VANCOUVER [url=]Kevin Shattenkirk Jersey[/url] , British Columbia — The Vegas Golden Knights appear to have recovered from their Stanley Cup finals hangover — in a big way.Following a slow start, Vegas (13-12-1, 27 points) has posted four straight wins heading into Thursday’s game in Vancouver against the Canucks (11-13-3, 25 points). The Golden Knights’ win streak has contrasted with the fact they lost four of their first five games.“We had some ups and downs through the season, but since then it just seems like we’ve been playing more our style, a fast-paced, in-your-face type of game,” goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury told “And, it’s been paying off for us.”Article continues below ...As a result, Golden Knights might defy many pundits’ view that they would falter in their second National Hockey League season after reaching the 2017-18 finals as an expansion team. Vegas is now battling for a playoff spot despite the absence of injured key offseason free agent signing Paul Stastny, who is sidelined with an undisclosed lower-body injury.The rebound has coincided with Fleury’s return from injury. The goaltender, who celebrated his 34th birthday Wednesday [url=][/url] , was named the NHL’s latest second star of the week after posting consecutive shutouts against Calgary and San Jose. He also backstopped the Golden Knights to an 8-3 win Tuesday in Chicago, where he kept his shutout streak ended at 150:54 as the Vegas goal total established a new single-game club record.“My teammates have been helping a lot,” Fleury said. “The forwards are coming back and cutting those cross-ice passes. The defense lets me see the puck and they take the rebounds away. Just little things have been making a difference defensively.”The Golden Knights have also capitalized on the improved play of winger Max Pacioretty, who appears to be adjusting to life in Las Vegas following his trade from the Montreal Canadiens in September. Pacioretty has posted six goals and three assists in the past nine games. He is thriving on a line with Alex Tuch, who has 14 points in his past 11 contests after missing eight with an undisclosed injury early in the season.“I love playing with Tuch and (Eakin). They make life easy on me,” Pacioretty said. “They both can skate really well. Tuch’s a bigger guy who can protect pucks and create time and space for us. Our line’s been going really well but we want to build off that and get even better.”The Canucks have lost nine of their past 10 games. They are hoping that young snipers Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser can build more chemistry after shining together at times in a 2-1 home loss to Los Angeles on Tuesday. Boeser played his first game after missing 11 contests with a groin injury.The 21-year-old Burnsville, Minn., native is optimistic that he can resume the offensive flair he displayed before his injury and last season, when he led the team in scoring as a rookie with 60 points.“Before (the injury), I wasn’t moving as well laterally and it’s exciting for me,” Boeser told reporters. “I haven’t felt this good, hips down [url=]Authentic Mats Zuccarello Jersey[/url] , for quite a while and I’m moving better. It’s only up from here — I’m not looking at the negatives.”Canucks coach Travis Green, understandably, was “a little rusty” after his long layoff. But Boeser still helped Vancouver display considerable confidence and control on the power play as he and Pettersson collaborated on creating offense.Vancouver’s power play actually performed well during Boeser’s absence, but center Bo Horvat envisions that it can do even better — on a consistent basis — with him back.“Obviously, (Pettersson) has established himself on the half wall pretty well, and guys respect his one-timer,” Horvat told reporters. “To have Brock on the other side and Eagle (Alex Edler) feeding both of them, (opponents) are going to have to pick and choose which guy they’re going to cover now. It’s going to be huge for our group.” TORONTO (AP) — Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews is used to playing in packed arenas under the bright lights. Put him in a colorful costume at The National Ballet of Canada, however, and it’s an entirely different story.Matthews and teammate Mitch Marner made cameo appearances as Cannon Dolls in a performance of “The Nutcracker” on Wednesday night, a decision Matthews was having second thoughts about moments before stepping in front of the crowd.“It was nerve-wracking,” Matthews said Thursday morning. “We jumped at the idea to do it. About 20 seconds before we went on stage I was really contemplating it [url=]Mika Zibanejad Jersey[/url] , but I’m happy I did it. It was a pretty neat experience. Something not many people can say they’ve been able to participate in.”The roles lasted about three minutes and didn’t involve any actual ballet — but both players said it seemed like an eternity.“It felt like we were up there so quick,” Marner said. “But when we were in the moment it felt so long, which is kind of crazy.”Clad in baggy pants, shirts and hats, the 21-year-olds were tasked with accompanying a cannon operator in the show. Matthews played the role of the excited Cannon Doll, waving his arms like a windmill, while Marner’s character was scared, often covering his mouth with his hands.“My pants were massive on me,” said Marner, who claimed he didn’t have the same nerves as Matthews. “I kept joking around that I could fit three people into them.”“Those outfits were pretty interesting,” said Matthews, who has appeared a couple of fashion publications already this season. “Probably one of the most comfy outfits I’ve ever worn.”So how did they determine the roles? Simple [url=]Womens Pavel Buchnevich Jersey[/url] , because one doll had to jump in the arms of the other.“Mitch said he couldn’t catch me,” said Matthews, 3 inches taller and nearly 50 pounds heavier than Marner. “That’s how we decided.”“I wasn’t going to carry Matts off the stage,” Marner added.Matthews and Marner, who watched the second act from the audience, were amazed at the athletic ability of the ballet dancers.“They’re very talented,” Matthews said. “It’s crazy what they can do. Every time they jumped I was thinking in my head I would for sure fall and break my ankle doing this.”Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly took in the show with his mom and was proud of his teammates.“I got nervous for them so I’m sure they were nervous, but they were great,” Rielly said. “Good for those guys for getting up there.”Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, whose team visited Toronto on Thursday night, playfully tweeted: “After such a big night should probably consider giving them the night off tomorrow no?”

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Asked: 31 Jan, 01:11

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