A team from the West has not won the Stanley Cup the previous three seasons Mikael Granlund Jersey
, the conference’s longest drought in the 13-year salary cap era.Before the Washington Capitals won it last year after Pittsburgh claimed consecutive championships, the West was usually the best, winning seven of 10 titles. Four teams seem to have the best shot to prevent it from being a four-year run without a Stanley Cup. And perhaps a few more have an outside chance.“The West is like loaded right now,” Nashville Predators general manager David Poile said. “It feels like anybody could not only make the playoffs, there’s going to be some unbelievable top teams that don’t make the playoffs.”Winnipeg is stacked with talent from up front to the back and in net. And, the Jets are no longer off the radar after advancing to the conference finals for the first time. Nashville , which was eliminated by Winnipeg in the second round, won the Presidents’ Trophy with an NHL-high 117 points last season and has kept its strong and balanced team together.The Vegas Golden Knights tried to improve their chances of returning to the Stanley Cup Final in their second season by signing free agent center Paul Stastny and acquiring forward Max Pacioretty. The San Jose Sharks made the boldest move, trading for two-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson just before the puck dropped for training camp.Poile said the talent-filled conference should be fun for players and fans, but not so much for coaches and the front office.“It’s probably going to be nerve-wracking for us,” Poile said. “If you’re going to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best, and I think the West certainly has more than its share of top teams.”WINNIPEGThe Jets Youth Mikko Koivu Jersey
, who trailed only Nashville in points last season, have an elite team after years of patiently drafting and developing players. Winnipeg has so much young talent, including 20-year-old wing Patrik Laine, the time to win is now because it is going to be challenging next season to keep the team together and under the cap.“Bring it on,” Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said. “There’s excitement. That’s what this all about.”NASHVILLEThe Predators have one of the world’s best goaltender, reigning Vezina Trophy winner Pekka Rinne. He may have the surrounding cast of hungry, experienced talented players to win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in its 20 years after leading the league in points.“Obviously things didn’t end up the way we wanted, but winning the regular season doesn’t give you much,” Rinne said.VEGASThe Golden Knights signed three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury to a three-year, $21 million extension over the summer. They can lean on his experience of helping Pittsburgh go from losing the Stanley Cup in 2008 to winning it the next year. Adding the leadership of Pacioretty and Stastny after losing James Neal was a smart move.SAN JOSEThe Sharks’ shot to win it all for the first time in their 27-season history increased the moment they acquired Karlsson, one of the elite players in the NHL.“That trade makes this team look a little bit more dangerous,” captain Joe Pavelski said, entering his 13th year with the franchise. “And Ryan Suter Jersey
, a little bit more real.” LOS ANGELES The Kings, who hoisted the Cup in 2012 and 2014, tried to pry open their window to win by bolstering their offense by signing Ilya Kovalchuk. The 35-year-old winger is back in the NHL for the first time since 2013. Los Angeles should be able to compete every night with two-way forward Anze Kopitar, the reigning Selke Trophy winner, and standout goalie Jonathan Quick. ST. LOUIS The Blues missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2011, but they made a series of moves to give some help to forwards Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko along with defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. St. Louis acquired center Ryan O’Reilly in a big deal with Buffalo, signed center Tyler Bozak and winger David Perron, who is back with the Blues for his third stint.EDMONTON Connor McDavid should give the Oilers an opportunity to win any game. The 21-year-old center, though, can’t do it alone as last year proved when the team missed the playoffs despite his career-high 108 points. Edmonton needs winger Milan Lucic and goalie Cam Talbot both to bounce back from lackluster seasons. WASHINGTON (AP) — T.J. Oshie left for the second time after taking Evgeni Malkin’s shoulder to the head but returned to score late and lift the Washington Capitals over the rival Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Wednesday night in a meeting of the two most recent Stanley Cup champions.Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby traded goals, and Oshie got the winner with 1:14 left following a dangerous hit from Malkin. The Penguins star was thrown out of the game for an illegal check to the head and could get a hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety.Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 41 of 42 shots for his first victory since Oct. 22. The only goal he allowed was Crosby’s eighth of the season, which came on the power play.Pittsburgh’s Casey DeSmith stopped 20 of 22 shots in his first career start against Washington. The Penguins lost their fifth in a row and could be without Malkin in the near future.DUCKS 3, FLAMES 2ANAHEIM Evgeny Svechnikov Jersey Womens
, Calif. (AP) — Ryan Getzlaf scored 27 seconds after Calgary got a tying goal in the third period to lift Anaheim.The Flames trailed 2-0 in the first but rallied to tie it six minutes into the third on Mark Jankowski’s short-handed goal. Getzlaf then was able to corral a loose puck in front of the goal and directed a backhand through Mike Smith’s legs for his second game-winner of the season.Jakob Silfverberg and Adam Henrique also scored for Anaheim. Ryan Miller made 37 saves and tied Andy Moog (372) for 17th on the career wins list.Matthew Tkachuk also scored for Calgary, and Smith stopped 21 shots.PREDATORS 4, AVALANCHE 1DENVER (AP) — Colton Sissons got his second career hat trick and Colorado had two apparent goals nullified on replay review as Nashville beat the Avalanche.Ryan Hartman added an empty-net goal with 2:54 left in Nashville’s 11th consecutive regular-season victory against Colorado, which has lost four straight overall.Trailing 2-0, the Avalanche had an apparent goal at 1:29 of the second period waived off after a replay review showed the puck had drifted across the blue line, making it offside. Samuel Girard was straddling the blue line when he passed to Ian Cole, whose shot zoomed into the net past goalie Pekka Rinne only to have it erased after the Predators‘ challenge was upheld.A second Avalanche goal was disallowed, on a shot by Colin Wilson, with 12:33 remaining in the third following a Predators challenge. Officials took away the score after the replay review, saying the Avs were offside when the play started.