Middlemen threads and vouches belong here.
1 post • Page 1 of 1
CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP Adidas Gabriel Gagne Jersey , Pa. (AP) Sidney Crosby has faced the Washington Capitals three times in the playoffs. All three times the Pittsburgh captain has led his team to victory. And all three times the Penguins used the win as the springboard to a raucous mid-June parade with the Stanley Cup in tow.Still, Crosby sounded like a cautious investor on Tuesday when asked if Pittsburgh has a mental advantage over rival Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals heading into yet another postseason showdown in the Eastern Conference semifinals starting later this week.Past performance, the two-time MVP stressed, does not guarantee future results.”I think it depends on what you do in the series and how you play,” Crosby said. ”I don’t think it plays a huge role. I guess to answer your question, no.”A mantra Crosby’s teammates repeated over and over they prepared for yet another showdown in a rivalry that somehow manages to be both compelling and one-sided. Pittsburgh is 9-1 all-time in the postseason against Washington regardless of who is in the black-and-gold sweaters and who is in red, white and blue.Not that Ovechkin is intimidated. The Capitals star said he “can’t wait” to get another shot at the Penguins after spearheading Washington’s first-round win over Columbus in six games. That’s fine by Pittsburgh, which has played Lucy to Washington’s Charlie Brown for more than a quarter century, dangling a potentially deep playoff run in front of the Capitals only to pull it back at the last minute.The Penguins, however Adidas Mikkel Boedker Jersey , remain wary. Just because they always beat Washington doesn’t mean they’re going to always beat Washington. The teams split their four meetings during the regular season, with the Capitals wrapping up their third straight Metropolitan Division title with a 3-1 win in Pittsburgh on April Fool’s Day.Of course, none of it matters once the puck drops in Game 1.”It’s a new year,” Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang said. ”The series is going to play out differently. The game is going to be won differently. You don’t know how it is going to go. The only thing I know is it’s a good rivalry, two really good teams, two teams that have a lot of punch offensively. It’s going to be fun to be a part of.”Particularly for Letang. He missed all of Pittsburgh’s run to a second straight Stanley Cup last spring while recovering from neck surgery, though he was able to make his way to the arena for Game 7 of the conference semifinals, when Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 29 shots he faced and the Penguins escaped with a 2-0 victory to finish a series in which both teams scored 20 goals and won on opposing ice at least twice.Though there are a handful of new faces on both sides, the principals remain the same. Ovechkin and Crosby. Evgeni Malkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Letang and Braden Holtby. Two weeks of taut, tense hockey in the offing.”I think it’s the same old dangerous team Adidas James Van Riemsdyk Jersey ,” Letang said. ”Like, don’t get me wrong, those series went the distance, they went to overtime. It was a tough matchup that could have gone either way. They cause the same problems to our team. They cause problems on the power play. They have a lot of skill. They make a lot of plays.”Yet the Penguins have always found a way to make at least one more, though they may be at less than 100 percent when things get going. Malkin and forward Carl Hagelin both missed practice on Tuesday. Malkin is dealing with a lower-body injury while Hagelin has an upper-body issue after colliding with Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux in Pittsburgh’s clinching victory over the Flyers in Game 6.That could provide more playing time for players like Riley Sheahan – who filled in capably on the second line for Malkin in Game 6 – and rookie Zach Aston-Reese. The 23-year-old was in high school the first time Crosby and Ovechkin met in the playoffs in 2009 – when the Penguins blitzed the Capitals in Game 7 of the conference semifinals on their way to the Cup.This time, Aston-Reese’s view will be markedly different. He noticed an uptick in intensity from the regular season when the Penguins fended off the Flyers. Now, the dial goes up to 11 and stays there.”I expect every game to be almost like a Game 7,” Aston-Reese said.That’s because it almost always is.— TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Edmonton Oilers coach Todd McLellan had high praise for the Tampa Bay Lightning.Nikita Kucherov had two goals and an assist, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves and the Lightning beat the Oilers 5-2 on Tuesday night.“They’ve got a fun team to watch Adidas Christian Folin Jersey ,” McLellan said. “We’re all chasing them right now, but I think we can get there.”Steven Stamkos had a goal and two assists, and Brayden Point and Yanni Gourde also scored for the Lightning, who have the best record in the NHL at 11-3-1.Edmonton got goals from Ryan Strome and Leon Draisaitl, and Mikko Koskinen stopped 30 shots. Connor McDavid was kept off the scoresheet for just the second time this season as his eight-game point streak ended (six goals, five assists).Kucherov has eight goals and 14 points in nine games against Edmonton.Vasilevskiy made a diving stop on Ty Rattie, who got his scoring chance in the first period off a nifty pass from McDavid. Vasilevskiy also had an in-close save on McDavid shortly after Edmonton kept the puck in the offensive zone for all two minutes of a second-period power play.Vasilevskiy has allowed two or fewer goals in eight of 11 games.“He’s undoubtedly the reason why we win a lot of hockey games,” Stamkos said. “He was outstanding again tonight.”Stamkos opened the scoring 4:40 into the game before Point got his ninth goal on a rebound to make it 2-0 with 25.1 seconds left in the period.After Strome got his first goal in 24 games at 12:32 of the second, the Lightning went back up 3-1 just 47 seconds later on Gourde’s redirection.“Get that out of the way,” Strome said. “Get on a roll.”Kucherov put Tampa Bay ahead 4-1 off a pass through the slot by Stamkos with 1:01 to go in the second.“We look for each other Adidas Erik Karlsson Jersey , we get open for each other,” Kucherov said. “That’s the point of this game and that’s what we’re doing.”Draisaitl scored a power-play goal 40 seconds into the third off a nifty backhand pass by Rattie.Kucherov had a power-play goal midway through the third.Edmonton’s Milan Lucic got minor penalties for interference and roughing, and a 10-minute misconduct following a hit on Mathieu Joseph at 9:31 of the third.“He felt that a player took a liberty with (defenseman) Kris Russell, and I agree with the liberty part of it,” McLellan said. “Part of the reason we have Luc here is to take care of teammates and he did that.”NOTES: The Lightning have won seven in a row at home against Edmonton. … Former Tampa Bay forward John Cullen dropped a ceremonial first puck on Hockey Fights Cancer Night. Cullen was able to play again after missing the 1997-98 season for treatment of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. … Lightning D Victor Hedman (shoulder) and LW Ondrej Palat (foot) both missed a sixth consecutive game. Neither is skating with the team in practice. … Rattie (upper body) returned after missing eight games. . Russell was a minus-4.UP NEXTOilers: Complete a four-game trip Thursday night at Florida.Lightning: Host the New York Islanders on Thursday night.