goals in the regular season and added three goals and nine points in the playoffs.


US routs Norway 9-3 at hockey worlds, Germany upsets Finland

Captain Patrick Kane scored two goals for the second straight game and added an assist to lead the United States to a 9-3 victory over Norway for its sixth straight win at the ice hockey world championship on Sunday.

Defending champion Sweden also recorded its sixth win, 5-3 at the expense of Switzerland, while Finland was upset by Germany 3-2 in overtime – a day after the Finnish team outplayed Canada.

The Czech Republic beat France 6-0 for its second consecutive shutout.authentic nfl football jerseys

Kane scored with a slap shot from the right circle on a power play to open the scoring and added another power play goal almost from the same spot for a 2-0 lead.

The forward leads the tournament with 15 points for five goals and 10 assists.189

”A good performance by the team tonight,” Kane said. ”We had a lot of different guys to contribute and chip in, which is good to see, and give us a lot of confidence going into the next game against Finland.”

Forward Patric Hornqvist, who joined the Swedish team after Pittsburgh Penguins’ elimination from the NHL playoffs, scored in his first game of the championship against Switzerland.

John Klingberg, Mikael Backlund, Adam Larsson and Magnus Paajarvi also netted for Sweden.

Markus Eisenschmid scored the winner for Germany against Finland two minutes into overtime.

”For us to get a win against a nation that plays such good hockey is pretty big,” Germany captain Dennis Seidenberg said.

A day after a 5-1 victory over Canada, Eeli Tolvanen put Finland 1-0 up in the first period when the Germans were held to just two shots on goal.

But they came back in the second period. Frederik Tiffels tied it at 1 and Bjorn Krupp scored for a 2-1 lead. Sebastian Aho scored the equalizer for Finland with 2:06 left in regulation, forcing overtime.

”We were little bit down in the second period,” Finland captain Mikael Granlund said. ”Their goalie played a great game. Let’s move from there and let’s get ready for the next one.”

Germany goaltender Mathias Niederberger made 36 saves.nike football nfl jerseys

David Pastrnak and Roman Horak had two goals each and Dmitrij Jaskin and Martin Necas contributed one each for the Czechs against France.


Penguins limit Capitals’ Tom Wilson-less top line to even series

Alex Ovechkin was on the ice when Jake Guentzel scored into an empty net, sealing the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Game 4 victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. It was Guentzel’s second goal of the 3-1 victory, on his seventh shot. cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale Ovechkin ended the night with no goals, nor any shots for the first time in his otherwise-dominant 2018 postseason.

This was notable because this was the first game Ovechkin didn’t have Tom Wilson on his line with Evgeny Kuznetsov, as the big Capitals winger served the first game of a three-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese in Game 3.130

With Wilson in the lineup, Ovechkin had 31 shot attempts in the first three games of the series, resulting in three goals and two assists. Without him, and with winger Devante Smith-Pelly on his line instead, Ovechkin had two missed shots and nothing else on his offensive stat line.

“I don’t know if they’ve done anything differently. Trust me, Ovi will get his shots,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “I think [Smith-Pelly] did a really good job filling in. Obviously, Tom is a unique player. But I thought that line was going head-to-head pretty well.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china  There wasn’t much space out there on both sides. I mean, you look at, I think after two periods, there was only 15 shots or whatever for each side roughly. There wasn’t much space. We’re committed on both sides. We’ll just continue. I thought Devo did a real good job, and it’s next man up.”

As a member of the Capitals’ top line, Wilson created space for this linemates and made little plays that helped spring the two Russian scoring stars on odd-man rushes. He had at least a shot in the first three games; Smith-Pelly, in contrast, had one shot blocked but nothing on net in Game 4.


How the Penguins supported a grieving Matt Murray

When the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2016, goaltender Matt Murray celebrated in late July in his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario, a city of about 100,000 sitting at the northern side of Lake Superior. A small group of friends, family and former coaches and trainers gathered at a barbecue restaurant Murray’s cousin owns. Before eating, Murray’s father, James, showed everyone an 8-inch replica of the Stanley Cup constructed from tin foil. Matt had made it for Father’s Day when he was a child, and James had kept it ever since.

Anyone who knows Matt knows he considers his father, nfl nike jersey cheap who owned a small law firm in Thunder Bay, his hero. James Murray wasn’t much of an athlete; he only picked up skating in university. But he took pride in his son. Every summer beginning when Matt was 10, he and his father would fly to Toronto together for a weeklong goaltending camp. In the NHL, Murray proudly detailed his helmet with Dutch and Scottish flags — honoring his family heritage — and his parents’ initials.

Murray, 23, entered this season shouldering towering expectations; the Penguins are looking to become the first team in more than three decades to win three straight Cups. Meanwhile, management parted with the beloved and still capable Marc-Andre Fleury — a No. 1 pick who won 536 games (and three Stanley Cups) over 13 seasons in Pittsburgh — to signal full trust in the young goaltender. Neither Murray nor the Penguins began the season as they hoped. Murray missed two weeks in November with a lower-body injury. The first three months felt like a post-championship malaise. (In a thorny twist, Fleury and the upstart Vegas Golden Knights have outperformed Pittsburgh.)

This January, James Murray fell ill and was airlifted to a hospital in London, Ontario. The Penguins were in Anaheim on Jan. 16, preparing for a three-game California road trip when Matt Murray received the news: His father had died.128

When Murray found out about his father’s death, the Penguins were in fifth place in the Metropolitan Division and not in a playoff position. And yet the team didn’t hesitate to tell their No. 1 goaltender to take time off. They offered Murray several options to get from Anaheim to Thunder Bay. They said, Don’t worry about hockey right now. Come back when you’re ready. Murray was gone for six days.

“There is no doubt, none, that it was the right thing to do,” star teammate Sidney Crosby said. “It’s something tough to go through. I can’t imagine how hard it was for him. He’s pretty quiet as it is. As teammates, we tried to be supportive the best we can. Whenever he was ready we’d be there.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

The Penguins are on the brink of elimination Monday night when they host the Washington Capitals in Game 6. Down 3-2, Pittsburgh will once again turn to Murray (.905 save percentage, 2.49 goals-against average in the playoffs) to soldier through and shine in the playoffs — a hallmark of his career thus far. His story is a reminder of the humanity in hockey.


Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, Taylor Hall Named Ted Lindsay Award Finalists

The NHL Players’ Association announced the three finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award on Thursday: Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils.nfl authentic jerseys cheap

The NHL players vote on the award, which is given to the “most outstanding player in the NHL.”

All three are former top overall picks in their respective draft classes.36

McDavid, 21, was last year’s winner in just his second season and improved in his third campaign, leading the NHL in points with 108 (41 goals, 67 assists). If he wins the TLA for the second straight season, he’ll become the first player to win it twice before the age of 22, a potentially stunning achievement.

He would also become the first player to win it in consecutive seasons since Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby in 2013-14.

MacKinnon, 22, was excellent as well, registering 97 points (39 goals, 58 assists) while leading the Avalanche to their first playoff berth since the 2013-14 season.

And Hall, 26, had a career year for the Devils, nfl jersey wholesale scoring 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists) while guiding the Devils to their first postseason trip since the 2011-12 campaign. Were he to take home the award, he would become the first TLA winner in Devils’ franchise history.

The winner will be announced on June 20 at the 2018 NHL Awards.


Maple Leafs hope for new ending in Game 7 against Bruins

After beating the Bruins in back-to-back elimination games to force their first-round playoff series to the limit – just like they did in 2013 – the Maple Leafs are hoping to finish the job on Wednesday in Game 7 in Boston.

That’s something they couldn’t do five years ago, when they became the first team in NHL history to blow a three-goal, third-period deficit and lose a Stanley Cup playoff game.

”We’ve got some more work to do,” said goalie Frederik Andersen, reebok nfl jerseys who stopped 32 of 33 shots in Game 6 on Monday to help Toronto win 3-1 and prolong its season.

”It’s the same kind of pressure we’ve felt these last two games, where we’ve been facing elimination,” he said. ”Game 7 should be the same. It’s something that you all dream of – those big moments – and you also want to perform.”

So do the Bruins, who have struggled to put away Toronto for the second consecutive time. In ’13, the Maple Leafs won two straight and then opened a 4-1 lead in the third period of Game 7, but Boston scored a pair of goals 31 seconds apart in the final 2 minutes of regulation before winning in overtime.


Patrice Bergeron, who scored the game-winner, is one of seven Bruins remaining from that team, compared with four players wearing Toronto jerseys.

”It’s nice to have those guys,” said Boston forward David Pastrnak, who had four goals and five assists in the first two games of the series this year but only two assists since. ”They’ve been here a bunch, so they know what to expect. It’s good for our young guys to have them around.”

The winner of Wednesday night’s game will play Tampa Bay, nfl authentic jerseys cheap which eliminated New Jersey in five games. The Lightning will host the first two games, regardless of which opponent advances.

”I don’t think there’s any panic at all in this group,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said.

Toronto feels the same way.

”We think we’re going to win,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. ”We’ve thought that all along, and we’ve crawled our way back and now we have the opportunity of a lifetime. This is where you want to be.”


What We Learned: First three teams eliminated have a lot in common

The Kings lost their first-round series against Vegas because they went from being the net-driving team they’d been for most of the regular season to playing Darryl Sutter-brand hockey once again, and didn’t score any goals as a result. cheap youth nfl jerseys They ran into a hot goalie, sure, but also they didn’t do much to make that goalie earn his .970-something save percentage in the four-game sweep.

The Ducks had a similar problem: They couldn’t score, but unlike the Kings they also couldn’t keep the puck out of the net. The Sharks aren’t even that great, but they certainly made the Ducks look like a team that had no business being in the playoffs, outscoring them 16-4 in four games.

The Wild weren’t really in that boat, so much, because they just got run out of the building in four out of their five games by a deeply superior team, and only a surprise blowout in Game 3 kept them from being as utterly humiliated as the two above teams. Nonetheless, they lost their last two games by a combined 7-0 scoreline, including a first period in Game 5 that was so laughable it made the last 50 minutes or so not even worth watching.

All of which highlights both an overarching problem with these three teams separately and with the current playoff format. None of these three teams are equipped to be competitive within the Western Conference, but mostly because they are not equipped to be competitive within their respective divisions.286

The Kings and Ducks play in a fairly soft division, probably the softest in the league given its overall lack of elite clubs, and they didn’t come close to being able to keep up even in the first round. Meanwhile, the Wild are a nominally good team — reliably worth 100 points in the standings — but not much more than that because they lack any truly high-end talent.

LA and Anaheim each have a difference-making defenseman and center, but beyond that, what are we really talking about with this club’s talent level on an ongoing basis? After your Doughtys and Lindholms, Getzlafs and Kopitars, who’s carrying the water for these teams? Rickard Rakell? Jeff Carter (if he’s healthy)? Perfectly good players, but not guys who really move the needle, and certainly not guys who do it against actual good competition.

And Minnesota, frankly, doesn’t even have guys on the level of those elite defensemen or centers.nfl youth jerseys cheap If you can get Eric Staal to shoot 17 percent again, that’s fine. Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund can play, too, but they’re on the level of Rakell and Carter in that they’re very nice players to have but if they’re your big weapons you’re not really going to make a lot happen in the playoffs.


Young, speedy Avalanche show promise before playoff exit

That blend of quickness, youth and skill boosted the Avalanche from the bottom of the league a year ago to a playoff contender this season. Having an MVP candidate like Nathan MacKinnon leading the charge certainly didn’t hurt, either.

”We love the way we play the game,” Sakic said a day after the Avs were eliminated from the first round nike jersey nfl cheap of the postseason by top-seeded Nashville in six games. ”It’s fast. It’s entertaining. It’s exciting.”

Few expected this kind of run from a Colorado team that had just 48 points in 2016-17. But youthful energy kept the Avalanche in the playoff chase until the end, where they earned the final postseason spot on the last day of the regular season. Their 47-point turnaround from a season ago matches the fourth-highest year-to-year improvement over a full season in NHL history, according to the team.

That bodes well. That is, once the sting of losing to the Predators fades.285

”We’re going to stay the course and let this team grow because they deserve it,” said Sakic, whose squad was one of the league’s youngest with an average age of 25.8. ”We’re going to stay young and in the next couple of years may even get younger. If we can, even try to get a little bit quicker and faster out there.”

The Avalanche fully bought into the message of even-keeled coach Jared Bednar, cheap youth nfl jerseys who will be around two more seasons after Sakic announced Monday he recently agreed to a one-year extension with the former American Hockey League coach.

”It’s a cool story that we went from last to the playoffs, but we’re trying to win a Cup,” said the 22-year-old MacKinnon, who had 39 goals and 58 assists in the regular season. ”We showed a lot of fight this season. … Hopefully we can use some of that next season.”