April 10, 2019 12:06 pm

Moore’s Morning Sports Briefing for Wednesday, April 10

Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele (55) and Kevin Hayes (12) joke around during practice prior to their first round of NHL playoff action against the St. Louis Blues in Winnipeg, Monday, April 8, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

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Gooooooooodddddd Morning!

Now that coaches have been fired, one even hired, the draft lottery has been dispensed with … it’s showtime!

READ MORE: ‘It’s gonna be a helluva series’: Winnipeg Jets preparing for new and improved St. Louis Blues


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The NHL playoffs finally get underway tonight on five different fronts, including downtown Winnipeg where the Jets and St. Louis Blues will square off. And even though the teams are meeting for the first time in 124 days, Paul Maurice does not expect a “cautious” start to the first period.

Perhaps one of the most anxious members of the Jets will be Nikolaj Ehlers, who did have seven assists, but not a single goal in 15 playoff games last spring.

That would certainly be huge for the “Dashing Dane” who will start the series playing on a line with Mathieu Perreault and Kevin Hayes.

Much has been made of the decidedly different way the Wpg Jets finished the season a year ago, compared to how they stumbled at the finish line and squandered a division title this April. But veteran centre Bryan Little says there’s no reason for panic, or pessimism, going into tonight’s 7 p.m. faceoff.

As of 8 a.m. this morning, there were still “some” tickets available for tonight as well as Game Two of the series on Friday.

Columbus will try to prove the playoffs are a different animal when they open in Tampa Bay. The Blue Jackets were outscored 17-3 by the Lightning during 3 regular season losses. Pittsburgh at the Islanders, Nashville hosting Dallas, and Vegas versus San Jose at the Shark Tank are also part of the lineup on the opening night of the Stanley Cup Tournament.

If the majority of the pundits are correct, on June 21st in Vancouver- the New Jersey Devils, with the first pick in the 2019 Entry Draft will be proud to select- from the US National Developement Team, Center Jack Hughes.

The Devils moved up from the 3rd position after winning the Draft Lottery last night in Toronto. Colorado went from having the best odds at 18.5%, to slipping to 4th. Wedged in between with picks 2 and 3 are the Rangers and Chicago, who also moved up the board at the expense of the Avs.

READ MORE: NHL playoffs begin Wednesday as Canada’s Stanley Cup drought approaches 26 years

Team Canada wrapped up round robin play at the World Women’s Hockey Championship Tournament in Espoo, Finland with a convincing 6-1 beatdown of the host country. But because of an earlier loss to the USA, Canada will have to play Germany in the Quarterfinals tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.

The Pembina Valley Twisters refused to be “Stonewalled” in their quest for a 3rd McKenzie Cup – Manitoba Major Junior League Championship. The regular season champs avoided a Game 7 in the semifinals with a 6-0 road win over the Stonewall Jets. They’ll await the winner of the Transcona – St. James semifinal series. And that one is going at least six games after the Canucks routed the Railer Express 6-2.

NBA

The Toronto Raptors finished off their regular season with a 58th win, as Kawhi Leonard scored 20 in a 120-100 victory at Minnesota. Now the Raps wait for tonight to see if it will be Brooklyn, Orlando, or Detroit who finish 7th in the East.

Strange, strange night in LA. About 90 minutes before the Lakers put a wrap on a 6th consecutive losing season. Magic Johnson announced he is resigning to enjoy “the simple life” after just 2 years and change as the Team’s President of Basketball Operations. Magic wanted to fire head coach Luke Walton, but owner Jeannie Buss did not, which might explain why the media was informed of that decision — before Buss, or GM Rob Pelinka.

In Dallas, Dirk Novitzki told Maverick fans last night’s home game was the last one of his future Hall of Fame career as the 40 year old officially announced his retirement. And the 14 time all star, who played all 21 of his NBA seasons in Dallas, went out in style with a season high 30 points in the Mavs 120-109 victory over Phoenix.

And at Miami, Dwayne Wade capped off his brilliant career with a 30 point effort of his own to lead Miami past Philadfelphia 122-99.

MLB

The light hitting Blue Jays finally got the bats out of the rack to edge Boston 7-5 and spoil the Bosox home opener at Fenway Park, which also included the raising of the 2018 World Series Championship Banner.

Mike Trout had to leave in the 4th inning with a groin injury during a slide into second base- but the LA Angels shook that off and went on to crush Milwaukee 11-0. The Twins homered six times in a 14-8 win over the Mets, and Seattle doubled Kansas City 6-3 to improve to an MLB best 11-2.

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