MINSK, Belarus -- Before Mark Scheifele got injured in early March, the Winnipeg Jets sat one point out of a playoff spot. A sprained right knee derailed any hope of making a run. Now Scheifele is healthy, and Team Canada heads into the playoff round at the world hockey championship with legitimate medal aspirations thanks in part to his progression. "Every game hes got better and better," coach Dave Tippett said. "Hes been gd in the faceoff dot, puck control. ... Were going to need everybody to be a gd team in the quarter-final, and Scheif, his game has improved every game we played." Scheifele assisted on Ryan Elliss overtime winner against Sweden, scored against Norway and is making use of his increased ice time. Along with the Toronto Maple Leafs Morgan Rielly and Nazem Kadri and the Calgary Flames Sean Monahan, the 21-year-old Jets centre is making big strides in Minsk. "You just gain experience," Scheifele said. "You play against different kinds of hockey. Its just kind of a matter of learning how to adapt to who youre playing against, what kind of competition youre coming against. Obviously just playing with and against the best players in the world helps." Each game is a new test for the young Canadian team, but Scheifeles journey to the world championships showed Paul Maurice something. Maurice, his coach in Winnipeg and an assistant to Tippett at this tournament, was impressed by how hard Scheifele worked to recover from a sprained MCL to be ready. At first, the coaching staff saw a player who hadnt experienced game action in more than two months. Then Maurice saw the player who was so vital to the Jets when healthy. "Hes responded like Mark does: He just got better," Maurice said. "He didnt play a lot in the (first) few games and kept working hard in practice and hed get his handful of shifts one night and show you something in each shift. Dave Tippett is really strong at recognizing that in players during games, so hes gotten more and more opportunity." Scheifele, who is expected to again centre the fourth line in Thursdays quarter-final game against Finland, had a leg up on Monahan going in because he had a little more experience. But he wasnt quite himself. That made Scheifele the 13th forward and his ice time dropped. The Kitchener, Ont., native played just 2:20 in the second game against Slovakia and then 24 the next one against the Czech Republic. A leg injury to Alex Burrows -- who practised Wednesday and is set to return against Finland after a two-game absence -- gave Scheifele another chance. His patience set up arguably Canadas biggest goal of the tournament, and he scored another to help ensure first place in the group. "I think every game I kind of get a little more ice, a little more comfortable," Scheifele said. "Every game, just getting my legs under me, and thats the biggest thing. I feel more comfortable every game, and I just got to continue that." The tests are just beginning for the world championship rkies, including 20-year-old Flames prospect Johnny Gaudreau, whose U.S. team faces the Czech Republic on Thursday for the right to face the winner of Canada-Finland. "Playing with NHL players and playing against NHL players obviously will help me in my game and help me develop as a player," Gaudreau said. "Playing college the last three years I felt this would be the best opportunity to help me become a better pro." Olli Jokinen, a teammate of Scheifeles with the Jets and captain of Finland, agrees wholeheartedly. "Everybodys goal is to make the playoffs and have a long run. At the same time with the younger players coming here, I think for them understanding the games like this. Its like a Game 7 in the playoffs," Jokinen said. "Having experience like that, its going to help you to get even better. And at the same time, for the younger guys, its an eye-opener, probably, t, how tough this tournament actually is." Tippett likes that his younger players get an opportunity to play in "real competitive, playoff-style games." Rielly considers it beneficial to work with three different coaches he didnt know before and thinks that itll help him learn quicker in the future. "You get a chance to kind of learn new breakouts, new power-play things," the 20-year-old Leafs defenceman said. "I think if youre trying to keep learning like that, thats always helpful. I think Ill be able to carry that back to Toronto with me." Scheifele and Maurice will be able to carry something back to Winnipeg, as well. The tournament is just another chance for the coach who signed a four-year deal and the Jets franchise forward to get better accustomed to each other after just half a season together. Maurice said hes still learning about Scheifele, but he has a lot to be proud of over the past couple of months. "What I really like is how hes handled the adversity of the injury," Maurice said. "When something doesnt go his way, he doesnt quit. He digs in and works harder and competes and then I also recognize that this is a learning experience for him. Over the course of his career hes going to have some adversity. "The question is how do you learn to handle it, and hes learned to handle it here with some pretty high-level hockey where he wasnt handed ice time and he fought his way through it and became a real important part of the team here." According to Jokinen, Scheifele followed the same path in his first full NHL season as he has at the world championships. As a result, he has a chance to be a major contributor for Canada now that every game is an elimination game. "It tk him a little bit of time to get used to it," Jokinen said. "But once he started feeling comfortable, he was really gd for us. Hes a highly skilled player, he can be the difference-maker every time when he steps on the ice." NOTES -- Tippett would not reveal which goaltender, Ben Scrivens or James Reimer, would start Thursday against Finland, which has no such dilemma thanks to the presence of a healthy Pekka Rinne. ... Defenceman Tyler Myers missed Wednesdays practice because of the flu bug thats going around the team. Tippett expects him to be OK to play in the quarter-finals. Saucony Baratas Online . Joining him in this years class were Switzerlands Patrick Huerlimann and Norways Eigil Ramsfjell. The announcement was made at the world mens curling championship at Capital Indr Stadium in China. Zapatillas Saucony España . QUARTERBACKS Carson Palmer (vs Colts)Last week: 30/42, 419 yards, 2 TDsWinners of their last three and now tied for the final wild card spot in the NFC, the Cardinals are worth keeping an eye on. http://www.baratassaucony.es/. The group of Slava Fetisov, Igor Larionov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Sergei Fedorov, & Slava Kozlov were a dominant force for The Wings at one point in the 90s. Comprar Zapatillas Saucony Baratas .com) - Manu Ginobili capped off a 26-point night with a go-ahead layup with 24 seconds left in overtime, with the basket giving the San Antonio Spurs a much-needed 95-93 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Zapatillas Saucony Outlet . - No matter the lineup or location, the San Antonio Spurs are rolling through the NBA again this spring, just the way they have for most of the last two decades.The Bruins bury the Red Wings, Pittsburgh controls play against Columbus, Colorados amazing comeback and the Kings stay alive; Scott Cullen has notes on Krug, Hamilton, Nyquist, Crosby, MacKinnon, Quick and more. BRUINS FINISH RED WINGS The Boston Bruins calmly dispatched the Detroit Red Wings, with a 4-2 win Saturday afternn, wrapping up their first-round series in five games. While the series was short, it was relatively competitive but, in the end, the Bruins simply had t much. In Game Five, the Red Wings had a goal and an assist each from Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg -- and contributions from their superstars may have been their best chance for the upset -- but it wasnt enough. Boston got a goal and an assist from LW Milan Lucic and two assist from D Torey Krug on their way to the second round. The tough part for the Red Wings is that they couldnt get any production out of the young forwards that had played such vital roles this season. LW Tomas Tatar, C Riley Sheahan and RW Gustav Nyquist were held off the scoresheet in all five games and the tendency might be to think that these inexperienced forwards were overmatched in the moment, but they were Detroits best puck possession trio in the series, all three on for better than 58% of shot attempts at 5-on-5. Yet, there was ultimately some dissatisfaction from the Wings, who needed goals, not possession. In the series-deciding game, which Detroit trailed for 42 minutes, Nyquist played only 11:55, a threshold he surpassed in 44 of the previous 45 games. Detroits uphill battle was made steeper by the fact that G Jimmy Howard missed the last two games with a suspected concussion. Jonas Gustavsson actually played well, stopping 66 of 72 shots (.917), but its tough to upend the Bruins with a second-string goaltender. Datsyuk, playing on a bad knee, finished with five points in five games and was the only Red Wing with more than two points in the series. The Bruins emerged from the series, relatively easily, even though David Krejcis line struggled in possession terms. It certainly didnt hurt to have G Tuukka Rask at the top of his game, stopping 146 of 152 shots (.961) in the series. C Patrice Bergeron and Krug tied for the Bruins team lead with five points in the series. Lucic, RW Jarome Iginla and D Dougie Hamilton each had four points. That the Bruins young defencemen were able to contribute offensively proved to be a real advantage. The series win sets up Boston for a matchup with their rivals from Montreal. The top-seeded Bruins will be favoured, but the head-to-head matchups with the Canadiens have been tumultuous, dramatic affairs (well, forever, but also) in recent seasons, so it should be a fascinating battle. PENGUINS TAKE SERIES LEAD Perhaps feeling a little threatened, with the series tied 2-2, the Pittsburgh Penguins came out firing in Game Five and dominated play on their way to a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The margin could have been much if not for the play of Blue Jackets G Sergei Bobrovsky, who stopped 48 of the 50 shots he faced. As the Penguins made a concerted effort to play Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin together on the top line, it turned out that Pittsburghs best possession numbers came from the second and third lines. Lee Stempniak, Brandon Sutter, Jussi Jokinen and Beau Bennett were each on the ice for more than 70% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts. Pittsburghs depth was also bsted by the presence of C Marcel Goc, who played 104 in his first game since suffering an ankle injury March 27. The possession domination for Pittsburgh, naturally, had a counter in Columbus, where Jack Skille, R.J. Umberger, Nick Foligno and Artem Anisimov were each below 30%. Penguins D Brks Orpik missed the game with an undisclosed injury, giving Robert Bortuzzo an opportunity to play his first NHL playoff game and Bortuzzo didnt hhurt the Penguins in 136 of ice time.dddddddddddd While there has been criticism of Sidney Crosby for his play in this series, it needs to be said that his play is probably better than fine. After 11 individual shot attempts, and one assist, in Game Five, Crosby has five points and a in five games and has been on the ice for 60.1% of the shot attempts during 5-on-5 play. His LW, Chris Kunitz, had a goal and an assist, with seven shots on goal and six hits, in Game Five. This hasnt been an easy series for the Penguins, by any stretch, and theyre still trying to do it with the second-best goaltender in the series, but their skill advantage has been enough to give them the lead in the series. ROCKY MOUNTAIN WAY Trailing 2-1 into the third period of Game Five, the Minnesota Wild scored twice in the first 6:25 of the third period to take the lead and appeared on their way to taking the game, before the Avalanche scored with 1:14 remaining to tie it, then finished matters 3:27 into overtime. In the end, the 4-3 overtime win gave the Avalanche a 3-2 series lead. The winning goal was authored by Avalanche rkie Nathan MacKinnon, who finished the game with a goal and two assists, giving him a playoff-leading 10 points thus far. Hes three points away from Jaromir Jagrs scoring record for an 18-year-old rkie in the postseason. MacKinnon played 21:56 in Game Five, second among Colorado forwards, behind only Paul Stastny (22; MacKinnon, who averaged 17:21 of ice time per game during the regular season, has played more than 21 minutes in four of five games in the series. The sequence leading up to the game-tying goal was contentious. There was an apparent holding penalty that was ignored in Colorados defensive zone, with the net empty, and then the Avalanche appeared to be offside seconds before PA Parenteau buried the tying goal. This is what is known as "getting the breaks." Avalanche LW Cody McLeod scored a goal, but was obliterated at even-strength, on for two shot attempts for and 17 against (10.5%). With McLeod off the ice, the Avalanche had 56.2% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts. For the Wild, LW Matt Moulson, C Mikko Koivu and D Marco Scandella were on the ice for at least two-thirds of the shot attempts at 5-on-5, though Scandella was unfortunate enough to get beaten by McKinnon on the winning goal. Its been a close series to this point, though the Wild have held the possession edge, and it shifts back to Minnesota for Game Six. Colorado may get a bst with C Matt Duchene nearing a return to the lineup. If Duchene is ready to go, that ought to help Colorados cause. KINGS KEEP ON KEEPING ON Facing elimination for the second time in the series, the Los Angeles Kings stormed into San Jose Saturday night and outplayed the Sharks from the get-go, building a 3-0 lead 22 seconds into the second period before chilling out and taking that lead to games end. The Kings had outshot the Sharks 19-6 by the time they had taken that 3-0 lead, chasing Sharks G Antti Niemi. Not only did the Sharks lose the game, but also lost D Marc-Edouard Vlasic was hurt (upper-body injury) on a run-in with Kings C Jarret Stoll. It cost Stoll two minutes for roughing, but Vlasic did not return. If hes not able to play in Game Six, thats a huge blow to the Sharks.. Kings RW Justin Williams had a game-high seven shots on goal (11 shot attempts), leading the Kings on ice for 73.1% of shot attempts. Kings G Jonathan Quick stopped all 30 shots sent in his direction, a decided improvement after some rough games earlier in the series. While the Kings are trying to make the unlikeliest of comebacks, from being down 3-0, if they manage to get gd goaltending from Quick, maybe its possible. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebk. ' ' '