WASHINGTON — If fans in Las Vegas seem a bit spoiled by the rapid success of the Golden Knights Authentic Josh Jackson Jersey , rest assured that the Washington, D.C. area has paid its dues.
The Capitals, who host Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday night, are carrying the hopes of a city that hasn’t seen a Big Four sports team play for a championship since, well, the Capitals way back in 1998 when they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings.
“I think everybody (is) excited in Washington,” Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin told NHL.com. “It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be hard. That’s why we worked so hard to be in this spot and be in this moment.”
With the series tied 1-1, Washington carries the momentum into Game 3 and got a boost Friday when center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who left Game 2 with an upper-body injury in the first period, took part in an optional practice.
“He wanted to come back out there in the game Thomas Rawls Color Rush Jersey , I think, but it just wasn’t in the best interest, and I think him and the medical staff made the right call,” Washington’s Jay Beagle told The Washington Post on Friday. “He says he’s feeling better today, and that’s a great sign.”
Kuznetsov, who regularly centers a line with Ovechkin and Tom Wilson, is the NHL’s top postseason scorer with 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points in 21 games.
Washington is 4-5 at home in the playoffs but did win a huge Game 6 at Capital One Arena against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Finals.
“I love playing at home,” Capitals center Lars Eller told NHL.com. “There’s no reason we can’t play our best game (Saturday) night.”
Vegas enters Game 3 looking to overcome the frustration of “The Save” as it’s being referred to. Goaltender Braden Holtby’s amazing stick save on Alex Tuch’s potential game-tying one-timer with two minutes remaining in Game 2 is already being compared locally to Washington’s greatest sports moments.
Holtby, who also stoned Vegas during a five-on-three advantage in Game 2, is 13-7 with a 2.19 GAA and .921 save percentage since replacing Philipp Grubauer in the second game of the first round Dorance Armstrong Jr. Color Rush Jersey , but the save on Tuch dominated the conversation after Game 2.
“We know it’s never going to be easy to win a Stanley Cup,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant told the team’s website. “So you’ve just got to focus on the next game. You don’t worry about the last game … “
Vegas is 3-0 after a loss in the playoffs and 3-0 in Game 3s. They bring an 8-2 road playoff record into Washington.
“I think we try to play the same game no matter what building we’re playing in,” Gallant said. “It worked very well in the postseason. Try to play the same game, play a quick, fast game, an up-tempo game.”
Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has a 3.56 goals-against average and an .870 save percentage in the two games. He posted a 1.68 GAA and .947 save percentage in the first three rounds of the playoffs.
“There were maybe a few unfortunate goals throughout this series,” Fleury told NHl.com. “I don’t think I’ve sweat it too much so far.”
Knights defenseman Shea Theodore said his team needs to be more aware of Washington’s physicality, which helped it swing the Tampa Bay series and has carried over into the Finals.
“They’re a fast group and their physical,” Theodore told the team’s website. “They finish all their checks and I think that’s something we have to be a bit more aware of. We have to use our speed and we have to turn over less pucks definitely.”
TAMPA, Fla. — There’s a recent familiarity between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins Youth Armani Watts Jersey , who meet in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs after playing each other twice in the final 12 games of the regular season.
“It’s like starting over again,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of the series that begins Saturday at Amalie Arena. “There’s a little bit of the unknown. You have to develop a little of that hatred, or passion, whatever the word is against a similar opponent every night. I assume that will happen fast.”
The Lightning won the division title and have the top seed in the Eastern Conference after edging the Bruins by a point in the standings. The pivotal game was the fourth and final meeting, when the Lightning posted a key 4-0 victory in Tampa.
The matchup initially is about rust vs. rest — the Lightning got a full week off after eliminating the New Jersey Devils in five games, allowing them time off while the Bruins needed a full seven games to advance past the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I think the guys are excited,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “You always say you want time off, and we’ve had six days. The guys want to get back into it. There’s a lot of ‘Let’s get this going.'”
Boston won the first three meetings in the regular season by a combined score of 10-4, so the Bruins can have confidence going into the matchup, regardless of seeding and home-ice advantage.
The Bruins are a well-rounded playoff team Dallas Keuchel Jersey , ranking in the NHL’s top six in scoring, goals allowed, power play and penalty kill.
The Lightning are a tiny bit better in scoring, leading the league with 3.5 goals per game, and barely better on the power play, converting 23.9 percent of their opportunities.
Tampa Bay’s special teams were a strength in the series against New Jersey — their penalty kill, once a liability, killed off 16 of 19 Devils power plays, and the Lightning went 5 of 9 on power plays in the first three games before an 0-of-10 drought in the final two, both Tampa Bay wins.
Nikita Kucherov set a Lightning record for points in a playoff series with five goals and five assists J. D. Martinez Jersey , but Boston’s David Pastrnak can trump that, getting five goals and eight assists in his series against Toronto. Steven Stamkos, quiet overall in scoring in the last series, was a team-best plus-4 when on the ice just the same.
Tampa Bay finished the regular season with momentum coming off the 4-0 win over Boston, which carried into the New Jersey series.
“In the end, our team had to pick up our play,” Cooper said. “I don’t know that we were at the same intensity level.”
Game 1 and 2 are Saturday and Monday in Tampa, with the next two games in Boston, before alternating the final three games if necessary.
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