鈥?Even if numbers occasionally lie Authentic Markus Wheaton Jersey
, most of them indicate the New England Patriots are in great position to hoist a sixth Lombardi Trophy.The reasons begin in the only place they could: with Tom Brady.Yes, at 40 years old Brady would be the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl if the Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. He would dethrone Peyton Manning, who won at age 39 with the Denver Broncos to cap the 2015 season.Brady has put up numbers in his 18th season unmatched by any player in NFL history. He led the league with 4,577 yards passing during the regular season and his five touchdown passes are tied for the most in the playoffs.Brady’s seven Super Bowl appearances are as many as the entire Eagles roster. He’s faced a myriad of difficult scenarios in the championship game, including last year’s 25-point hole the Patriots dug out of to beat the Falcons.Brady won that one without tight end Rob Gronkowski, who will be in uniform after being cleared late this week. Close games have been no problem , for Brady and coach Bill Belichick either. The total difference in scoring in those seven games is 12 points: Patriots 169, opponents 157.You want to talk about comebacks? No player in the Super Bowl era has more fourth-quarter comebacks in the playoffs in his career than Brady’s eight. It’s probably why Brady chuckled this week when he was again asked about how long he wanted to keep playing.“Why does everyone want me to retire so bad?” Brady said. “I don’t get it. I’m having fun. The team’s doing good. I know I’m a little bit older than most of the guys, but I’m really enjoying it. … I’m not thinking about retirement. I’m thinking about the Super Bowl and trying to win the most important game of the year.”As big as the Brady factor is, he’s not the only advantage New England has.The Patriots lost go-to receiver Julian Edelman in the preseason to a knee injury and linebacker Dont’a Hightower to a season-ending shoulder injury in October. After some early-season struggles, Belichick found a way to plug the holes Cheap Korey Toomer Jersey
, with contributions from several previously unheralded players like Trey Flowers, Kyle Van Noy, Lawrence Guy and Ricky Jean Francois .New England has also gotten a strong season from receiver Brandin Cook after acquiring him from New Orleans this offseason. He posted his third straight 1,000-yard receiving season (1,082) and was second on the team in receiving yards behind only Gronkowski (1,084). Running back Dion Lewis has also found new life just two seasons removed from a knee injury. He led the team with 896 yards rushing and six rushing touchdowns.It’s underlined the football savvy of Belichick, who with a sixth Super Bowl win would pass Vince Lombardi and tie George Halas and Curly Lambeau for most NFL championships by a coach.Belichick will be taking part in his 11th Super Bowl as a head coach or assistant, the most among any coach in NFL history. That amounts to 21.2 percent of all Super Bowls in league history and 34.4 percent of all Super Bowls since his first appearance as the Giants defensive coordinator in 1986.Though there have been reports of alleged friction this season between Belichick, Brady and team owner Robert Kraft, it’s clear they are on the same page when it comes to the pursuit of championships.“It changes every year. The venues are different, the teams are different Taron Johnson Jersey Elite
, the matchups are different, and the road the team has traveled to get here is different, as is the road your opponent has traveled,” Belichick said. “Each one is unique. Each one’s special.” A strong power play and penalty kill can carry a team deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs. Right now, the Los Angeles Kings hope their special teams can do what it takes just to reach the postseason.
Anze Kopitar scored one of his team’s three power-play goals, Jonathan Quick made 23 saves and the Kings moved back into playoff position with a 3-0 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday night.
”Obviously, scoring three power-play goals goes a long way,” Kopitar said. ”I guess this time of year it doesn’t really matter how you do it but you’ve got to figure out ways to win, and we did that tonight.”
Jeff Carter also scored and Dion Phaneuf had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who tied Anaheim for third place in the Pacific Division at 91 points. They also passed Colorado (90 points) and St. Louis (89) in the Western Conference wild-card race.
Phaneuf gave the Kings a 1-0 lead 4:04 into the second period, scoring on a long shot from the blue line five seconds into a power play. All four of Phaneuf’s goals since being acquired from Ottawa in a Feb. 13 trade have come on the man advantage.
Adrian Kempe got the lone assist for winning the faceoff against Troy Brouwer Martinas Rankin Jersey Elite , and Tyler Toffoli set a screen that kept goalie Mike Smith from seeing Phaneuf’s shot.
”The key on power play, if you get people to the net and you get opportunities for lanes to the net and you shoot the puck early, it really forces the penalty killers to turn and face their net,” Kings coach John Stevens said. ”Once Dion shot the first one there, it really had a ripple effect where guys were looking to move the puck quick and get it to the net.”
Kopitar made it 2-0 at 11:55 with his seventh power-play goal of the season. Scoring on a wrist shot from the left circle, Kopitar matched his career high of 34 goals during the 2009-10 season. The Kings captain has five goals in his last three games.
Flames forward Sam Bennett committed three penalties in the opening 30:21, with his infractions for high-sticking and tripping leading to the Kings’ first two power-play goals.
Carter put Los Angeles in front 3-0 by following up his own rebound from close range at 8:24 of the third. He has 10 goals in 16 games since returning from surgery to repair a cut tendon in his ankle.
Los Angeles scored three power-play goals in a game for the third time.
Smith stopped 26 shots for the Flames, who were eliminated from playoff contention. Calgary has been outscored 28-7 during a six-game losing streak.
”It’s tough to create against LA at the best of times, but I thought we limited them. Again, 5-on-5, there weren’t many chances out there. Just the specialty teams came into play Mike Gesicki Youth Jersey ,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said.
Already without forwards Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk because of injury, the depleted Flames had to play without top scorer Johnny Gaudreau, who was not with the team after his father had a cardiac event on Monday.
The lack of scoring punch beyond those three, who have combined to score 78 of Calgary’s 203 goals, is something the Flames will have to address to get back into the playoff chase next season, Gulutzan said.
”You can see that we’re a little bit dependent on some of our top guys to create most of our offense, and that’s an issue that is coming to light a little bit,” Gulutzan said.
NOTES: Kings D Jake Muzzin did not return after sustaining an upper-body injury in the second period. Muzzin fell awkwardly into the boards following a hit by Micheal Ferland. … Dustin Brown had two assists.
Flames: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
Kings: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.