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06.09.2018, 15:49   #1
: 08.08.2018
: 50
 n to do it.

Colorado defenseman Patrik Nemeth set career highs this season in goals William Perry Jersey , games and perhaps even grudges.

See what a little chip on the shoulder can do?

Waived by Dallas in October, he was claimed by Colorado soon after and has played an integral role in helping the Avalanche return to the postseason. Hes not alone: These playoffs are filled with castoffs who were put on waivers, only to find a revamped role with a new team.

Its not personal. Its just business. Players realize this. But still, being waived goodbye is hard to swallow.

Of course you want to prove them wrong, said Nemeth, whose team trails 3-1 heading to Nashville for Game 5 on Friday night. You want to prove you can play and that they were wrong. Thats always going to be in the back of your head at least for me.

When Avs defenseman Mark Barberio was cut by Montreal last year, so many thoughts swirled through his head: What went wrong? Next stop, the minors? Is there still even a role for him in the league?

It was a whirlwind 24 hours the amount of time teams have to make a claim before the Avs picked him up.

Colorado saw something in me and decided to give me a chance, Barberio said. Ive gotten a chance to play regular minutes, and a coaching staff I feel believes in me. Im trying to repay that faith every time I play.

That sort of feeling is shared by center Ryan Carpenter, who was claimed by Vegas from Anaheim on Dec. 13. Hes now heading to the second round with the expansion Golden Knights. Carpenter had a key assist in a Game 3 win over Los Angeles.

Its amazing how things can change in pro hockey, Carpenter said on the teams website. I feel like a little kid right now playing in playoffs. Its exciting and we want to keep this thing going. Its nice when you feel like youre contributing. I never wouldve though in the middle of December Id be playing right now.

Minnesota defenseman Nate Prosser was in a similar boat. He was claimed after St. Louis put him on waivers in late November, returning the nine-year NHL veteran to his home-state team for another stint. The Wild previously claimed Prosser off waivers from St. Louis on Oct. 2, 2014, after he had signed with the Blues that summer but was let go just before the season.

A reliable defenseman Quintin Demps Jersey , he has taken on added responsibility after an injury to Ryan Suter.

It puts the onus on the rest of us to amp up our game a little bit, Prosser said. Just different parts of the game weve got to make sure were honing in on.

Then theres Stefan Noesen , whos had quite a path to wind up with the New Jersey Devils. Drafted by Ottawa in the first round in 2011 and traded to Anaheim in 13, he was claimed by the Devils on Jan. 25, 2017. He had his first playoff goal in Game 3 against Tampa Bay.

Just because you get put on waivers doesnt necessarily mean you cant play, Nemeth said. Sometimes the situation is the way it is and you need a new opportunity.

That was the case for Nemeth, a second-round pick by Dallas in 2010. He played in a career-high 68 games for Colorado, with three goals, 12 assists and a plus-27 rating, which was the highest by an Avalanche defenseman since Adam Foote in 2002-03 the benefits of a change in scenery.

It could be different scenarios, Nemeth said of factors leading to being placed on waivers. Sometimes, its just too many guys. Sometimes, your coach might not like you or might not appreciate what you bring to the table. Its just different, depending on what situation youre in. For me personally, it was good.

Avalanche defenseman Duncan Siemens went through the experience last fall with his own team. He was reassigned to San Antonio in the American Hockey League before spending the last seven weeks with Colorado. He made his playoff debut in the Predators series.

This is such a competitive league J.J. Watt Jersey , said Siemens, a first-round pick by Colorado in 2011. There are so many good hockey players out there. Your first chance could be your last chance. Anytime you get an opportunity, you have to make the most of it because you dont know if youre going to get another one.

AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell contributed to this report.

LAS VEGAS Everyone knew that this would be a year of firsts for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights when they began play early last October.

Things like first goal (James Neal). First win (at Dallas, 2-1). First shutout (Oscar Dansk, 7-0, vs. Colorado). And, if things went really well, maybe even a first playoff win (1-0 vs. Los Angeles Kings).

But very few expected the team that openly calls itself The Golden Misfits to possibly earn the first Stanley Cup in team history.

But thats a very real possibility as the Western Conference champion Golden Knights begin the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals on Monday night against the Alex Ovechkin-led Eastern Conference champion Washington Capitals at T-Mobile Arena.

Can you imagine a victory parade on the famed Las Vegas Strip with the Stanley Cup as the featured participant?

No, I try not to think about that, Neal, who lost in the 2017 Finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins as a member of the Nashville Predators, said. I dont want to try and get too far ahead, you know. Definitely a dream for sure. Man, it would be crazy, huh.

Almost as crazy as people lining up at 6:30 in the morning to make sure they get a seat to watch a 35-minute practice at 11 a.m. as was the case on Saturday at City National Arena in the suburb of Summerlin Vernon Butler Jersey , where the Golden Knights practice.

Or Celine Dion wearing a Marc-Andre Fleury jersey during one of her sold out shows at nearby Caesars Palace. Or the Statue of Liberty in front of the New York New York Hotel being draped in a huge Vegas Golden Knights jersey.

Its crazy how much support weve gotten all season here, Fleury, who can become just the 11th goalie in NHL history to have his name engraved four times on the Stanley Cup, said. Waiting in line to come into practice Having the wave and chants during practice? Never seen that before. Its been amazing.

Now the Golden Knights, who have had an eight-day break since knocking off Winnipeg in five games in the Western Conference final, are just four wins away from capping their storybook season in spectacular fashion.

I dont like thinking too far ahead, Fleury said. I just want to win. I dont care what happened before and stuff. Were so close. I want to win. I want to be a part of this team winning the Cup. Thats all that matters.

Theyll have to get by a Washington team also trying to make history by winning its first Stanley Cup and is a remarkable 8-2 on the road in the playoffs, including a 4-0 blanking of Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the Eastern finals on Wednesday. The record for road wins in a playoff is 10.

Getting to the Stanley Cup Finals took a tremendous burden off the back of star left wing Ovechkin who has scored 664 career goals, including 12 in this postseason. The 32-year-old, now in his 13th season, has an NHL-best 15 points (8 goals, 7 assists) on the road in the playoffs and was very emotional during postgame interviews after finally garnering his first berth in a Stanley Cup Final.

Weve never been in this position before, Ovechkin said. All my career, I played for this team, and we never get the success like that. The town is going nuts.

More than 6 Travis Frederick Jersey ,000 fans came to Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., on Saturday for the teams final morning skate and to send the team off to Las Vegas, where the Golden Knights are a combined 35-11-2 this season. Some have joked part of the reason for the expansion teams home success was the so-called Vegas Flu that hit teams that may have felt a little listless after spending the previous night out on the town.

Ovechkin said that wont be a problem Monday night or for Game 2 on Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena.

Were going (to Vegas) to play hockey, not to pool party and play in a casino, he told NHL.com. Were going there to play hockey and do our thing, and then were going to have all the summer and whatever we want to do, we can to do it.

Vegas won both regular-season meetings between the two teams, 3-0 behind 26 saves by Fleury on Dec. 23 in Las Vegas, and 4-3 on an Alex Tuch goal with 5:12 remaining on Feb. 4 at Capital One Arena in D.C.

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