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Western Conference

Dustin Byfuglien Leading Jets Towards Potential First West Final

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The Winnipeg Jets are on the verge of their first berth in the Western Conference Final, and 6-foot-5, 260-pound Dustin Byfuglien is leafing the charge.

His play, which has included timely goals and tough defense, has been impressive as the Jets inch closer to history.

“He’s so loose before games,” Winnipeg center Bryan Little said, according to TSN. “He’s a joker, definitely the prankster on the team. It’s strange for me to see him talking to you guys in front of the camera. It’s like, ‘That’s not who I know.'”

Jets captain Blake Wheeler echoed those sentiments, adding that Byfuglien is a “great equalizer” and unlike anybody else in the NHL.

“Having him on our team gives us an advantage no matter who we play,” Wheeler said. “That’s the type of player he is and from Game 1 of the playoffs, he has just dominated. You can’t stop it.”

Byfuglien was the catalyst for the Jets’ rally in Game 3 in against the Nashville Predators, as Winnipeg stormed back from a 3-0 deficit with started with Byfuglien’s goal which put the Jets on the board, and he later scored to tie the game. Furthermore, Byfuglien would up scoring the game-winning goal during the Jets 6-2 win on Saturday night, which now has the Jets on the verge of clinching.

“What makes him unique is he can, I don’t know if ‘take over’ is right, but he can make an impact in a game in just about every single way possible,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said.

“He can defend, he can play real physical, nobody wants to drop the gloves with him, and then there’s an offensive side, it’s a perfectly placed shot, quick hands, all the other things that he can do offensively.”

“There’s only one Dustin Byfuglien, and you want him on your team,” Little said. “You can’t imagine what it would be like playing against him. There’s only one of him. You can’t really compare him to anyone out there.”

“Any time he’s on the ice, it’s dangerous,” Little said.

Calgary Flames

Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau Enjoying Strong Season

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The Calgary Flames have seen some strong play from forward Johnny Gaudreau, who has played well enough to earn his 5th All-Star selection.

“Obviously he deserves it,” Flames forward Michael Frolik said, according to NHL.com. “He’s an unbelievable player. He’s so fast, and in those small spaces, those tight turns, he can handle the puck with speed. It’s fun to watch him and he’s been great this year.”

Flames defenseman Mark Giordana spoke highly of Gaudreau’s play.

“He can get you the puck in situations where you don’t think he can,” Giordano said. “But I think what people don’t see is just how competitive he is. The guys who are the best players in the League are [competitive] because they want the puck in key situations, and that’s how he is.

“Just look at his overtime play and stuff like that. I’m happy for the way his career is going but this year he’s taken that next step, for sure.”

“I think last year we played with Micheal Ferland, who was a little bit more of a shooter,” Gaudreau said of his strong play this season.

“Lindholm, obviously, is a shooter as well, but he can see the ice really well. He can make some pretty high-end plays, so I think I just got an opportunity to shoot a little more with a player like that on my line.”

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Arizona Coyotes

Coyotes’ Nick Schmaltz Out for Season

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The Arizona Coyotes will be without forward Nick Schmaltz for the remainder of the season with a lower-body injury, according to an official team announcement on Tuesday.

Schmaltz was off to a red hot start since being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in November and had been out since December 30th.

Originally, it was though that he would only miss a few weeks, but now the news is much worse for the Yotes.

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News

Canucks’ Elias Pettersson Placed On Injured Reserve, Adam Gaudette Recalled

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The Vancouver Canucks got some good news in regards to the injury sustained by superstar Elias Pettersson, who was moved to the injured reserve list on Tuesday.

Pettersson got tangled up with Montreal Canadiens forward Jesperia Kotkaniemi, but did not sustain major knee damage and is expected to only miss a few weeks of action, dodging a serious injury.

In a corresponding move, Vancouver recalled Adam Gaudette from the Utica Comets.

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