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market, starting with Pittsburgh in 2017 and Minnesota in 2018.Nashville will host St. Louis with a morning faceoff, and fans wi

in Hier könnt Ihr Umfragen erstellen und Posten 21.03.2019 04:25
von elaine95 • Gaser Lehrling III | 158 Beiträge

LAS VEGAS (AP) Winning a Stanley Cup isn’t meant to be easy Jean-Gabriel Pageau Jersey , something that even the novice hockey fans in Las Vegas now surely understand.No need to tell it to the Washington Capitals. They’ve spent 43 seasons chasing the elusive Cup, only to find an expansion team – of all things – in the way of finally ending the drought.The battle for hockey supremacy heads to the nation’s capital all tied up 1-1 after a pair of games as entertaining as anything on the Las Vegas Strip. The goals keep coming and so do the hits, including one Wednesday night on Evgeny Kuznetsov that both knocked him out of the game and seemed to wake Washington out of its daze.Their top playoff scorer out, the Caps rallied for three straight goals that stopped – at least for a moment – a team that has been virtually unstoppable throughout the playoffs.”It galvanized us as a group,” Caps coach Barry Trotz said. ”I think it might be a turning point for us.”On a night when Alex Ovechkin scored the first Stanley Cup Final goal of his 13-year NHL career to give the Caps a lead they somehow managed to hold onto even while being outplayed and outshot by the Knights in the third period, Washington won a final-round game for the first time ever to make the flight back home a lot sweeter.For the Capitals it means service held, with the next two games in far friendlier confines at home.For the Knights, it was a golden opportunity gone awry.They were 7-1 in the playoffs at home, 11-1 overall when scoring the first goal. So when James Neal scored barely eight minutes into the game, the party was on.And then, suddenly, it was off. At least for now.Credit some of that to the resilience of the Caps, who were down a goal when Kuznetsov was knocked out of the game. Give a tip of the hat to Ovechkin, too, who scored the go-ahead goal in the second period.But when the story of this Cup Final is finally written it may hinge on a hit by Brayden McNabb on Kuznetsov as he had the puck along the boards late in the first period. McNabb slammed into Kuznetsov with a high check and Kuznetsov immediately bent over holding his arm with what appeared to be a wrist injury.Another team might have folded in front of the raucous crowd of 18 http://www.senatorsshoponline.com/authentic-mark-stone-jersey ,702. But the Caps have been resilient all the way through the playoffs, and this game was no exception.”It was all about commitment. We blocked shots and played for each other,” forward Nicklas Backstrom said. ”It’s good to win and go back to Washington.”On a 98-degree day in Las Vegas, the action on the ice was as hot as the weather outside. The Knights dominated play at times and outshot the Caps 39-26, but could not deliver on a 5-on-3 power play in the scoreless third period.When Alex Tuch was denied on a spectacular stick save with 1:59 to play by Braden Holtby, the Knights would not be lucky on this night in the biggest game of chance on the Strip. Their Game 1 win, after all, included the Caps’ Lars Eller missing a wide-open net from point-blank range in the final minutes.”To me it was the hockey gods evening it up from the last game,” Trotz said. ”Once he made that save I knew we were going to win the game.”Las Vegas pulled out all the stops to make the first two games as memorable off the ice as they have been on the ice. The Imagine Dragons – a Vegas Born group – sang just before the puck dropped and a flyover by the Air Force’s latest F-35 jets shook the building, as did the applause later between periods when the pilots appeared in front of the Knight’s faux castle to cheer the team on.But just as Game 1 seemed to shift in the Knights’ favor after Jonathan Marchessault was knocked to the ice on what appeared to be a late hit by Washington’s Tom Wilson, this game seemed to turn on that hit by McNabb with the Knights up 1-0.Not only did Washington score three straight goals, one of them came from the player who must be spectacular if the Capitals are forced to play without Kuznetsov for any length of time in the finals.Ovechkin has toiled for the Capitals since being picked first in the 2004 draft, but had never played in a Stanley Cup Final until Game 1 – and never scored in one until Wednesday.”He’s the heart and soul of this team,” Washington defenseman John Carlson said. ”He does so much and doesn’t get credit. We love him to death. He’s our leader and it’s nice to see him get that big goal for us.”For the Knights it was a rare whiff in a season like no other. They’ve been one of the great stories in sports, an expansion team in its first season playing for the championship of the NHL.But every great story needs a great ending Youth Matt Duchene Jersey , and for the Knights to write one they’re now going to have to win at least one game on the road.”It’s the Stanley Cup final, it’s little things,” said Knights forward Erik Haula. ”Nobody said it’s gonna be a 4-0 series. It’s gonna be ups and downs. We’ve been here before, we’ve been good on the road. Just put this behind us, just learn from your mistake.”—-Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Pekka Rinne is off to an even better start than last season when he finally won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goalie, and backup Juuse Saros ranks among the league’s top 10 for victories.With both goalies now signed to contract extensions, the Nashville Predators may have the best goalie situation both on and off the ice.“There’s tandems that are much better than others, Nashville has one of them,” said Martin Biron, a former NHL goalie and now Buffalo broadcaster. “And I think if you’re Peter Laviolette, if you’re the goalie coach and the staff, your job and your challenge is to keep them at the highest of levels for the whole season.”So far, the defending Presidents’ Trophy winners are doing just that.The Predators went into Tuesday night’s game in San Jose atop the league standings while also first in the NHL both in goals allowed (37) and 2.12 goals-against per game with Rinne and Saros (7-2-0) splitting the first 18 games. Rinne has been “ImPekkable” with a 6-1-1 record, leading all goalies with at least eight starts with a 1.47 goals-against average and .951 save percentage.“Every day he is and continues to be the backbone of this organization and team and has probably had the biggest impact on this organization Mike Condon Jersey ,” Laviolette said.Rinne is 3-0-1 with a .740 goals-against average and .976 save percentage and a shutout, stopping 121 of 124 shots faced since returning from injured reserve on Oct. 31. The Predators signed Rinne to a two-year extension taking him through 2020-21 on Nov. 3, and the goalie celebrated both the contract and his birthday with his second shutout of the season.Biron said Tuesday that he doesn’t see a big competition for the starting job in Nashville.“It’s Pekka’s job, and Nashville giving him that two-year deal I think is basically saying that ‘We want Pekka, and it’s going to be like that,'” Biron said.Rinne has been a Vezina finalist four of the past eight years, making the seven-year, $49 million contract he signed on an earlier birthday in 2011 worth every penny. That deal ties him for the fourth-priciest contract among goalies with Marc-Andre Fleury (33) of Vegas and Boston’s Tuukka Rask (31). Fleury is under contract through 2021-22, and Rask hits free agency after the 2020-21 season.The Predators signed Rinne to a two-year extension worth $10 million on Nov. 3. General manager David Poile also signed Saros, 23, to a three-year extension in July worth $4.5 million. That means Nashville is projected to drop from seventh with $8.5 million of its salary cap invested in goaltenders to ninth next season with a $6.5 million average annual value, according to Sportrac.com.Rinne could’ve pushed for more money. Montreal’s Carey Price, 31, is getting $10.5 million a year, while Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers is being paid $8.5 million a year through 2020-21.Biron calls Rinne one of the hardest-working goalies he’s ever seen who’s in unbelievable shape. He also sees Rinne simplifying his game as he got older Jaycob Megna Jersey Womens , like Patrick Roy, Dominik Hasek and Eddie Belfour. Rinne still can scramble and react, which Biron thinks will keep Rinne playing at a high level for possibly four more years like Lundqvist.“Pekka can play at least through this next contract, and then after that we’ll see,” Biron said.It’s up to Nashville to make that extra cap space pay off after losing the 2017 Stanley Cup Final in six games and then in seven games in the second round last May. Poile persuaded defenseman Ryan Ellis to take a bit less money with an eight-year deal for $50 million in August, and his next task will be trying to get captain Roman Josi to agree to an extension next summer before the final year on the defenseman’s current deal.“Hopefully this helps in a way that makes this team stay together moving forward,” Rinne said. “I think we have an opportunity to keep this same team. And I think that’s David’s goal and obviously I like the sound of it. I love this group, and I really think we have a chance this year and years to come.”EARLY RETURNSTom Wilson of the Capitals returned to the lineup Tuesday night at Minnesota after arbitrator Shyam Das reduced the forward’s suspension by six games to 14 for his illegal check to the head of St. Louis forward Oskar Sundqvist at the end of the preseason.He made an immediate impact, scoring a first-period goal in a 5-2 victory.Nashville forward Austin Watson is eligible to return to the ice Thursday night when the Predators wrap up a road trip in Arizona after Das cut his suspension from 27 games to 18 after he pleaded no contest in July to a domestic assault charge.Das is the same neutral arbitrator fired by Major League Baseball in 2012 after he overturned Ryan Braun’s drug suspension. The NHL fired arbitrator James Oldham in 2016 after his decision to reduce Dennis Wideman’s 20-game suspension to 10 for striking and injuring an official, and either the NHL or NHLPA can fire the neutral arbitrator after each season.NWHL ALL-STAR GAMEThe Predators, who hosted the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, will be hosting the 2019 NWHL All-Star Weekend capped by an NHL-NWHL doubleheader on Feb. 10. This is the third straight year the NWHL has held its All-Star Weekend in an NHL market, starting with Pittsburgh in 2017 and Minnesota in 2018.Nashville will host St. Louis with a morning faceoff, and fans will be invited to stick around for the NWHL All-Star Game starting soon after the NHL matinee. The All-Star game will feature a pair of 25-minute halves with Shannon Szabados, goalie for the Buffalo Beauts and a three-time Olympian with Canada Ryan Dzingel Jersey , captain of one team and Minnesota defender Lee Stecklein, a U.S. Olympic gold medalist in February, captain of the other team.GAME OF THE WEEKPatrick Marleau and the Toronto Maple Leafs visit his old team in San Jose on Thursday night with Erik Karlsson still settling in with the Sharks.LEADERS (through Tuesday)Goals: David Pastrnak (Boston), 16; Assists: Mikko Rantanen (Colorado), 20; Points: Mikko Rantanen, (Colorado), and Connor McDavid, (Edmonton), 26; Wins: Frederik Andersen (Toronto), 10; Goals-against average: Pekka Rinne (Nashville), 1.47; Save percentage: Pekka Rinne (Nashville), .951.

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