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04-13-2019, 04:48 AM,
Post: #1
Jimmy Patterson was a fresh-faced 22-year-old in the stands at the old Capital Centre in October 1974 when the expansion Washington Capitals won for the first time.As he was leaving Nate Schmidt Jersey , an elderly man from Brooklyn told Patterson he’d always get to say he saw the Capitals’ first win. The man smiled and added, ”You can’t lose ’em all.”Forty-plus years, more than 3,000 games and 27 unsuccessful playoff runs later, Patterson and legions of longtime Capitals fans finally have a reason to believe that. Many who watched Wednesday night at an arena watch party far from Game 7 in Tampa Bay took to the steps of the National Portrait Gallery to celebrate the Capitals’ first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since 1998. Game 1 in Las Vegas against the Golden Knights is Monday night.”It’s been really gratifying,” said Patterson, now 65. ”It feels a lot different, and it’s a weird feeling.”Filling the area, fans chanted, ”We want the Cup,” ”We want Vegas” and ”DC! DC!” in an outpouring of joy decades and crushing losses in the making. Alex Ovechkin’s Capitals are the first Washington team in the major four professional sports leagues to reach the final in a generation. To get this far, they had to not only outlast the Lightning but survive longtime playoff nemesis Pittsburgh, which has won the last two championships.”It’s been 20 long, dry years and we are back ,” Capitals public address announcer Wes Johnson said. ”This is catharsis. Once we beat the Penguins, then you could see that the fan base was like, `Let’s just play hockey.’ As John Walton said, it’s OK to believe. It’s not just OK to believe. Just believe.”Among markets with teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball, only the Twin Cities in Minnesota has a longer championship drought going than Washington. The Redskins won their third Super Bowl title in January 1992 and it’s been mostly grim since then. None of the Redskins, Wizards, Nationals and Capitals even reached a league semifinal from 1998 until this spring.In that same time, Boston’s teams have made 25 league semifinal appearances and won 10 titles. Maybe success is contagious.”Last year all of those (other Washington) teams made the playoffs and then it was like, hey we got to do the same too, and we dropped the ball,” Redskins running back Chris Thompson said. ”If you see your D.C. teams succeeding and the Capitals now (in) the finals and stuff like that, it’s a little bit of motivation.”The Capitals got over the hump in their 10th playoff appearance after early exits marred by sudden-death overtime winners Authentic Oscar Lindberg Jersey , a hot goaltender named Jaroslav Halak, the New York Rangers and – of course – the Penguins.”It’s just been one nightmare after another,” said Anthony Beverina, who has had season tickets in section 417 since 1997-98. ”And it makes you wonder if there’s some inherit either cosmic conspiracy or a core character issue in the core guys.”The nightmare has slowly felt like a dream on this playoff run, which was unexpected following an offseason of salary-cap casualties in the wake of another crushing second-round loss to Pittsburgh. Players rallied around lower preseason expectations, and even going into the playoffs Washington wasn’t supposed to do this.”This team is so fun,” said George Christo, a Boston transplant who has had season tickets since 1995-96. ”This team is the most fun since that ’98 team primarily because, both of those teams, who on earth expected either of these teams to be able to get this deep and to be that tough?”After so many early playoff exits, Capitals fans are reluctant to feel too good about things. Christo said even his children have almost gotten sick of going to games -until this year, which has challenged a lot of the old conventions about doomsday D.C. sports.”There are people sitting in season-ticket-holder seats because they’re home mashing teeth and biting their fingernails,” Patterson said. ”A lot of fans around the country when their team is in the playoffs, they like to have get-togethers and parties Reilly Smith Jersey , viewing parties for the away games and stuff like that. But if you’ve been through some of this stuff, after the second game of a playoff series, there won’t be any of that because you can’t have your friends over and watch a game and then have everybody in that awful mood when it’s over and they’re shaking hands and you’re on the losing side.”It was the opposite Wednesday night when almost 10,000 people wearing red watched on video screens above a basketball court as Capitals players and coaches were on the winning side of their handshake line with the Lightning. Cheers greeted Ovechkin touching the Prince of Wales Trophy and then the flash of the Stanley Cup Final schedule before the series against former general manager George McPhee’s Vegas Golden Knights begins.”We’re going to the Stanley Cup Final,” Ovechkin said. ”I think everybody is happy, but we still have unfinished, you know what I mean. I don’t know, I’m emotional right now. I think we’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.”Game 3 on June 2 will be the first Cup Final game in the district since 1998, when the Capitals were swept by the Detroit Red Wings. One more win will make this the most successful season in franchise history, and though superstition and history keeps fans from thinking about the ”what if” of four more, they’re no longer afraid to enjoy the ride.”Now you’re excited by the win, you’re not just dreading how are they going to blow this game,” Beverina said. ”It’s been nothing but fun this year.”That fun extends to the Capitals’ locker room, which looked to have much less talent on paper than in previous seasons. But players feel different about this year Michael Ferland Jersey Womens , too, and have embraced each other as much as their common goal.”I think our group here really understands what it means to be a team and how to win,” goaltender Braden Holtby said. ”Maybe in the past we’ve had more skill or been better on paper or whatever. But this team everyone knows their role and everyone wants to pitch in and everyone is comfortable with each other. I haven’t been on a team like this where in any situation we’re confident and confident in each other.”—More Stanley Cup coverage:— ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Tyler Bertuzzi had a memorable milestone game and helped the Detroit Red Wings get a needed win.Playing in his 100th career game, Bertuzzi recorded his first career hat trick and the Red Wings beat the Minnesota Wild 5-2 for their second win in 11 games.Bertuzzi completed his three-goal performance at 8:38 of the third period, converting a feed from Gustav Nyquist by lifting a backhand past Devan Dubnyk.A few hats — and one octopus — were tossed onto the ice by the many Red Wings fans in attendance.“It felt good,” Bertuzzi said. “I missed an open net last game, so I needed to kind of bounce back and create offense and our line was decent tonight.”Thomas Vanek had the other two goals for Detroit. Dylan Larkin had three assists and Nyquist had two for the Red Wings top trio.Nino Niederreiter and Luke Kunin scored for the Wild, who lost for the second time in three games and were booed by many fans remaining at the end.“That was the worst game that we’ve played since I’ve been here as coach. Effort, compete – I don’t know where it was,” said coach Bruce Boudreau, now in his third season.Bertuzzi, who had one goal in his previous 18 games, redirected a shot by Larkin past Dubnyk 47 seconds into the third.He tipped in a shot by Nyquist 24 seconds into the game.“He’s a real good complementary player with guys like Larkin and Nyqie because he can make a play with them. He’s got poise with them William Karlsson Jersey ,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said.“He loves going in there and getting his hair in his face and whatever. He’s good at it. His stick’s in the air and he finds those tips,” said Vanek, who broke a 2-all tie with 4:50 left in the second.His initial shot was blocked by Kunin, but Vanek controlled the loose puck and blasted a shot past Dubnyk from the slot for his first multigoal game since a hat trick last March 27.Detroit had a season-high 21 of its 37 shots in the middle period. Minnesota had two, the fewest allowed in a period this season by the Red Wings.One of those was Niederreiter’s first goal in 13 games with a power-play tally 17 seconds into the second. Vanek tied the game 28 seconds later on a rebound of his first attempt.“I really thought when we went up 2-1, that’s usually when we kick it into gear and take over. But I think there were multiple times tonight, kind of at critical times in the game, we went to sleep,” Dubnyk said.Maybe it was carryover from Thursday when Minnesota had no third-period shots but held off Winnipeg 3-2.The Wild finished with 19 shots.“Whether it was shots or no shots, I don’t think we were very good.” said Wild center Eric Staal, who has one goal in 13 games. “We just didn’t execute very well. We didn’t win a lot of the battles and they competed harder than we did. You do that in the NHL you’re going to be on the losing end of it pretty much every night.”NOTES: Detroit D Jonathan Ericsson also had two assists. He had three goals and no assists in his first 28 games. . Kunin’s goal was his first of the season and first in 27 games since Oct. 31, 2017. . Wild RW Mikael Granlund has one in 19. … Detroit C Michael Rasmussen missed his fourth straight game with a lower-body injury.UP NEXTRed Wings: Host Anaheim on Tuesday.Wild: at Philadelphia on Monday, the lone road game in a six-game stretch__
05-20-2019, 09:39 PM,
Post: #2
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08-28-2019, 11:00 AM,
Post: #3
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