WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Don Cherry loves the Golden Knights’ story.
But he likes the Winnipeg Jets to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Cherry, the former NHL coach and longtime host of the Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night In Canada telecasts said he’s impressed with the Knights’ accomplishments to date.
“They remind me of the Rochester Americans that I had with players who couldn’t make the New York Rangers,” Cherry said Monday morning prior to Game 2 of the Western Conference Final. “I had nine of ‘em and Vegas is the same way. These are guys nobody wanted and they have something to prove.
“They never take a game off. They’ve got a coach (Gerard Gallant) who was treated terrible in Florida, absolutely terrible, one of the worst firings I ever saw. And now he’s come back and he’s going to be coach of the year. How’s that? What they’ve done, it’s good for hockey.”
As much as he likes what he has seen from the Knights, Cherry has been even more impressed with the Jets and that’s why he’s picking them in the series.
“They’ve got a hot goaltender in (Connor) Hellebuyck,” Cherry said. “(Marc-Andre) Fleury is playing great. He’s No. 1 right now and I go all the way back with Fleury when he was in juniors and he played in the Prospects game. But I like Winnipeg’s talent. They’re a semi-mean club and they’ve got Big (Dustin) Byfuglien back there and they’ve got the home-ice advantage.”
Perron sits, Tatar returns
Gallant decided to shake up his lineup for Game 2, returning Tomas Tatar and Tomas Nosek to the lineup while sitting David Perron and Oscar Lindberg.
The move with Tatar, who was acquired from Detroit at the trading deadline, quickly paid off. He scored his first goal for the Knights, jamming home his own rebound for a 1-0 lead at 13:23 of the first period.
Alex Tuch took Perron’s spot on Erik Haula’s line. Perron did not participate in the morning skate and the Knights did not provide an update on Perron at game time.
Tatar replaced Lindberg, skating with Cody Eakin and Ryan Carpenter on the third line while Nosek played alongside Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Ryan Reaves.
Perron, who played the last nine games but had yet to score a goal, was out with an undisclosed injury. He played 18:21 in Game 1 and failed to register a shot.
Will Carrier remains out with an undisclosed injury and did not skate with the team Monday morning.
Tuch staying physical
Tuch had a rough Game 1. But the rookie forward said he’s going to remain a physical presence on the ice.
“No, I think I want to keep doing what I’m doing, play hard, hit hard,” Tuch said. “But maybe try and generate a little more offensively.
“I was on the wrong end of a couple of hits and my nose and my face is a little busted up. I knew that Winnipeg is a heavy team, so in a game like that you have to push back.”
Tuch thought he could get the best of Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien when he tried to check him early in the third period, but he bounced off Byfuglien like a ball off a wall.
“He took me by surprise, that’s for sure,” Tuch said of the failed hit. “I wound up landing on my face but I guess I should have been a bit more ready. But it was a good hit by him.”