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    December 24, 2018 11:35 PM PST

    WINNIPEG Womens Josh Bailey Jersey , Manitoba (AP) Gerard Gallant and Paul Maurice do not know each other well despite having their NHL coaching careers overlap for several years.The men behind the benches for the Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets, though, both have led their teams into the Western Conference final after following long, winding paths.”It’s quite a story for both of them,” Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said in a telephone interview.Gallant was fired by the Florida Panthers with a winning record just 21 games into the 2016-17 season, leaving him to catch a cab outside the arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, after his belongings were unloaded from the bus.Maurice was fired by the Carolina Hurricanes twice. The second time was after just 25 games of the 2011-12 season.They will match wits Wednesday night in Game 3 when Vegas hopes home ice gives it an advantage in the deadlocked series.Gallant was infamously relieved of his duties with the Panthers, a season after being a finalist for coach of the year, because of philosophical differences between analytics-minded management and the old-school coach.”He was left on the curb,” Golden Knights forward James Neal said.Vegas center Jonathan Marchessault was on the bus when news broke that Florida had fired its coach.”It was kind of out of nowhere,” he recalled.And it worked out very well for Gallant and a team that also came out of nowhere.The coach discarded by the Panthers has led a collection of castoffs to a stunningly successful expansion season.”It’s a perfect fit,” Marchessault said.If the straight-shooting coach can help Vegas win three more games, he’ll join Scotty Bowman as the only coaches to lead a first-year expansion team to the Stanley Cup final. Bowman did it 50 years ago with the St. Louis Blues Mathew Barzal Jersey , and the Hall of Famer is rooting for Gallant.”It’s a nice story because he deserved a better fate in Florida,” Bowman said. ”People felt bad for him the way it happened in Carolina. I know there were some teams thinking about hiring him before Vegas did.”Gallant won a career-high 51 games this season, his seventh in the league.Likewise, Maurice had his best season with what he said has been his best team. He won a career-high 52 games in his 20th year as an NHL coach. He’s three wins away from advancing to the Stanley Cup final for a second time. In 2002, the Bowman-led Red Wings beat Carolina and hoisted the Cup.Maurice broke into the league as a coach in 1995 with the Hartford Whalers, who moved to Carolina two years later. After he was fired the first time by the franchise, he lasted just two seasons and was 10 games over .500 in a pressure-cooker job with the Toronto Maple Leafs.Winnipeg hired him to lead its franchise with 35 games left in the 2013-14 season. The Jets were patient enough to let him guide a young team he took to the playoffs only once – without winning a game – before their breakout performance this season.When Winnipeg opened the postseason with a win over Minnesota, it was Maurice’s first victory in the playoffs since 2009 during his second stint with the Hurricanes. It reinforced a perspective he gained with two decades in the world’s top hockey league, knowing very well how hard it is to win in a league that may have more parity that any other in North American professional sports.”What I’ve learned – the short answer is – it’s special,” Maurice said.Maurice is as much of a student as a teacher, evolving as a communicator after having language barriers with players while coaching in Russia and learning to show perhaps 10 video clips to his players instead of 100 after coaching in the World Cup of Hockey.”He’s intense in games, but when we aren’t playing he’s pretty laid-back,” Winnipeg forward Andrew Copp said. ”He’s been in a pretty good mood, cracking some jokes in meetings lately. It shows his confidence in our team. It’s nice to have a coach behind the bench who doesn’t panic. He has an air of confidence and we carry that mentality http://www.islandersfanproshop.com/authentic-nick-leddy-jersey , too.”— GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Nashville Predators keep rolling toward the best regular season in franchise history.Kevin Fiala and Kyle Turris each had a goal and assist in the third period, leading Nashville to a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night. Ryan Ellis also scored to help the Western Conference-leading Predators get their 21st road win of the season and improve to 12-0-1 in their last 13 games overall. Pekka Rinne finished with 32 saves.Nashville, which reached the Stanley Cup Final a year ago after earning the second wild card in the West, has 102 points through 70 games, and needs nine more in its final 12 games to set a new franchise record.”We’re confident in our abilities. We just stick with it, we don’t panic,” Turris said. ”We find ways. We know what we’re capable of when we’re playing to the level that we want to play, we just have to play like that for a full game.”The Predators weren’t overlooking the last-place Coyotes, given that Arizona was 11-3-2 in its last 16 games.”We needed a little bit of a push there in the third period to win the game,” forward Austin Watson said.Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Christian Dvorak scored for Arizona, and Darcy Kuemper – out on Tuesday due to an illness – stopped 26 shots.Fiala scored the go-ahead goal at 4:31 of the third, his 23rd of the season, after Turris won a draw and quickly centered to Fiala. Turris had earlier tied the score at 2 when he took a pass from Fiala from behind the net and put the puck past Kuemper 22 seconds into the period.Turris lost on a goal on a replay challenge for offside in the first period.”Just trying to do the right things Womens Wayne Simmonds Jersey , create opportunities. When you get enough chances, eventually they’re going to go in,” Turris said.The Coyotes welcomed back head coach Rick Tocchet, who left the team Monday on a leave of absence to be with family. Tocchet’s mother died Wednesday at age 93. He rejoined the team in time for a morning skate on Thursday.Ekman-Larsson gave the Coyotes a 2-1 lead at 16:28 of the second period, seconds after an Arizona power play had expired. It was his 11th of the season, and Clayton Keller got an assist for his team-leading 51st point.Dvorak’s 15th goal – fifth this month – came at 4:09 of the second. His first shot was blocked, but he continued forward, got the rebound and slotted the puck past Rinne for a 1-0 Coyotes lead. Dvorak set a new career high in points in a season with 34.The Predators answered moments later. Craig Smith delivered a pinpoint centering pass to Ellis, who needed only guide the puck past Kuemper at 5:49. Ellis picked up his seventh goal of the season, Smith his 20th assist.Turris scored off a rebound at 3:40 of the first period, but the Coyotes challenged for offside and the goal was overturned.”I would have liked to see a couple better defensive zone decisions, but it’s a game of mistakes. We pushed them and that is why they are a great team, because they win those types of games,” Tocchet said.The only other noteworthy event of a scoreless first period came when Ekman-Larsson http://www.senatorsshoponline.com/authentic-bobby-ryan-jersey , after a scuffle along the boards with a Predators player, took an inadvertent elbow to his face from a referee skating past him. Ekman-Larsson was handed a two-minute penalty for cross-checking, adding insult to injury.The Coyotes gave themselves a chance with their penalty-kill unit keeping the Predators from adding to their lead despite a 5-on-3, but could not equalize against Rinne.”The guys know that they’re chasing points right now. Everything we talk about is to try and improve our position for the playoffs and home ice,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said.NOTES: Tocchet was asked before the game how he is holding up after his mother’s passing. He said watching the Coyotes beat the Los Angeles Kings in the overtime shootout Tuesday helped him cope for a time. ”My mom had a good run. So, big hockey fan,” he said. ”It was tough, but temporary relief there when I was watching the team play against L.A. and how well they played. It was a nice feeling with the family.” … No. 1 goalie Antti Raanta (lower-body injury) isn’t quite ready to return but is getting closer, as is C Zac Rinaldo from injury, Tocchet said. … Predators C Calle Jarnkrok will miss the rest of the season with an upper-body injury suffered in Tuesday’s win over Winnipeg, the team announced on its website. Jarnkrok had 35 points in 68 games. … C Ryan Johansen skated in his 500th career game. … A cheer rose from the crowd when the final score of the Arizona-Buffalo NCAA tournament game was announced. The greater Phoenix area is home to Arizona rival Arizona State University.UP NEXTPredators: At Colorado on Friday night.Coyotes: Host Minnesota on Saturday.
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