WINNIPEG - There will be some distinct Manitoba flavour on the ice when the 2012 Stanley Cup final gets underway on Wednesday.
After enduring an injury-plagued campaign related to off-season surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, Winnipeg’s Travis Zajac has been logging major minutes and playing a strong, two-way game for the New Jersey Devils.
Zajac, 26, is tied for the team lead with seven goals and is third in points with 12 in 18 games through three rounds of the playoffs.
This coming after producing only two goals and six points in 15 games during the regular season.
Brandon product Bryce Salvador has been a rock on the Devils’ blue-line, playing along Marek Zidlicky.
Salvador, 36, is tied for fourth in team scoring with three goals and 11 points in 18 games.
While the Devils feature a balanced attack, Zajac’s return to health during the stretch run was an important development.
“To get him back was like making a blockbuster trade and not having to give up anything for him,” said Salvador. “To get a No. 1 centre back right when you’re making a run, you can’t put a value on it and it didn’t take him too long to get back to form.”
Left-winger Dustin Penner of Winkler is making a noticeable impact with the Los Angeles Kings after enduring a tumultuous regular season.
Penner, 29, has three goals (including the overtime winner and series clincher in Game 5 against the Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference final) and 10 points in 14 games for the eighth-seeded Kings