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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:08 am 
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WASHINGTON (AP) In a game that didn’t feel much like the postseason Julien Gauthier Jersey Womens , the Washington Capitals gave future playoff opponents fair warning about how they handle tight games.Outshot by a team eliminated from contention, Washington stayed close before tying it late and beating the New York Rangers 3-2 in overtime on Wednesday night. Braden Holtby stopped 35 of 37 shots, Lars Eller forced overtime and Evgeny Kuznetsov won it to push the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals closer to their fourth consecutive playoff appearance.Even if it wasn’t the kind of showing the Capitals would like to have come playoff time, Eller’s goal with 1:50 left and Kuznetsov’s 38 seconds into overtime showed what they could do when it matters.”I think we play better when it’s close,” Holtby said. ”With our skill, I think it forces us to turn things on late in the game and I think guys take that as a challenge. That’s I think a reason why you can see us bring it to a next level to try and force the other team into feeling a bit of panic and open up space.”There was little panic in the Rangers, who were playing their first game with no playoff implications since 2004, and they turned that looseness into a 37-33 shot advantage. Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves and Kevin Hayes and Ryan Spooner scored, but New York lamented a defensive miscue on Eller’s goal that let the game slip away.”So frustrating,” Lundqvist said after his first game with no hope of playoffs in his NHL career. ”When you’re tied up that late after playing so hard and doing so many good things, it doesn’t matter where you are in the standings, you want to win games and sit in here and feel good about a win. They came back and got it. It bothers me.”After the Capitals came back and got two valuable points, they can clinch with help around the league or by picking up a point Friday at home against Carolina. There are lower expectations on Washington this year after back-to-back Presidents’ Trophies and second-round exits, but Holtby said making the playoffs was a goal at the start of the season.It’s within reach now.”It’s the first step on the way,” Eller said. ”We want to win our division and go into the playoffs on a high note.”Holtby looks like he could be heading into the playoffs on a high note after almost two months of struggles and a minor lower-body injury. He would have liked to stop Spooner’s third-period goal on a shot that beat him clean Womens Evander Kane Jersey , but with a question of whether Holtby or Philipp Grubauer will start, it helped that the 2016 Vezina Trophy winner finally looks like his normal self again.”I felt comfortable,” Holtby said. ”It’s something I’m not used to – not playing much. The stamina and such was a little different than I was used to, but it felt good to go out there and just get to work and play in a high-intensity game.”There are many more high-intensity games to come for the Capitals, who can soon exhale about making the playoffs and prepare for the next step.”The NHL how it is, it doesn’t really matter where you are in the standings,” Holtby said. ”The guys should be proud. We should be proud we’re in a position like that.”NOTES: Rangers assistant Lindy Ruff missed the game after hitting his head on the ice at practice Thursday. Coach Alain Vigneault said Ruff was hospitalized and diagnosed with a concussion but was in good spirits and expected to be back with the team in a few days. … F Shane Gersich, a 2014 fifth-round pick who signed with Washington last week after his season at North Dakota ended, made his NHL debut. … Pheonix Copley backed up Holtby because Grubauer felt a ”tweak” in the Capitals’ game at the Rangers on Tuesday, according to coach Barry Trotz.UP NEXTRangers: Return home to face the playoff-bound Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night.Capitals: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.— If the New Jersey Devils wish to again consider themselves a serious playoff contender this season, there is no better test early on than to skate against the defending Stanley Cup champions.That is precisely what the Devils (1-0-0) will do Thursday night when they play their home opener at Prudential Center against the Washington Capitals (2-0-1).The Devils earned their first playoff berth in six seasons a year ago, finishing eighth in the Eastern Conference, before falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. They started 2018-19 on the right foot last Saturday, skating to a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers as part of the NHL’s Global Series in Gothenburg, Sweden.Article continues below ...“I think we grew as a team Authentic Joe Pavelski Jersey , really got that brotherhood together, going all over Europe, it really brought everyone closer together,” Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid said of the team’s week-long trip to Switzerland and Sweden. “And I think it showed out there. All the hard work really added up.”Veteran forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac both scored twice in the win, while Miles Wood added a pair of assists and Kinkaid stopped 17 of 19 shots.Now, after some long travel home, one practice and a couple days off, the Devils host a division rival that won hockey’s ultimate prize last spring.“You have your home opener, against the defending Stanley Cup champs, so we’re expecting our guys to be ready to go, our fans and building to be excited,” said Devils coach John Hynes.Kinkaid, who won a career-high 26 games last season while filling in for injured No. 1 goalie Cory Schneider, will start against the Capitals. Schneider remains sidelined following offseason hip surgery and is getting closer to a return to action.With Washington playing on back-to-back nights, 26-year-old backup Pheonix Copley will make his Capitals debut between the pipes Thursday. It will be only his second career NHL game — and third appearance overall.In his only other NHL start Joe Thornton Jersey , Copley allowed five goals on 29 shots for the St. Louis Blues in a loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 21, 2017. Last year with Hershey in the AHL, Copley was 15-17-6 with a 2.91 GAA and .896 save percentage.“My mindset is to get better every game, give the team a chance to win every time they give me an opportunity to play,” Copley told the team’s web site.The Capitals are coming off a 5-2 home-ice victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in a Stanley Cup rematch Wednesday night. Washington already has 18 goals through the season’s first three games.Alex Ovechkin scored a pair against the Golden Knights, giving him four goals on the season. His 611 career goals move Ovechkin past Bobby Hull for 17th place on the NHL’s all-time list.Ovechkin’s teammate T.J. Oshie also netted his fourth goal; and both players have scored goals in all three games, so far.The No. 1 Caps star on Wednesday, though, was Evgeny Kuznetsov, who had four points with a goal and three assists.“He’s my favorite player to watch play in the NHL,” Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom told NBCSN. “He’s just dancing out there.”The Devils beat the Capitals only once at the Prudential Center the past four seasons; and last year Washington won three of four games overall with New Jersey’s only win being an overtime victory on home ice.


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