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WASHINGTON CAPITALS vs. VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTSCONFERENCE FINALS: Capitals beat Tampa Bay Lightning in 7. Golden Knights beat Winnipeg Jets in 5.SEASON SERIES: Vegas 2-0.STORY LINE: The Capitals finally made the Stanley Cup Final with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom after losing in the first or second round in their past nine playoff appearances. This team was considered weaker on paper than the past two years when Washington won the Presidents’ Trophy and lost to the eventual Cup-champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Ovechkin has a career-high 22 points on 12 goals and 10 assists after leading the NHL with 49 goals during the regular season. Linemate Evgeny Kuznetsov has a franchise-record 24 playoff points through 19 games http://www.redwingsshoponline.com/authentic-dylan-larkin-jersey , including the overtime series winner against Pittsburgh. Goaltender Braden Holtby did not start the first two games of the playoffs but is 12-6 with a 2.04 goals-against average and .924 save percentage since replacing Philipp Grubauer. Coach Barry Trotz does not have a contract for next season but has arguably done the best job of his 19-year career. Trotz had not made it past the second round until this year. … Vegas general manager George McPhee spent 17 years in that job with the Capitals from 1997-2014. He was GM when they last made the final in 1998 but is also responsible for acquiring 14 players on the current roster and was succeeded by long-time friend and colleague Brian MacLellan. Vegas in the Cup Final in its inaugural season, the first to do it since the 1967-68 St. Louis Blues when all six expansion teams were in the same division. The expansion Golden Knights have lost only three games through three rounds thanks to the play of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and the top line of Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith. Fleury has a 1.68 GAA and .947 save percentage a year after helping the Penguins win the Cup. Former Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt leads Vegas in ice time at almost 25 minutes a game.WASHINGTON’S KEY PLAYER: Ovechkin. This is the chance to shed the label as hockey’s greatest player who has never won the Cup. He has looked like a man on a mission all playoffs, throwing his body around and producing at a level that has lifted the Capitals to new heights. MacLellan believes this is the most within the system Ovechkin has ever played a season after scoring just 33 goals with the benefit being a long playoff run.VEGAS’ KEY PLAYER: Fleury. The 33-year-old first face of the new franchise has been as advertised and then some, especially in the playoffs. Fleury frustrated Los Angeles, San Jose and Winnipeg on the way to the final and is having some of the best success of his career. He already eliminated the Capitals in 2009 and 2017 on the way to winning the Cup and will have to be at his best to do it again.GAME 1: Monday Frans Nielsen Jersey Kids , 8 p.m. Eastern.PREDICTION: Capitals in 7.—– AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno.—More Stanley Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/StanleyCupFinals NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) If the Flames were weary at the end of their long trip, it didn’t show against the Predators.Matthew Tkachuk and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist in Calgary’s 4-3 victory over Nashville on Thursday night.Mark Jankowski and Curtis Lazar also scored, and David Rittich made 29 saves. The Flames won two of their last three to finish 4-2 on their longest trip of the season.Article continues below ...”A little cliche-ish, but the big battle cry in there today was, `Who can do it the hardest the longest?”’ Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan said. ”I thought our guys did that tonight.”Ryan Johansen Gordie Howe Jersey , Yannick Weber and Nick Bonino scored for Nashville, and Pekka Rinne made 27 saves. The Predators had won two in a row, and Rinne was 10-0-1 in his previous 11.”We’re not working hard enough, I don’t know what else to say,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. ”If you don’t invest a lot, you won’t like it at the end. The stretches that aren’t going our way are the stretches that we’re getting outplayed. It’s because we’re missing some bite in our game.”Jankowski gave Calgary its first lead at 3:24 of the third Authentic Gustav Nyquist Jersey , capping a tic-tac-toe passing play with Takchuk and Sam Bennett with a tap-in from just outside the crease. Lazar’s wrist shot from the right side beat Rinne high to the glove side at 10:14 of the third to make it 4-2.Nashville drew within a goal at 12:19 of the third when Bonino redirected a pass from Pontus Aberg by Rittich.Rittich’s stopped P.K. Subban’s slap shot with under a minute remaining in the game and the Predators on a power play and Rinne lifted for an extra attacker. He saved his best for last though. With 9.2 seconds remaining, Rittich got his glove on an attempt from Kevin Fiala from the right side, just preventing it from crossing the goal line. A brief video review confirmed the on-ice ruling of no goal.Not happy with giving up Bonino’s goal, Rittich wanted to improve.”After that, I should do something more,” he said. ”They need me and I’m really happy I did.”Johansen opened the scoring at 13:45 of the opening period. Rittich stopped Ryan Ellis‘ slap shot from the middle of the blue line. Standing just outside the crease Womens Henrik Zetterberg Jersey , Craig Smith poked the puck loose, and Johansen was able to tap the puck across at the left post.Tkachuk tied it on a power play with 44 seconds left in the first. Mark Giordano’s wrist shot from the left point hit Sean Monahan in front. Tkachuk grabbed the rebound and banked the rebound off of Rinne and in for his 21st goal of the season.”That’s a big win for us,” Tkachuk said. ”I can’t speak enough about the whole team and the effort we put in tonight to get the win, especially late to hold off their push late.”Weber made it 2-1 at 9:30 of the second. From inside the Nashville blue line, Weber’s pass sent Viktor Arvidsson in on a breakaway. Arvidsson’s wrist shot from the slot hit the right post, but Weber hustled to follow the play and put the rebound past Rittich.”I think they showed that this kind of hockey that we’ve been playing recently is not going to win us games in the playoffs and down the stretch http://www.redwingsshoponline.com/authentic-jimmy-howard-jersey ,” Weber said. ”It’s definitely a wakeup call that we can’t just watch and be satisfied and think we still win every game. Maybe we needed that one. It shows us that we do have to go back to the way we need to have success.”Hamilton tied it at 14:28 of the second. At the tail end of a full 2:00 5-on-3 advantage, Hamilton snapped a wrist shot from the high slot just underneath the crossbar. Nashville was just 15 seconds from killing off both minor penalties assessed to Weber and fellow defenseman Alexei Emelin at 12:43.Johnny Gaudreau had the secondary assist on Hamilton’s goal, his career-high 49th assist of the season.Notes: Nashville C Kyle Turris missed the game due to illness. … The Predators were 0 for 5 on the power play. They have not scored on the man-advantage in their last six games, going 0 for 18. … Gaudreau extended his points streak to eight games. … The road team has won all three games in the season series, with Calgary taking both matchups in Nashville.UP NEXT:Flames: Host Florida on Saturday night.Predators: Host Detroit on Saturday night.

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