Sports Jets D Dustin Byfuglien poses big problem for Golden Knights

03:55  14 may  2018
03:55  14 may  2018 Source:   msn.com

Jets turn to 'great equalizer' Byfuglien in potential series-clinching Game 6

  Jets turn to 'great equalizer' Byfuglien in potential series-clinching Game 6 The Winnipeg Jets have muscled their way to within one win of the franchise's first berth in the NHL Western Conference Final - they host Nashville on Monday night - thanks in large part to six-foot-five, 260-pound defenceman Dustin Byfuglien's strong work at both ends of the ice. Not his teammates.

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Dustin Byfuglien is a big problem for Vegas. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Winnipeg defenseman can do it all, as the Golden Knights saw up close when he helped the Jets win Game 1 of the Western Conference finals with a goal and an assist.

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Dustin Byfuglien is a big problem for Vegas. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Winnipeg defenseman can do it all, as the Golden Knights saw up close when

WINNIPEG - Dustin Byfuglien is a big problem for Vegas.

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Winnipeg defenceman can do it all, as the Golden Knights saw up close when he helped the Jets win Game 1 of the Western Conference finals with a goal and an assist.

"We got moving our feet right away," Byfuglien said. "And the ice opened up."

Byfuglien has a powerful shot, as he showed with a slap shot 1:05 into the Jets' 4-2 victory .

Winnipeg Jets' Nikolaj Ehlers (27), Mark Scheifele (55), Dustin Byfuglien (33) and Patrik Laine (29) celebrate Byfuglien's goal against the Vegas Golden Knights during the first period of Game 1 of the NHL hockey playoffs Western Conference final, Saturday, May 12, 2108, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP)© John Woods / Canadian Press Winnipeg Jets' Nikolaj Ehlers (27), Mark Scheifele (55), Dustin Byfuglien (33) and Patrik Laine (29) celebrate Byfuglien's goal against the Vegas Golden Knights during the first period of Game 1 of the NHL hockey playoffs Western Conference final, Saturday, May 12, 2108, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP)

The 33-year-old former forward, who played right wing for the Chicago Blackhawks during their Stanley Cup run in 2010, can join a rush on offence in even-strength situations and plays on the power play. The NFL-sized player is nimble enough to skate fluidly and he handles the puck with soft hands. Byfuglien can crunch opponents against the boards or on the open ice with checks and kill penalties with savvy positioning.

Breaking down the Winnipeg Jets’ chances against the Vegas Golden Knights

  Breaking down the Winnipeg Jets’ chances against the Vegas Golden Knights Breaking down the Winnipeg Jets’ chances against the Vegas Golden KnightsBoth the Winnipeg Jets and the Vegas Golden Knights are in the Conference Final for the first time in team history, with Vegas managing to get there in their inaugural season, perhaps one of the most impressive accomplishments in the history of the sport.

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs. Jets ' Dustin Byfuglien poses big problem for Game 1: Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler gets dumped into the Vegas Golden Knights bench on a big check by Ryan Reaves (not shown).

WINNIPEG — Dustin Byfuglien is a big problem for Vegas. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Winnipeg defenceman can do it all, as the Golden Knights saw up close when he helped the Jets win Game 1 of the Western Conference finals with a goal and an assist.

In Game 1, he did all of that and more.

"You saw the Dustin Byfuglien spectrum," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "He can shoot the puck a ton. He can make soft-hand plays and he can be as big and strong as you want out there."

Vegas centre William Karlsson was asked to compare Byfuglien with any other player in the league. And he was stumped.

"He's kind of one of a kind," Karlsson said.

If the expansion Golden Knights can't figure out a way to keep the puck away from Byfuglien and work around him offensively, their inaugural season may not last beyond this series.

Game 2 is Monday night in Winnipeg.

Byfuglien leads the league's defencemen with 15 points and five multi-point games in the playoffs.

"When he is on his game, he is as good as anybody," Vegas coach Gerrard Gallant. "He's a big strong man and can play the game any way you want to play it.

Jets jump on Golden Knights early, open series with 4-2 win

  Jets jump on Golden Knights early, open series with 4-2 win Jets jump on Golden Knights early, open series with 4-2 winPatrik Laine and Joel Armia had goals 46 seconds apart to put the Jets up 3-0. Mark Scheifele gave Winnipeg a 4-1 lead midway through the second period with his 12th goal this postseason.

Dustin Byfuglien is a big problem for Vegas. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Winnipeg defenseman can do it all, as the Golden Knights saw up close when he helped the Jets win Game 1 of the Western Conference finals with a goal and an assist.

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Dustin Byfuglien is a big problem for Vegas. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Winnipeg defenseman can do it all, as the Golden Knights saw up close when he helped the Jets win Game 1 of the Western Conference finals with a goal and an assist.

"Buf is a good player, but hopefully we don't give him too many chances to load up like we did (in Game 1) and take that big shot."

The Blackhawks gave Byfuglien a shot to play in the NHL, taking a flyer on the Minnesota native in the eighth round with the No. 245 pick overall in 2003. He played his first full season in the league five years later and had 11 goals and five assists for Chicago during the 2010 playoffs.

Byfuglien didn't get to celebrate the championship for very long because the Blackhawks traded him to less than three weeks after hoisting the Cup. Chicago sent him to the Atlanta Thrashers, who became the Jets, to help manage its salary cap. He has become a three-time All-Star with the franchise and a player respected enough on the blue line to be in the running for the Norris Trophy six times.

Byfuglien, though, got off to a slow start offensively this season with a slump that seems improbable for a player with five goals in 13 playoff games this year. He began the season with a 29-game goal drought and finished with eight goals, his fewest in five seasons.

3 adjustments Golden Knights need to make vs. Jets in Game 2

  3 adjustments Golden Knights need to make vs. Jets in Game 2 The Winnipeg Jets jumped out to an early lead in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final Saturday night and never looked back. The home team treated their fans to a commanding 4-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights, giving the expansion club their first series deficit of the postseason.However, there are still games to be won. In fact, the Golden Knights could very well have the series knotted up heading home for Game 3 if they make a few adjustments for Monday night.

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Dustin Byfuglien is a big problem for Vegas. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Winnipeg defenseman can do it all, as the Golden Knights saw up close when he helped the Jets win Game 1 of the Western Conference finals with a goal and an assist.

Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is a big problem for Golden Knights . The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Winnipeg defenseman can do it all, as the Golden Knights saw up close when he helped the Jets win Game 1 of the Western Conference finals with a goal and an assist.

"He had a helluva year and it was masked by the fact that he didn't score a goal for a long time and didn't generate points," Maurice said. "The question was 'What's wrong with Dustin Byfuglien?' And the answer was, 'Absolutely nothing,' because our hockey team was winning and he was playing right."

Byfuglien has been businesslike around reporters lately, appearing to be focused on his tasks instead of showing off tricks with a cosmetic tooth he can pop in and out of his mouth with his tongue. When a reporter asked about the Atlanta hat he wore in the dressing room before Game 1, wondering if it was a nod to his season with the Thrashers, he wasn't in the mood to play along.

"The what?" he asked. "I don't even know what hat I got on."

Byfuglien also wasn't interested in comparing the Jets' run to his success with the Blackhawks.

"That was a while ago," he said.

Discussing the challenges of facing Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury also didn't interest him.

"Get it behind him," he said. "Shoot pucks and hopefully they go in."

His first shot against Fleury found the back of the net, and the blast probably pushed the netting to its limit because it was so powerful.

"That first goal was a bomb," Vegas defenceman Deryk Engelland said.

___

Follow Larry Lage at https://twitter.com/larrylage

___

More AP hockey: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

Ron and Don: James Neal is real leader of Golden Knights .
Ron and Don: James Neal is real leader of Golden KnightsWith a rotating cast of alternate captains and no one sporting the ‘C,’ the Vegas Golden Knights have had a lead-by-committee approach all season long. Clearly, it’s working, as veterans and young guys alike have taken turns stepping into a leadership role to help the league’s newest club battle well into the post-season.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!