Ovechkin at the last second

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Ovechkin at the last second

Postby officialsbaseball » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:41 am

DENVER (AP) Fair warning to the rest of the league: As fast and young as the Colorado Avalanche were this season Chris Terry Jersey Womens , general manager Joe Sakic vows to make them even faster and younger.It’s become a full-speed-ahead priority.That blend of quickness, youth and skill boosted the Avalanche from the bottom of the league a year ago to a playoff contender this season. Having an MVP candidate like Nathan MacKinnon leading the charge certainly didn’t hurt, either.”We love the way we play the game,” Sakic said a day after the Avs were eliminated from the first round of the postseason by top-seeded Nashville in six games. ”It’s fast. It’s entertaining. It’s exciting.”Few expected this kind of run from a Colorado team that had just 48 points in 2016-17. But youthful energy kept the Avalanche in the playoff chase until the end, where they earned the final postseason spot on the last day of the regular season. Their 47-point turnaround from a season ago matches the fourth-highest year-to-year improvement over a full season in NHL history, according to the team.That bodes well. That is, once the sting of losing to the Predators fades.”We’re going to stay the course and let this team grow because they deserve it,” said Sakic, whose squad was one of the league’s youngest with an average age of 25.8. ”We’re going to stay young and in the next couple of years may even get younger. If we can, even try to get a little bit quicker and faster out there.”The Avalanche fully bought into the message of even-keeled coach Jared Bednar, who will be around two more seasons after Sakic announced Monday he recently agreed to a one-year extension with the former American Hockey League coach.”It’s a cool story that we went from last to the playoffs, but we’re trying to win a Cup,” said the 22-year-old MacKinnon, who had 39 goals and 58 assists in the regular season. ”We showed a lot of fight this season. … Hopefully we can use some of that next season.”Things to know about a season in which the Avalanche returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2014:HOME COOKIN’The Avalanche returned the aura back to the Pepsi Center. They won 28 games at home in the regular season, which tied the franchise record held by the 2000-01 squad that captured the Stanley Cup crown.”To see the way this Colorado crowd and the city responded to us was great Nick Foligno Jersey ,” defenseman Erik Johnson said.YOUTHFUL SPIRITThe future is certainly bright with a total of 11 rookies dressing this season. Even more, nine players got their first taste of the postseason.”It was great to get into the playoffs just to feel the different level, where you’ve got to go emotionally and intensity goes up,” Sakic said. ”We can’t take it for granted.”MAC’S OFFENSIVE ATTACKMacKinnon had a season worthy of consideration for the Hart Trophy as league MVP. He led the league in home scoring this season with 67 points (27 goals, 40 assists). That’s tied with Sakic (2000-01) for most in Avalanche history.In addition, MacKinnon’s 284 shots were also the most by an Avalanche player since Sakic (332, `00-01).He was frequently paired with captain Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, giving them one of the league’s most potent lines.”If you want to bring someone to their first hockey game, you want to bring them to watch Nathan MacKinnon,” Sakic said.HANGIN’ TENColorado had a 10-game winning streak that began with an overtime win over Toronto on Dec. 29 and ended Jan. 23 with a loss at Montreal. It was the second-longest streak in team history.”Great group, fun to coach,” Bednar said. ”It was a good season, a fun season – especially for a lot of our guys who went through probably their worst season, myself included, last year to respond and have a season like this.”INJURIESColorado dealt with its fair share of injuries Authentic Oliver Bjorkstrand Jersey , including the loss of starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov and Johnson to knee injuries before the playoffs. In the postseason, backup Jonathan Bernier went down. The Avs had to rely on third-stringer Andrew Hammond, who was acquired as part of the three-team trade in November that sent Matt Duchene to Ottawa.”I know we’ll come back stronger,” Landeskog said. ”I’m proud of this team.”— WASHINGTON (AP) Braden Holtby spun around and saw the puck on the goal line. Maybe it was in. Maybe it wasn’t.But after mounting another two-goal lead and this time building on it instead of blowing it, the Washington Capitals made sure it wasn’t close enough for one questionable call either way to make a difference. With fresh memories of coughing up that same lead in Game 1, this time they took it to the Pittsburgh Penguins and emerged with a 4-1 victory in Game 2 to tie the second-round series.”You can see what happen last game when we get the lead 2-0 and they come back and win the game,” said Alex Ovechkin, who scored his seventh goal of the playoffs. ”They’re experienced team, they’re not going to give up and they’re not gonna give easy play for us. We have to earn it. Today I think we play a solid game, everybody was in and we get the result.”It was a result that came with controversy and a potentially significant aftermath as the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion-Penguins came out on the wrong side of a coach’s challenge, the NHL’s video review on what would have been their second goal and lost defenseman Brian Dumoulin after a hit to the head by Tom Wilson.Holtby stopped 32 of the 33 shots he faced to frustrate the Penguins, robbing captain Sidney Crosby and linemate Jake Guentzel with sliding pad saves to continue his strong play in the postseason.The Penguins thought he should’ve allowed one more goal to Patric Hornqvist in the third period. No definitive replays showing the puck over the goal line and Wilson’s hit that injured Dumoulin left them steaming but also kicking themselves for starting slow and falling behind again.”They won the game in the first period,” Hornqvist said. ”I don’t think we played our best game. … They were all over us.”After blowing three two-goal leads through the first seven games of the playoffs, Washington at least temporarily solved that problem. Ovechkin beat Matt Murray 1:26 in, Jakub Vrana scored on the power play later in the first period and Ryan Murray Jersey , unlike Game 1, the Capitals made it 3-0 when Brett Connolly scored on a breakaway early in the second.”Game 1 it was tough, we played a really good game I think and they just kind of found a way to get some breaks and score some timely goals,” Connolly said. ”We learned from that this time around.”The Capitals are learning some about Murray, having now scored all five of their goals against him in this series glove side. He made 18 of his 28 saves in the first period and had to in order to keep Washington from turning this into a blowout.Murray was not the least bit happy when the league ruled Connolly’s push on him moments before Vrana’s goal was not enough to keep him from being able to make the save.”Pretty disappointed,” Murray said. ”As a goalie you just want to be able to do your job and when something like that happens and you can’t do it, you just want to see the rule upheld.”Pittsburgh had an even bigger reason to be angry when Wilson wasn’t penalized for checking Dumoulin in the head with his left shoulder in the second. Dumoulin never returned, could potentially miss Game 3 on Tuesday and Wilson is in danger of being suspended.”He made contact with his head,” Crosby said. ”Given his history and things like that, I’m sure the league will take a good look at it.”Wilson watched multiple replays and came away believing there was nothing else he could do on the play because Dumoulin stopped and braced for a hit from Ovechkin at the last second. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said he had an opinion of the hit but declined to share it.Wilson was already ready to move on.”It’s a bit of an unfortunate play that he got hurt,” he said. ”We’ll see what happens and we’ll keep moving forward here. There’s more important things going on. We’ve got a team in here that’s pretty good and confident and we’ve got to go to Pittsburgh and get a game.”NOTES: The Capitals have now killed 22 consecutive penalties dating to Game 2 of their first-round series against Columbus. … Kris Letang scored Pittsburgh’s only goal on a floater from the point in the second period. … The Penguins were without star center Evgeni Malkin for the third consecutive game because of an apparent leg injury. Sullivan said Malkin could return for Game 3. … Ovechkin tied Crosby and Guentzel for the playoff lead in goals. … The Penguins’ streak of road playoff victories ended at six.—
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