October 9, 2018 at 7:06 am #481
WASHINGTON — Washington Capitals winger Jakub Vrana is playing in just his first playoff series against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins Michael Irvin Jersey , yet he has a pretty good grasp of things.
“Everybody knows it’s a big rivalry. We kind of hate each other,” the 22-year-old Vrana told reporters Friday. “We go at it and we’re really pumped for the next game.”
The Penguins and Capitals meet Saturday in Washington for Game 5 of their series, which is tied 2-2 after the Penguins’ 3-1 win Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena.
“We knew we needed to have a good response game here,” center Sidney Crosby told the Post-Gazette. “We did that. We need to carry this momentum into Washington.”
Washington, looking to avenge second-round losses to Pittsburgh in each of the last two seasons, has won five straight Game 5s when the series is tied. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, is 4-1 on the road in these playoffs after going 17-20-4 away from home in the regular season.
In their last two playoffs meetings http://www.washingtonredskinsteamonline.com/deshazor-everett-jersey , the Capitals trailed the Penguins 3-1 before falling in six games in 2015-16 and seven games last season.
“One game at a time. Now this game isn’t going to shake us at all,” Capitals goalie Braden Holtby told NHL.com after Thursday’s loss. “Our biggest asset has been bouncing back, either after a win or a loss. Just focus on playing our game, and that’s what we’re going to do. I don’t think anyone in here believes any different.”
Bouncing back will require Washington to get its top line going. With Tom Wilson suspended for Games 4-6, coach Barry Trotz moved Devante Smith-Pelly up with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. They managed just five shots on goal Thursday, none by Ovechkin.
“That whole line has to be better,” Trotz told the Washington Post on Friday. “I think that whole line has to be better for us. They’re going to need to be productive for us.”
Trotz could make a change to the top line for Saturday’s game. Forward Andre Burakovsky, who has been out with an upper-body injury since the Columbus series Jaylon Smith Jersey , skated Friday but is unlikely to return Saturday. Vrana played with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov early in the season.
Pittsburgh evened the series Thursday after losing two in a row as Jake Guentzel scored twice, Crosby had two assists and Matt Murray made 20 saves.
Evgeny Malkin scored the tiebreaker in the second period on a goal that survived a replay review and a challenge for goaltender interference.
Guentzel leads the NHL with 10 goals and 21 points in the playoffs.
“Just kind of feel like the bounces are going in right now,” Guentzel told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “You’re just getting lucky on some plays in front of the net. The puck’s finding me. Just have to try and be around it. Hopefully, they keep coming. It’s definitely a good feeling.”
The Capitals managed just three shots on goal in the third period.
“I think we cut down their odd-man rushes there last game, and that’s going to be a big key in this series,” Pittsburgh’s Patric Hornqvist told the Post Gazette. “They have a lot of firepower up front and we just have to make sure they can’t get those quality chances.”
Penguins forward Carl Hagelin returned for Game 4 after missing three games with an upper-body injury.
Chris Long and Malcolm Jenkins spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time since the NFL implemented its anthem policy. The Eagles players, among the NFL’s most vocal and socially aware, backed up their statements they posted on social media last week.
“I think it鈥檚 a still a bad idea and something that was unnecessary T.Y. Hilton Jersey ,鈥?Jenkins said Tuesday, via Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia. 鈥淏ut now there鈥檚 a media storm the league has kind of brought on itself.鈥?/p>
Long said the move to force players who are on the field to stand during the national anthem was reactionary and has made things “messier.”
鈥淚t鈥檚 their right, but I think it was a dumb move and I think it was clumsy,鈥?Long said. 鈥淚 don鈥檛 think it was rooted in patriotism. I love this country; I love our vets. The guys protesting love our country and love our vets. I think it was driven by fear of a diminished bottom line, which I already wrote on Twitter. You can see that on Twitter. The underlying factor is they鈥檙e afraid of the President. I don鈥檛 really need to expound much on that. It鈥檚 their right, again, but it鈥檚 a clumsy rule.鈥?/p>
Jenkins stopped raising a fist during the anthem after the NFL struck a deal with a coalition of players for the league to pledge $89 million for projects dealing with racial inequality. Jenkins, who heads the Players Coalition http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/mitchell-trubisky-jersey , said the progress made from that was lost in the league’s new national anthem policy.
鈥淚t鈥檚 definitely discouraging because I definitely thought we were moving to a place where players obviously wanted a platform and we could create something that was maybe more effective and bigger,鈥?Jenkins said. 鈥淚 think there鈥檚 been a ton of effort and time put into creating that, but then there鈥檚 decision that kind of undermines that. I thought the league genuinely was building that, but then when you start trying to mandate things, it鈥檚 less likely to help.”
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