The Washington Capitals are trying to escape both their past and the second round of the playoffs Authentic Martin Kaut Jersey , and a win Thursday in Game 4 of their second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins could go a long way toward that.
Washington holds a 2-1 series lead going into Game 4 Thursday at PPG Paints Arena after Alex Ovechkin scored in the final two minutes of Game 3 for a 4-3 Capitals win.
Pittsburgh, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion, is 9-1 all-time in playoff series against Washington. The Penguins beat the Capitals in the postseason the past two seasons and in 2009 en route to Cup championships.
The Capitals prefer to look forward, however, starting with attempting to win three in a row and take what would be a fairly commanding two-game series lead.
“The biggest thing we’ve learned is to focus on the moment,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said Wednesday. “That moment is going to be (Thursday) and nothing past that.”
Both teams held optional practices at separate facilities Wednesday.
Washington will be without forward Tom Wilson, who was suspended three games by the NHL for a hit on Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese that, according to Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan http://www.broncosauthorizedshops.com/authentic-courtland-sutton-jersey , left the rookie with a concussion and a broken jaw that will require surgery.
That was the second controversial hit delivered by Wilson, who knocked Brian Dumoulin out of Game 2 with a hit that put one of the team’s best defenseman into the NHL’s concussion protocol. Wilson was not penalized, nor did he have a hearing with the league’s department of player safety for that hit.
Trotz, speaking before the Wilson decision was announced, said simply that his team would “see what the league says and then we’ll react off of it. We’re going to prepare like we always do.”
Pittsburgh, even while trailing in the series after winning Game 1, is taking the same approach.
“I don’t think anything (specifically in our game) concerns us,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “There are always things that you have to clean up and get better (at) as the series goes on. So there are things we definitely want to improve on http://www.eaglesauthorizedshops.com/authentic-josh-sweat-jersey , but I think that’s pretty typical for any series.”
What’s not typical is Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray showing any sign of uncertainty. However, he lamented giving up Ovechkin’s game-winner and described his performance in Game 3 as “shaky.”
“I felt really good the first two games. … One save could’ve got the job done at the end (of Game 3). So still right there, still feel pretty good overall,” Murray said.
The only personnel question lingering for Pittsburgh is winger Carl Hagelin, who is practicing with bulky full-face protection but hasn’t played this series because of a mouth injury. He is listed as day to day.
Pittsburgh split the first two games in Washington, but the Capitals are hoping to go one better by sweeping Games 3 and 4 on the road.
“I mean, if you want to be successful in the playoffs you have got to win on the road, and especially because they won the first game Chris Iannetta Colorado Rockies Jersey ,” Washington winger Nicklas Backstrom told the Washington Post. “It’s nicer to be up 2-1 than being down 2-1. We’re just excited for the next game.”
And a chance to help leave history in the past.
“I really believe this team has felt a little bit different, even in-season. When we’d get down a couple goals, we could fight back. It seems that we’re never out of it,” Capitals winger Jay Beagle said. “We have a great group of guys here. We’ve just got to obviously continue to play a hard road game (Thursday) and know that Pittsburgh’s going to play their best and make sure that we come out and match it.”
The Houston Rockets believe they got a steal by adding Southern California’s De’Anthony Melton with the 46th pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night – and they aren’t worried about his off-court headlines.
Melton was drafted by the Rockets following a season in which he was ruled ineligible because of an extra benefits scandal.
”He’s a guy that if he had played we feel pretty comfortable that he would have been a top-20 pick,” general manager Daryl Morey said. ”So that’s why we were really happy to get him there. I think he was a little out of sight, out of mind.”
Houston also added Purdue forward Vincent Edwards in a trade for cash with Utah after the Jazz selected the senior with the 52nd pick.
”We feel like both these guys are not too far from potentially contributing for us,” Morey said.
USC never had Melton in the lineup last season due to eligibility concerns tied to a sprawling college basketball corruption case. The 6-foot-4 Melton, who started 25 games as a freshman and averaged 8.3 points http://www.billsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-tremaine-edmunds-jersey , 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists, sat out after an investigation by the FBI alleged that a friend of Melton’s family accepted $5,000 to influence Melton to sign with a certain agent and financial adviser when he reached the NBA.
His eligibility first came into question when USC’s Tony Bland was one of four assistant coaches around the country accused of taking bribes to influence players to sign with certain agents, advisers and apparel brands. Bland was arrested and has pleaded not guilty to four charges concerning bribery and wire fraud.
”Obviously we have to do our homework and look into everything,” Morey said. ”That was something we were extremely comfortable that was not an issue.”
After leading his high school to consecutive state titles, Melton averaged 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists as a freshman in the 2016-17 season. Scouts see him as a solid defender who needs to develop offensively.
Melton and Edwards will join a team led by James Harden and Chris Paul that won a franchise-record 65 regular-season games but was eliminated by the eventual champion Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.
Paul and center Clint Capela lead a group of free agents the Rockets will work to re-sign. Houston is also expected to make a play for LeBron James, but NBA rules kept Morey for commenting directly on any potential free agent targets.
”This was really about setting up our future but it doesn’t affect free agency http://www.texansauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jordan-akins-jersey ,” Morey said of the draft. ”Now we shift our focus to free agency. And the challenge of upgrading a very good team is not easy, so we’re going to have to be aggressive.”
The 6-foot-8 Edwards was named second-team All-Big Ten after averaging 14.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists a game last season. He shot 39.8 percent from 3-point range and was an 83.3 percent free throw shooter last season. Edwards joined Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine and Tulane’s Jerald Honeycutt as the only three players in the last 25 years to finish their college careers with at least 1,600 points, 750 rebounds, 400 assists and 170 3-pointers.
”He sort of can do it all,” Morey said. ”He can defend multiple positions. He really fits our style of play … one thing unique about him is he can handle the ball and pass at his size and he’s already an accomplished shooter.”