Posts Tagged ‘2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs’

The Washington Capitals overcame a one-goal, third-period deficit to capture their first Stanley Cup in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 on Thursday.

After falling behind two separate times in the second period, the Golden Knights stormed back late in the frame with goals from David Perron and Reilly Smith to head into the final period with a 3-2 lead.

The Capitals, on the back of goals from Devante Smith-Pelly and Lars Eller, re-took the lead in the third period and never looked back. They hung on to claim the franchise’s first Cup win in just their second-ever Final appearance.

Ovechkin, unsurprisingly was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the most valuable player in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, with the win in Vegas, the Capitals become the first team since the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins to win the Stanley Cup after trailing in all four series.

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The Washington Capitals are still a win away from clinching the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup title, but that isn’t stopping questions about a potential White House visit should they earn the crown tomorrow night against the Vegas Golden Knights.

On Wednesday, those questions were posed to Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly.

“The things that he spews are straight-up racist and sexist,” Smith-Pelly said of Trump in an interview with Postmedia’s Michael Traikos. “Some of the things he’s said are pretty gross. I’m not too into politics, so I don’t know all his other views, but his rhetoric I definitely don’t agree with.

“It hasn’t come up here, but I think I already have my mind made up.”

The Capitals as a team have refrained from commenting on any potential trip to visit the president in Washington, but after hearing from Smith-Pelly, you can begin to understand the sentiment within Washington’s dressing room relating to views on the president.

“Things that he’s saying about immigrants and people of color, I don’t think anyone here would agree with that,” said Smith-Pelly. “We’ve got a lot of Europeans and a lot of Canadians.”

Questions regarding the NHL champions’ White House trip have come to the forefront following Donald Trump’s cancellation of the Philadelphia Eagles’ visit to Washington to commemorate the team’s Super Bowl LII victory.

The Capitals will earn the first Cup in the club’s 44-year history with a win over Vegas on Thursday night. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. ET from T-Mobile Arena.

Jonathan Toews would have liked to see his hometown team vie for a chance at the Stanley Cup.

The Chicago Blackhawks captain’s own club missed the playoffs for just the second time in his career and the first time since his rookie season in 2008. He admitted that though it pains him to see any other team lift the trophy, if he had to pick, he would have preferred the Winnipeg Jets to go the distance.

“I definitely don’t want to see any team win the Cup,” Toews told TSN’s Kara Wagland. “I won’t be happy to see someone else hoist it at the end of it all. But I was asked this question numerous times and being from Winnipeg, I think it would have been great for the city, and just knowing how passionate those fans are and how much they love the game. To see their team do well, I was secretly kind of rooting for them if I had to pick somebody.”

The Jets came up short, losing in five games to the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Final.

Meanwhile, Toews remains confident that the Blackhawks will return to the playoffs next season.

“Absolutely,” Toews said. “I think we all were disappointed and kind of shocked as to how the second half of our season went this year and we’re all kind of feeling that sting pretty good. So I think everyone’s going to be excited to bring their best hockey forward next year. We know that’s the goal.”

There appears to be a rift between Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan and star forward Phil Kessel, and the latter’s displeasure with the former’s lineup decisions during the playoffs is apparently at the forefront.

Kessel was reportedly furious that he didn’t play on a line with Evgeni Malkin on a regular basis during the playoffs, according to Josh Yohe of The Athletic. Instead, Kessel spent the bulk of his postseason on a unit centered by either Derick Brassard or Riley Sheahan – something he felt was not conducive to team or personal success.

Sullivan believes Kessel’s attitude about the lineup was selfish, Yohe wrote, while adding that multiple people in the Penguins organization believe Kessel was “pouty” about the situation.

Kessel had just one goal in 12 playoff games, and while he did notch eight assists, only two of them were at even strength.

Many assumed some sort of ailment had hindered Kessel’s production during the postseason, but Sullivan told the media the forward wasn’t dealing with a “significant injury” after the Pens were eliminated by the Washington Capitals in the second round. Kessel never commented on the matter.

Yohe also stated that Kessel is “the first guy off at practice most days and presumably spends more time at Rivers Casino than he does breaking down game film,” so it’s not surprising that some of his tendencies may drive a coach up a wall, even if he’s popular among his teammates.

And Sullivan’s power with the Penguins is “almost unlimited,” according to Yohe. General manager Jim Rutherford has the final say, but he often defers to Sullivan and has a great amount of respect and praise for his coach.

Yohe believes Sullivan doesn’t like Kessel very much, and that the feeling is mutual.

He added that the Penguins aren’t “actively seeking a trade involving Kessel, but they’re willing to listen if anyone makes an offer.”

After a career-best 92-point season with a reasonable $6.8-million cap hit for the next four years (the Toronto Maple Leafs retain $1.2 million annually), there would presumably be no shortage of suitors for the 30-year-old.

The Washington Capitals will not be tempted by the Las Vegas nightlife.

The Capitals descend on Sin City when they open the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night against the Golden KnightsAlex Ovechkin has made it clear the team is focused on one goal.

“We’re going there to play hockey, not to pool party and play in (the) casino,” Ovechkin said, according to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti. “We’re going there to play hockey and do our thing and then we’re going to have all the summer, and whatever we want to do, we can do it.”

The Golden Knights were one of the best regular-season home teams, finishing with 29 wins (tied for third). That caused many to speculate road teams were falling ill to the infamous “Vegas flu,” something the Capitals are looking to avoid.

Alex Ovechkin scored early and Andre Burakovsky added two second-period goals to help the Washington Capitals put a decade of playoff frustration behind them with a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final Wednesday night.

Braden Holtby stopped 29 shots for his second straight shutout and the Lightning, who led the NHL in goals during the regular season, failed to score in the last 159 minutes, 27 seconds – a stretch of nearly eight periods.

Ovechkin, who had never played a team that advanced beyond the second round, scored 1:02 into the winner-take-all showdown he had described as probably the ”biggest game in my life.”

Nicklas Backstrom had an empty-netter to complete the rout.

To earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Final, where they’ll play the Vegas Golden Knights, the Capitals beat the top-seeded Lightning three times on the road, improving to 8-2 away from home this postseason.

It’s Washington’s first Cup Final appearance since 1998, and the first during Ovechkin’s 13-year career.

The Nashville Predators players would like another chance to prove themselves.

The team held its end-of-the-year press conference Monday where general manager David Poile noted several squad members asked that few changes be made as they still believe in the current roster.

“A lot of the players expressed to us in the team meeting that they really believed in our team,” Poile said, per NHL.com’s Robby Stanley. “They loved our team. They thought our chemistry, our culture, was really good. If I was trying to frame it correctly, basically I think what they were saying to the general manager and to the coach is they didn’t want to see a lot of changes.

“I think if we could start tomorrow and be given another opportunity, we and our team would like to play Winnipeg again in another seven-game series. I think that’s how close it is.”

The Predators claimed the Presidents’ Trophy this season but were ousted by the Winnipeg Jets in the second round in what some circles believed to be the “real” Stanley Cup Final.

Luckily for the players, their request shouldn’t be too difficult to grant as the lone unrestricted free agents are Scott Hartnell (who Poile said will not be re-signed) and defenseman Alexei Emelin.