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Stafford Hockey Club • View topic - Arizona’s first goal on home ice
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Postby officialsbaseball » Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:57 am
WASHINGTON (AP) The good news for Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals is they still lead their Eastern Conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The bad news for the Capitals , counterintuitive as it may be: They host Game 4.So far, Washington is 7-1 in away games this postseason, closing out each of its first two series on the road.Heading into Thursday night, the Capitals are only 3-4 in their arena. The latest setback was a 4-2 loss to the Lightning on Tuesday, after victories at Tampa Bay by a combined score of 10-4 in the final’s opening two games.Ovechkin simply shrugged when asked about that discrepancy.”We don’t think about it,” the three-time NHL MVP said. ”We just play our game.”Others were less dismissive.”We can take a few things that we’ve done on the road and put it into our home game,” goalie Braden Holtby said. ”Just a little simpler. Simpler play. Just a kind of, like, more gritty style.”Asked what his club could do to fare better at home, Capitals coach Barry Trotz said: ”Just play the way we do on the road. We’re invested there. We’re playing with real good focus. I didn’t think we were as focused as we have been normally on the road. So just pretend you’re on the road. All the buildings are pretty well the same these days.”Trotz notices a difference in his players’ attitude on home ice, saying: ”It’s `us against the world’ when were on the road.”There is a league-wide trend here: Road teams are 38-34 in these playoffs.So much for any supposed home-ice advantage , right?”For whatever reason, at this time of the year there are more distractions than in the regular season, for sure. A lot of people have friends and family coming down and ticket requests. Sometimes there’s that little added pressure of playing at home and wanting to obviously do good things in front of your fans,” Lightning forward Steven Stamkos said. ”There’s something to be said, too, (for) winning games on the road, when you can just kind of hear a pin drop in the crowd, sometimes, which is always a good thing.”Holtby agreed.”It’s easier to play on the road. It’s always that way on the road. Any team would say that,” he said. ”Because you’re not focused on the excitement of your fans and all that. They bring you energy in good ways, but at the same time , you need to stay realistic and play your game.”During the regular season, Washington was a strong home team, playing in front of loud, red-wearing sellout crowds in every game.Only five teams in the 31-club NHL had more victories at home than Washington’s 28 – and that total represents seven more wins than the Capitals managed on the road.So what is going on in the playoffs?”I don’t really have an explanation for it, to be honest with you,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. ”I know when we go on the road, I think maybe we feel a bit more relaxed, and when we do make mistakes, maybe we don’t let the groaning affect us or whatnot. I mean, that being said, I think we should be probably mentally stronger to not let that affect us. Just got to try to find a way to win the next one at home , for sure.”NOTES: Injured Capitals C Nicklas Backstrom, who has missed the last four games with an injured right hand, took part in the team’s optional skate Wednesday. But Trotz wouldn’t give any hint as to when Backstrom might return. ”When Nicky’s ready to go, he’s ready to go,” Trotz said. ”You miss him in every way shape or form.” … Washington re-signed D Aaron Ness to a one-year, two-way contract worth $650,000 if he’s in the NHL, $425,000 in the minors. Ness had one assist in eight games for the Capitals this season.—AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.— PITTSBURGH (AP) Sidney Crosby let one chance to bury the New York Islanders slip away. The Pittsburgh Penguins star wasn’t about to let it happen twice.Crosby finished off a 2-on-1 by sneaking a wrist shot past Chris Gibson 3:48 into overtime to give the Penguins a 3-2 win Saturday. Pittsburgh’s captain failed to convert on a rush moments earlier, but an outlet pass by Justin Schultz freed up Crosby once again.This time he faked a pass to Conor Sheary and instead beat Gibson between the legs as the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions snapped a three-game losing streak.”Thought I had a good opportunity to shoot and missed one right before that so glad to see it go in,” Crosby said after picking up his 22nd goal of the season.Derick Brassard’s first goal with Pittsburgh tied it with less than nine minutes to go in regulation. Patric Hornqvist added his 18th goal of the season for the Penguins. Phil Kessel picked up two assists to become the sixth American-born player to reach 400 career assists. Tristan Jarry overcame a comically ugly start to finish with 25 saves.Jarry’s night began by giving up a goal to New York’s Brandon Davidson just 1:11 into the game. Davidson flipped a slow backhand from outside the right circle only to see it go into the net when Jarry tripped and fell backward to the ice .”It was a little easier when I came back to the bench and seen 90 percent of the guys laughing at me ,” Jarry said. ”It’s a tough thing to swallow but I’m glad we won.”Anders Lee put New York up 4:59 into the third period when his shot caromed off Pittsburgh defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and over the goal line for his team-leading 31st. Gibson, making his first start in nearly two years, almost made it stand up. He finished with 47 saves in all but let Brassard jam one by him with 8:31 left in regulation to tie it and he was no match for Crosby late. The Islanders have dropped six straight.Making just his fifth NHL start and first since April 10, 2016, Gibson spent most of the night trying to make up for lost time. The Penguins peppered the New York net for long stretches, often looking like they were on the power play despite being at even strength. Asked if he could remember the last time he faced 50 shots at any level, Gibson just shook his head.”To be honest, I can’t but it was great,” Gibson said. ”I loved every single second of it. I’m really happy with my game except that last goal and the loss there.”The Penguins were coming off an ugly 8-4 setback in Boston on Thursday night, one that extended their losing streak to three and blunted their recent surge toward the top of the Metropolitan Division. Coach Mike Sullivan, rarely hesitant to shake things up during even the slightest of downturns , opted for minor tweaks instead of major ones.Pittsburgh called up forward Dominik Simon and put him on the third line and Sullivan mixed up the bottom two defensive pairings, including giving Chad Ruhwedel his first start since Dec. 27. The result was better play in front of Jarry. After giving up 17 goals during the losing streak, Pittsburgh surrendered just the two flukish goals and Jarry collected himself after the bumpy start.The penalty kill was sharp at the beginning of overtime, giving Crosby a chance to win it.”The last two games I struggled a little bit and I didn’t think my game was where I wanted it to be at,” Jarry said. ”I thought tonight was a good bounce back performance for me and I think it’s something I can grow on.”NOTES: Pittsburgh G Matt Murray missed his third straight game since getting a concussion in practice Wednesday. … Pittsburgh scratched D Matt Hunwick, F Carter Rowney and C Zach Aston-Reese. … New York scratched Ds Dennis Seidenberg and Sebastian Aho and F Ross Johnston. … The Islanders went 0 for 2 on the power play. The Penguins were 1 for 2. … Pittsburgh is 7-1-1 in its last nine games against New York.UP NEXTIslanders: Begin swing through Western Canada on Monday in Vancouver.Penguins: Host Calgary on Monday.—
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