LAS VEGAS (AP) Just before the most improbable of Stanley Cup Final in the most improbable hockey city around Sidney Crosby Jersey
, Gary Bettman and Bill Daly put on a little show of their own.As lounge acts go, it probably wouldn’t play on the Las Vegas Strip. Then again, no one ever thought the Vegas Golden Knights would be playing on the Las Vegas Strip – and certainly not as late as Memorial Day.But play they did, in a wild 6-4 win over the Washington Capitals that officially ended with Elvis singing ”Viva Las Vegas” and the Golden Knights taking a 1-0 lead in the series.The greatest expansion team ever against a classic underachiever was already a story that has played well even among those who wouldn’t think of watching anything but playoff basketball this time of the year.But a thrilling Game 1 couldn’t have been scripted any better even if Bettman and Daly had spent their pre-game writing it instead of sitting in front of the media, sharing laughs and a few inside jokes. They completed each other’s sentences, and seemed to be having so much fun that they didn’t want to leave.And why not? They could have taken a victory lap outside the T-Mobile Arena and no one would have seemed to mind.They are the architects of NHL expansion, the gatekeepers who decide which cities are in the league and which cities must watch from the sidelines. They came up with the plan – hatched privately a decade ago – for billionaire Bill Foley to pay $500 million to put a team among the gamblers, degenerates and, yes, upstanding citizens of the city where fun never stops.They then made sure it would work, despite all the naysayers who said hockey would never catch on in the desert and certainly not in a city where there are a lot of other things to do than watch hockey players race up and down the ice.But even the top league execs didn’t expect this.”No one saw this coming,” Bettman said.They didn’t in New York Dougie Hamilton Jersey Womens
, and they didn’t in Las Vegas. A generous expansion draft helped set the Knights up to be competitive, but competitive doesn’t mean scoring 109 points in the regular season and then going 13-3 in the playoffs.Competitive doesn’t mean taking the ice on Memorial Day with nearly 19,000 crazed Knights fans cheering them on inside the arena on the Strip and thousands more partying as the game unfolded on big-screen TVs outside.It was, as Bettman pointed out, 342 days since the expansion draft in the same arena. And what a 342 days it has been for not only the new franchise but a league that took a chance on Sin City when no other league would.Bettman and Daly rolled the dice that Las Vegas would raise the league’s profile and not just because it isn’t, well, Columbus or Ottawa.”We thought being in Las Vegas would give hockey a greater presence and make the game stronger,” Bettman said.The results, at least so far, show that bet paying off. Las Vegas has gone mad over the Golden Knights, and hockey is thriving in a town where most ice is made for drinks, not rinks.And the NHL is on a bit of a roll itself. The controversial decision not to halt play during the middle of the season for the Olympics paid off in increased attention for professional hockey and television ratings for the playoffs http://www.officialsharks.com/authen...t-burns-jersey
, while not nearly up to NBA levels, are up across the board.And so far no one has said a word about the evils of sports betting and how a major sports franchise can’t exist in a city that allows it.”This commissioner wasn’t scared by the things other sports leagues may have been scared about,” Daly said.No one, of course, could have expected a hockey team to help heal a city in the wake of the Oct. 1 massacre that killed 58 people just down the street from the hockey arena. But the Knights helped that cause, too, adopting the Vegas Strong name and honoring victims not only at the opener nine days after the shooting but at games since.The players – who call themselves the Golden Misfits – have also done their part, both on and off the ice.”They seem to be playing with the emotion of a higher purpose,” Bettman said.That’s one reason why the bookies had them favored to beat the Caps and win the iconic trophy before the first puck dropped in Game 1. So far they’ve not only run through every obstacle in their way, but smashed through them.Good times in Las Vegas, and good times for the NHL.Little wonder that Bettman and Daly couldn’t stop smiling.—-Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Anton Khudobin is making himself at home in Nashville.Khudobin made 37 saves Julien Gauthier Jersey Womens
, Blake Comeau and Mattias Janmark scored late in the third period and the Dallas Stars beat the Predators 3-1 on Saturday night.After making 49 saves in a Dec. 27 shutout in Nashville, Khudobin was again excellent, setting up Comeau’s and Janmark’s decisive goals.“As the game goes on, we kept the intensity better and better and better,” Khudobin said. “I think we had more legs in the third period and got the result.”Tyler Seguin also scored for Dallas, which has won four straight. Radek Faksa and Esa Lindell each had two assists.“I thought we got better as the game progressed,” Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said. “Nashville came at us in the first and I thought we weathered it really well. I just love how our group has matured with handling of moments of when the other team has momentum. We bend but we don’t break.”Calle Jarnkrok scored for Nashville, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.With time winding down, Comeau beat Pekka Rinne low to the stick side at 15:47. Nashville challenged the goal for goaltender interference, but after a brief review, it was allowed to stand.“I dumped it in and Faksa did a great job of winning the race to the puck,” Comeau said. “Came around the net and he gave it to (Janmark) and I just tried to go to the net. I actually thought (Janmark) was going to shoot and he made a great pass.”Janmark collected the rebound of Faksa’s shot and put it behind Rinne 43 seconds later.“When the game was on the line Womens Evander Kane Jersey
, 1-1 game … personally for me, somehow I’ve got to be better,” Rinne said. “It’s been up and down the last little while here.”Jarnkrok scored the game’s first goal at 9:35 of the opening period. Inside the Dallas blue line, Ryan Hartman sent a pass to Jarnkrok in the high slot. He moved to the right circle and fired off of a wrist shot that hit off of the left post and in behind Khudobin.Seguin tied it 1:36 later. Lindell fired the puck into the Nashville zone on the left boards. It reached former Predator Alexander Radulov on the right boards, where he turned and passed to Seguin above the right circle. He beat Rinne low to the glove side.Rinne made 23 saves.After scoring twice in Friday’s home victory over Minnesota, Seguin has four goals in his last four games.Seguin’s goal was one of just four shots the Stars got on goal in the first.The Predators were 0 for 4 on the power play. They have failed to score a man-advantage goal in their last nine games, going 0 for 31.“I thought in Vegas (two games earlier), we were doing some good things,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “We had lots of looks. We hit the post a few times. It wasn’t as clear tonight.”Notes: Prior to the game, the Predators honored former forward Jordin Tootoo, who retired from hockey earlier in the season. … Jarnkrok has four points in his last five games against Dallas. … The Stars are 7-13-2 when their opponent scores first this season. … Dallas has won both matchups between the two teams in Nashville this season and the teams play again in Music City Thursday.UP NEXT:Stars: Host Arizona Coyotes Monday.Predators: Host Arizona Coyotes Tuesday.