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Gallant’s laid-back demeanor comes through

 
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MessagePosté le: Jeu 9 Aoû - 09:53 (2018)    Sujet du message: Gallant’s laid-back demeanor comes through Répondre en citant

Freed from the weight of the world of being Stanley Cup favorites http://www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jihad-ward-jersey , the Washington Capitals are playing like a team eager to prove something.
Prove doubters wrong, prove their championship window hasn’t closed and, most notably, prove they can get over the playoff hump that has vexed them over the past decade. Led by top NHL goal scorer Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals go into their first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets having won 12 of their final 15 games and feeling confident about this spring despite a series of early playoff exits.
”I hope best hockey is going to be in the playoffs,” Ovechkin said Saturday night. ”I think the balance on our team right now is pretty good and pretty high. That’s very good thing to go into the playoffs because in playoffs you never know what’s going to happen. Maybe one shift can change the whole series. I think we’re ready for it.”
Few expected the Capitals to win the Metropolitan Division again after losing Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson, Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner, Kevin Shattenkirk and Daniel Winnik from last year’s team that won the Presidents’ Trophy for the second consecutive season. Coach Barry Trotz and players miss no opportunity to bring up all the preseason predictions about them being a playoff bubble team.
Of course, when they sat at 11-10-1 just before Thanksgiving Daniel Castro Colorado Rockies Jersey , those lower expectations looked accurate. General manager Brian MacLellan insists he was never worried – and his team’s 38-16-6 record the rest of the way was the fourth best in the NHL in that time behind only Boston, Nashville and Winnipeg.
The Capitals don’t have the playoff buzz of the Bruins, Predators, Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning or the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, but they have as good a chance as anyone of reaching the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in the Ovechkin era.
”We have a chance to go the distance,” MacLellan said. ”I don’t know that we’re as deep or as experienced as we were last year, but I think the whole league is a little less of that. There’s probably a couple teams that are a little deeper that might have a chance, theoretically, of going farther, but I think we’re in the mix with the high-end teams.”
Everyone thought the Capitals were the highest of high-end teams in 2016 and 2017 Tracy Walker Color Rush Jersey , and they lost to the eventual Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round each time. Williams has implied that favorite status didn’t suit the Capitals well, and Trotz said ”the crown is quite heavy” for a team expected to win.
It showed.
”I think there was some external pressure that creeped in the room,” veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik said. ”I think maybe as a veteran group, we probably don’t want to admit that it affected us. I think at times it definitely did.”
Finishing in first place puts some pressure on the Capitals, but it’s nothing like in years past. More than anything, there’s urgency to win with Ovechkin 32 and having three years remaining on his contract.
”We all know what we’re playing for is to win a championship and I’m hoping we do it this year,” owner Ted Leonsis said. ”I’m hoping we do it within his contract time.”
Columbus is a tough first-round matchup for the Capitals, but their play down the stretch makes a long playoff run possible if they get strong goaltending from Braden Holtby or Philipp Grubauer. From the net out, Washington looks like a contender thanks to the trade-deadline additions of defensemen Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek and the play of centers Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom.
”We’re playing the right way a lot of the time,” Holtby said. ”It’s more where you’re at as a team and I think we’re continuing to build and push forward in the right direction. We have a lot of guys contributing right now. It’s a good sign.”
Washington’s road to the elusive Cup could go through Pittsburgh and then Boston, Tampa Bay or Toronto. Perhaps the expectations being on those teams instead of the Capitals isn’t such a bad thing.
”I think it’s a good thing because I think last two years we were on top of the league and we win Presidents’ Trophy http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-vinny-curry-jersey ,” Ovechkin said. ”Everybody thought we were going to be unstoppable in playoffs and we didn’t. … We’re going to do our thing and we’re going to have success.”


Three straight one-goal decisions in their first-ever playoff series have the Vegas Golden Knights in position of advancing to the second round.
A number the Golden Knights don’t want to consider is five as they look to eliminate the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
Only four NHL teams have squandered 3-0 leads in a best-of-seven playoff series: the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs; the 1975 New York Islanders; the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers — and the Kings, who defeated the San Jose Sharks in the opening round and eventually went on to defeat the New York Rangers for their second Stanley Cup.
That’s why Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb is not ready to call this series over heading into Game 4.
“They’re a confident group, still. They believe in there, for sure,” he said of the Kings. “We can’t deviate from what we need to do.”
Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty is also sticking to the one-game-at-a-time mantra.
“We’ve done it before, but I don’t think we’re looking that far ahead,” he told the Kings’ official website. “Obviously we’ve got to win that series, but we’re not looking at it in that sort of way. We’ve just got to win one game right now.”
Vegas is on the brink of sweeping after scoring three third-period goals en route to a 3-2 victory in Game 3 on Sunday night. Cody Eakin tied the score, 1-1, early in the frame before Neal and William Karlsson scored 21 seconds apart with just under six minutes to play.
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant credits a veteran core with deep playoff experience to keep the team on an even keel.
“A lot of these guys have been there before,” he said. “Deryk Engelland http://www.49ersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kentavius-street-jersey , James Neal, (Marc-Andre) Fleury, they talk to the players about being composed.”
According to the league’s official website, the Golden Knights are the third team to win their first three playoff games, joining the 1996 Florida Panthers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won four straight in 1970.
Unlike Vegas, the Panthers and Penguins did so in their third seasons. And, again, Gallant’s laid-back demeanor comes through.
“My message all year long … we worry about the next game,” he said. “I don’t worry about what’s happened in the past. “
If Los Angeles is to extend the series, it needs contributions from their top players. The Kings have managed three goals in the series — one from center Anze Kopitar (career-high 35 regular-season goals) and none from wingers Dustin Brown (28 goals) and Tyler Toffoli (24).
Toffoli Su'a Cravens Color Rush Jersey , who’s taken a team-high 14 shots in the series, knows what he must do.
“I had a lot of opportunities in front of the net and around the net, and I’ve just got to get pucks up and be able to find a way to score,” he said. “I’ve had plenty of opportunities to score. I’ve just got to be able to finish.”
In just about any other series, the Kings’ Jonathan Quick would be praised for his 1.69 goals-against average through three games. Fleury, though, has logged an 0.84 GAA.
“It’s going to be hard to finish this series out. Every game’s been really tight. It’s going to be a battle,” McNabb said.
Game 5, if necessary, is scheduled for Thursday night in Las Vegas.

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