Ryan Reaves appears to have found his groove in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The rugged forward has been in the Golden Knights’ lineup the past three games and had a solid performance as part of the fourth line in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday.
“I thought we got out of our zone really quick, as opposed to Game 1,” Reaves said of the line’s play during the team’s player availability Tuesday at City National Arena. “I thought we got hemmed in a little bit. A couple chances, but I thought for the most part we really took care of our end and limited their chances. Got some big blocks from a lot of guys.”
Reaves said he felt more comfortable in Game 2, a 3-1 victory that evened the series heading into Game 3 on Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena.
“I tried keeping it simple the first game, for sure,” he said. “I didn’t try and do too much. Just kind of getting back to where I left off with (Pierre-Edouard Bellemare) and (Tomas) Nosek.”
Coach Gerard Gallant said he liked what he has seen from the fourth line.
“I thought they did their job both games,” he said. “They competed, they played hard, they do what I ask them to do every night.
“They had a real good game (Monday). When they’re good, they’re usually forechecking hard and possessing the puck in the offensive zone, and I thought they did a good job (Monday).”
Reaves grew up in Winnipeg so he knows the passion of the Jets’ fans. But he’s convinced they are the second-best fans in this series.
“I think we’ve got the best fans in the league,” he said. “They’re loud every game, every second of the game. They’re partying with us, so I expect the exact same. It’s going to be loud, it’s going to be fun.
“They’re better than Winnipeg fans, c’mon.”
Haula still shotless
It has been a slow start to the conference finals for center Erik Haula. He has failed to register a shot on goal through the first two games. Linemate James Neal had his only two shots of the series on Monday.
Alex Tuch, who was moved up to Haula’s line after David Perron took ill and was not in the lineup Monday, had one shot in Game 1 while playing with Cody Eakin.
Gallant said Perron was still under the weather and remained day-to-day.
Jets’ power play clicking
The Jets have scored at least one power-play goal in their past three games. Winnipeg is 4 for 7 in its past three playoff games and has scored a power play goal in 11 of the 13 playoff games.
Going into Tuesday’s play, Winnipeg lead the NHL in goals scored for the playoffs with 48, one goal ahead of Washington.