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Description Scott Foster thought it was going to be just another night. Then the 36-year-old accountant signed a contract Youth Johnny Townsend Jersey , put on his goaltender gear and waited in Chicago’s locker room. Then he got into the game. Then it was his night. Foster was pressed into action when Chicago lost Anton Forsberg and Collin Delia to injuries, and the former college goalie stopped all seven shots he faced over the final 14 minutes of the Blackhawks‘ 6-2 victory over the playoff-bound Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. ”This is something that no one can ever take away from me,” Foster said. ”It’s something that I can go home and tell my kids and they can tell their friends. … Just a ton of fun.” Foster is part of a crew of recreational goaltenders who staff Chicago’s home games in case of emergencies for either team. But it usually just means a nice dinner and a night in the press box watching the world’s best players compete at hockey’s highest level. Nothing at all like this. ”What a moment,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said with a chuckle. Forsberg was expected to start, but he got hurt during a ”pregame ritual,” according to Quenneville. Delia, who was just recalled from the minors Wednesday, then stopped 25 of 27 shots in his NHL debut before he was helped off the ice with 14:01 left after he cramped up. Enter Foster, a married father of two who lives in nearby Oak Park and plays in two rec leagues. After a short warmup, the game resumed and Foster got a big cheer from the crowd of 21,839 when he denied Tyler Myers for his first save about a minute after he came in. ”The initial shock happened when I had to dress. I think you just kind of black out after that,” Foster said. Backed by chants of ”Foster! Foster!” and more loud ovations, he made another stop on Myers and turned away Paul Stastny and Dustin Byfuglien in the final minutes. When it was over, the Blackhawks poured onto the ice and mobbed Foster in the net. ”He was great http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jason-sanders-jersey ,” defenseman Brent Seabrook said. ”I think the boys were doing whatever they could to help him out. He made some big saves. Fun night.” The Jets had won six in a row and were trying to clinch home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. But even they were moved by what happened. ”It’s tough for anybody to come in 50 minutes into a hockey game, let alone a guy who hasn’t played in the (NHL),” coach Paul Maurice said. ”A great moment for him.” Carolina Hurricanes equipment manager Jorge Alves became the first emergency goalie to play in a game in the modern era last season. He closed out the final 7.6 seconds of a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay. The NHL adjusted its rules last summer to mandate that teams have an emergency goalie present for all home games ready to fill in for either team – setting the stage for Foster’s most competitive action since 20 minutes in relief with Western Michigan University in the 2005-06 season. ”A few hours ago I was sitting on the computer typing on a 10-key, and now I’m standing in front of you guys having just finished 14 1/2 minutes of NHL hockey,” he cracked. It was a wild finish to one of Chicago’s best performances in a lousy season. Tomas Jurco scored a career-high two goals in Seabrook’s 1,000th regular-season game, and touted prospect Dylan Sikura had two assists in his NHL debut. Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Erik Gustafsson each had a goal and an assist, and Brandon Saad also scored. The 32-year-old Seabrook got the start alongside fellow alternate captain and frequent defensive partner Duncan Keith. He became the fifth player in franchise history to skate in 1,000 or more games for the team, joining Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull, Eric Nesterenko and Bob Murray. Bryan Little scored his 200th NHL goal for Winnipeg in the opener of a four-game trip. Mark Scheifele also scored for the Jets, and Eric Comrie made 36 saves while subbing for starter Connor Hellebuyck. ”It wasn’t a good night Leighton Vander Esch Jersey Elite ,” Little said. ”It wasn’t good from the start. It’s one of those games you want to forget and put behind you and look to the next one.” Kane got Chicago off to a fast start when he shot it between Comrie’s legs for his 27th goal 3:44 into the first, and the Blackhawks just poured it on from there. Saad made it 2-0 with a nifty move to his backhand in front at 17:17. Jurco added two goals in the second before Little got Winnipeg on the board with his 16th of the season at 14:24. But Gustafsson responded for the Blackhawks, scoring on a nice rush to the net at 17:27. NOTES: Quenneville said Delia was going to travel with the team to Colorado and should be fine for Friday night’s game against the Avalanche. With four games left in the season, he said Forsberg (lower body) is likely done for the year. Jean-Francois Berube was recalled from Rockford of the AHL on an emergency basis. UP NEXT Jets: Visit Toronto on Saturday night. Blackhawks: Visit Colorado on Friday night. — Jay Cohen can be reached at Marc-Andre Fleury sat shirtless in front of his locker, staring blankly, his exhausted gaze fixed nowhere. Pads still strapped to his legs after another spectacular night’s work, the Vegas Golden Knights goalie looked as if he were trying to gather his thoughts, trying somehow to make sense of it all. The rest of the hockey world is, too, as the newly minted Knights play Sunday with the most improbable prize of all at stake – a chance to go to the Stanley Cup Final. The story is well known by now, or at least it should be. But the fantasy has never been so close to reality as it is now, with the Knights up 3-1 going into Sunday’s game against the Jets in Winnipeg. An expansion team born last October on the heels of the Las Vegas massacre that took 58 lives is on the brink of winning it all, confounding both hockey experts and expert bookies alike. Even the guys on the other team are shaking their heads at what the hockey gods wrought. ”You know it’s just the stars are just aligning for them,” Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck said. ”But it’s not going to stay that way.” Maybe not Authentic Marcus Davenport Jersey , partly because hockey is a notoriously fickle game. But in this gambling town the odds are suddenly in the house’s favor. With the hope they don’t have to play at home again until the Stanley Cup Final, the Knights trotted out some old Vegas mojo Friday night with Wayne Newton and the Blue Man Group making appearances to root the team on. The Backstreet Boys were there and rapper Lil Jon took the microphone to lead the cheers just before Reilly Smith punched in the go-ahead goal in the third period. And, of course, this being Las Vegas the guy doing the anthems was a singing gondolier whose day job is serenading tourists in the faux canals of Venice just across the street. There’s nothing fake about this team now one win from one of most improbable runs ever. Once 500-1 longshots to win the Stanley Cup in their first year, the Knights are now favored – at least in the sports books – to win it all. It’s enough to make even Bark-Andre Furry – the lovable canine and goalie namesake who is now the unofficial team mascot – to sit up and take notice. ”It’s nice, but the last one is always the toughest to get,” Fleury said. ”I think we have to keep the same mind set and just go and take it one game at a time and not think too far ahead and be ready to play that next game because they are going to be coming hard.” That mentality has worked well for a team that began the season as an afterthought, a collection of unwanted players from other teams thrown together in hopes of winning a respectable number of games in their first year. The coach himself, Gerard Gallant, had been unceremoniously fired from the Florida Panthers, left on the side of a road with his luggage as the team bus headed down the road. It’s been a remarkable run for a team that likes to call itself the Golden Misfits. They’ve struck gold in Las Vegas, a town that loves winners and has embraced its first major pro sports team. Just how remarkable? Well, consider that while the Knights are five wins from bringing home the Stanley Cup in their first year, the Toronto Maple Leafs – a member of the NHL’s exclusive Original Six club – haven’t won one in the last 51 years. On Friday Rasmus Dahlin Sabres Jersey , the Knights used the same formula – speed and stellar goaltending – that has worked for them all year to beat the Jets 3-1 and take a commanding advantage in the Western Conference finals. It was the third straight win for the Knights, who have no illusion on how tough getting win No. 4 will be. ”No team is going to go out quietly this time of the year,” Gallant said. Still, everything seems to be aligning in the Knights’ favor. They’re playing hard, yes, but they’re also getting the kind of bounces and breaks that are usually the difference in a series between two evenly matched teams. That continued in Game 4 as Dustin Byfuglien whiffed on an attempt near the blue line and Smith scooped up the loose puck and raced down the ice to score the winner over the shoulder of Hellebuyck with 6:58 left. Soon the Knights were celebrating, and Elvis was singing. Viva Las Vegas blared through the arena, and the crowd of 18,697 filed out happily into the warm desert night. One win away for a team no one dares bet against. —- Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or .
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