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Vasilevskiy turns East final around for Lightning

Two games and two losses brought plenty of criticism of the young Russian goaltender. Cooper wasn’t thrilled about that.

”The questions were coming from the other side of the table, and I felt it was the questioning of Vasilevskiy,” the Tampa Bay coach said. ”We don’t. He’s been the guy for us.’where can i get cheap nfl jerseys

Vasilevskiy is the guy who turned the series around for the Lightning, who now lead the Capitals 3-2 and can eliminate Washington on the road in Game 6 on Monday night and move on to the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights. After a 6.00 goals-against average and .839 save percentage in Games 1 and 2, he has a 2.00 GAA and .943 save percentage since as the series’ biggest difference-maker.

Cooper saw it during the 2016-17 season when Vasilevskiy struggled during a stretch of 10 consecutive starts when Ben Bishop was hurt and then again late this season when a swoon by him and the entire team almost cost Tampa Bay the East’s top seed. Vasilevskiy bounced back strong each time.300

”His ability to be able to turn the page now and understand, ‘You know what there might be a tough night for you, but I’m going to go out the next night anyway and I’ve got to be there for my team,’ – I think that’s where his growth process has really come in,” Cooper said.

The same happened between Games 2 and 3 in this series. The shy Vasilevskiy who has been reluctant to do interviews told a pool reporter he didn’t make any adjustments from his worst games against the Capitals to his best.

Somehow, he has looked like an entirely different goalie. Chants of ”Vasy! Vasy!” filled Amalie Arena in Game 5 on Saturday night when he stopped 28 of 30 shots, and the highest praise was reserved for inside the Lightning’s locker room.

”He’s a world class goaltender, that’s what he does,” defenseman Braydon Coburn said. ”He battles hard every day in practice all season long, and he’s raised his game in the playoffs here.”

No doubt his teammates have improved their play in front of Vasilevskiy, with defenseman Anton Stralman saying: ”We always feel like we owe him.” china cheap nfl jerseys But against a star-studded Capitals team led by countrymen Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, Vasilevskiy had to raise his game to give Tampa Bay any chance.

If the Capitals can crack Vasilevskiy like they did the first two times, there will be a Game 7 on Wednesday night at Tampa Bay. But they’d better figure that out and get an even better game from Braden Holtby because the Lightning are 11-0 in the playoffs when scoring three-plus goals.

Sweden beats Switzerland to retain world ice hockey title

Sweden capped a victorious run through the ice hockey world championship by edging Switzerland 3-2 on Sunday in the final after a penalty shootout to successfully defend its title.

Forward Filip Forsberg scored the decisive goal in the shootout to give Sweden a third world title in six years, and 11th overall.

Sweden won all 10 matches at the tournament.

”We wanted to win the gold medal, and here we are,” Sweden forward Viktor Arvidsson said. ”It’s unbelievable, especially for Filip (Forsberg). He’s a great player,wholesale nfl jerseys supply  one of our top players. It’s unbelievable to win with my teammates.”

Arvidsson, together with Nashville Predators teammates Forsberg and defenseman Mattias Ekholm, joined the Swedish team during the tournament after the Predators were eliminated from the NHL playoffs.

”We had the puck a lot,” Arvidsson said. ”They did a great job defending.”299

Sweden outshot Switzerland 38-27 but could not get the puck past goaltender Leonardo Genoni.

Switzerland finished runner-up for the third time after 2013 and 1935. It has never won.

”We battled hard … all the tournament long,” Switzerland defenseman Mirco Muller said. ”Once you look at the bigger picture, it’s huge for Swiss hockey. But right now, there’s a disappointment. We definitely had our chances.”

Switzerland stunned Canada 3-2 in the semifinals after a 3-2 upset against Finland in the quarterfinals.

”They were close to winning the whole championship. So, credit to them,” Sweden forward Magnus Paajarvi said.

Forward Nick Bonino scored the winner on a rebound during a power play in the final period. Anders Lee and Kreider added empty-net insurance goals to give the U.S. its third bronze in six years.

”It’s important for the team but it’s also important for USA Hockey,” U.S. captain Patrick Kane said. ”Now, we can build up off this level and try to keep being better and better.”where can i get cheap nfl jerseys

Kane had an assist in the game to finish the tournament with 20 points for eight goals and 12 assists, the first player to do so since 2008.

”Obviously I’m here to produce and try to create offense and make plays out there,” Kane said. ”Overall, I’m happy … it was a fun tournament and a great experience for me and I hope it will help me with my career going forward too.”

Ovechkin has goal and assist, Capitals beat Lightning 4-2

Putting an emotional second-round victory over playoff nemesis and two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh behind them, the Caps got a power-play goal and assist from Alex Ovechkin in his Eastern Conference finals debut and beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Friday night.

Braden Holtby stopped 19 shots and Michal Kempny, Jay Beagle and Lars Eller also scored for the Caps, nfl shop jerseys authentic who are alive beyond the second round of the playoffs for the first time in Ovechkin’s brilliant 13-year career.

”We had a really good start. We didn’t give them much,” Ovechkin said.

”I think it’s we realized we just have to play our way,” the Washington captain added. ”It doesn’t matter which position we are, which round it is. Everybody was paying the price.”

Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat scored for Tampa Bay, which trailed 4-0 heading into the third period.192

Game 2 is Sunday night at Amalie Arena, where Tampa Bay also lost Game 1 in the second round against Boston.

”It’s just one game. That’s the way we have to look at it,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ”We’ve got to get back to what got us to the conference final.”

The Capitals dominated in improving to 6-1 on the road this postseason, with Kempny giving them an early 1-0 lead.

Ovechkin made it 2-0 a mere 5 seconds after the Lightning thought they had tied it in the closing seconds of the opening period. But Nikita Kucherov’s would-be breakaway goal was waved off because Tampa Bay had too many men on the ice.

T.J. Oshie won the ensuing faceoff in the Lightning zone, getting the puck to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who fed Ovechkin for the Washington superstar’s ninth goal this postseason – 55th overall in 110 career playoff games – at 19:54 of the first.

”That gave us a real boost … gave us some breathing room,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said.buy cheap nfl jerseys online

Beagle and Eller scored in the first seven minutes of the second period for a 4-0 lead. Up to that point, the Lightning – the NHL’s highest-scoring team during the regular season – had allowed as many goals as they had shots.

Tampa Bay replaced goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy with Louis Domingue after the starter allowed four goals on 25 shots through two periods.

Holtby lost his shutout when Stamkos, assisted by Kucherov and Victor Hedman, scored at 3:45 of the third. Palat added his goal at 13:03, trimming Washington’s lead to 4-2.

Led by Patrick Kane, United States shines at hockey worlds

The U.S. opened with victory over Canada, the tournament favorite seeking a third title in four years and captained by NHL leading scorer Connor McDavid

Chasing its first medal at the tournament since bronze in 2015, the 5-4 win over Canada in a penalty shootout set the pace for the U.S. in Group B,cheap nfl throwback jerseys  followed by victories against host Denmark (4-0), Germany (3-0), Latvia (3-2 in OT) and South Korea (13-1).

The decision to make Kane captain after a disappointing season with his Chicago Blackhawks has paid off.

The 29-year-old star forward last played at the world championships in 2008, his first season in the NHL and also the last time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs. In the meantime he won three Stanley Cup titles with the Blackhawks and was in the U.S. team at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics.

”It’s a huge honor to represent the United States of America, the greatest country in the world,” Kane said.

He has proved a leader on ice, scoring three goals and adding nine assists in the first five games at the championship.

Kane was also key to other players being keen to join the team.191

”His influence was as a magnet to attract players,” U.S. general manager Bill Zito said.

The team includes game-breakers such as forwards Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings, Anders Lee of the New York Islanders, Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers and Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames. Cam Atkinson of the Columbus Blue Jackets has been the team’s leading scorer at the championship with five goals.

But there’s also promising young talent, such as defenseman Quinn Hughes, a top 10 prospect in the 2018 NHL draft.

”Lot of good players, lot of young guys on this team, so it’s been a fun team to be around,” Kane said.

Kane’s Chicago teammate Alex DeBrincat, who is on the national team after scoring 28 goals in his rookie season with the Blackhawks, praised Kane’s leadership qualities.nfl shop jerseys authentic

”He wants to be the best, he’s always out there to be the best player on the ice,” DeBrincat said. ”For me, it’s taking that mentality and just using it. Everyone wants to be the best but some guys want that so much more and he’s one of those guys.”

Forsberg, Rinne help Predators beat Jets to force Game 7

Filip Forsberg, Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators showed they aren’t ready for their season to end yet.

Forsberg had two goals and an assist, Rinne stopped 34 shots for his second shutout of the playoffs, and the Predators beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 on Monday to force a decisive Game 7 in their Western Conference semifinal series.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“Desperation,” Rinne said after his fifth career playoff shutout. “It just shows that we have a really tight group.”

Viktor Arvidsson also scored twice, including a late empty-netter, and added an assist for the Predators. Roman Josi and Ryan Johansen each had two assists.

After the Jets’ top line combined for eight points in a 6-2 victory in Game 5 in Nashville to take a 3-2 series lead, the Predators No. 1 trio of Forsberg, Arvidsson and Johansen did the same when it mattered most.

“It’s the most fun,” Forsberg said. “You can never have more fun than playing these elimination games. … Just try to enjoy it as much as possible.”

Connor Hellebuyck stopped 25 shots for the Jets.131

Game 7 in this series in which neither team has won consecutive games is Thursday at Nashville, Tennessee, with the winner advancing to face the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference final. Each team has also won twice on the road.

With the Predators up 1-0 after one period, Forsberg doubled the lead at 8:44 of the second on a great solo rush for his sixth of the postseason. nike cheap nfl jerseys After breaking his stick in the defensive zone blocking a shot, the Swedish forward raced to the bench to get a new one as the puck almost simultaneously arrived at his feet. Forsberg stayed onside, fought off Jets defenseman Ben Chairot and beat Hellebuyck short-side before crashing into the net.

Winnipeg had made an earlier push coming out of the first intermission, with Paul Stastny’s shot just wide being the best chance after Mathieu Perreault’s dump in hit the linesman and caromed into the slot. Stastny also missed from a tight angle off the boards on the follow up on Rinne.

Everybody gets burned by Fil: Forsberg uses his flash to propel Predators’ playoff run

The slickest goal of the Stanley Cup playoffs might have come in a Game 1 of the first round. Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg carried the puck by his right skate as Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard approached. In a move that looked beta-tested by video game controllers, Forsberg poked the puck through his own legs, collected it in stride, scooted around a wobbly Girard, then slipped the puck past goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

The sequence took all of three seconds, but the reverberations — the instant GIFs, the social media gushing,cheap nike nfl jerseys china the highlight on loop — lasted well past the 24-hour news cycle. As Forsberg’s teammate Austin Watson said afterward: “He thinks of doing things out there that wouldn’t even happen in my dreams.”

There’s another thing the Predators want you to know about the 23-year-old Swede: You might be impressed by his dazzling moves in games, but you should see the stuff he tries in practice.

“He’s always trying something — flipping his hands over, doing something weird,” defenseman Ryan Ellis said. “You’re like, ‘What is he doing?’ But he pulls something off his sleeve, and it’s usually pretty impressive.”129

“He might be the most creative player I’ve ever played with,” said center Kyle Turris, acquired from the Ottawa Senators last November. “The things he tries in practice are insane. It’s really neat to watch.”

Or, as defenseman P.K. Subban said, “Everybody gets burned by Fil.”

In the playoffs, Forsberg is the anonymous assassin. His 12 points — 5 goals, 7 assists — through 11 games pace the Predators (Forsberg led Nashville in the regular season with 64 points despite missing 11 games with an injury and three to suspension). Since the start of the 2014-15 season,nfl nike jersey cheap Forsberg has 24 game-winning goals — ninth-most in the NHL in that span and more than players such as Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Evgeni Malkin or Jonathan Toews. Meanwhile, Forsberg’s top line is Nashville’s most lethal in the playoffs; Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson have a 53.7 Corsi for percentage and 63.6 goals for perc

The 2018 final eight is great: Why this year’s second round might be the best ever

For all the criticism of the NHL’s divisional playoff format, this year’s second-round series are loaded with compelling matchups. In the Western Conference, official nfl jerseys cheap we have the Vegas Golden Knights vs. the San Jose Sharks, two teams that swept their first-round opponents, and the Winnipeg Jets vs. the Nashville Predators, the teams with the two best records in the Western Conference.

In the East, we have the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the Metropolitan-winning Washington Capitals, as well as the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning against the Boston Bruins.

And all eight teams remaining in the field finished the regular season with at least 100 points, a feat that has never happened before in NHL history.35

The remaining teams in 2018 make up the strongest class of quarterfinalists in the past decade, beating out the 2013 octet that featured the Chicago Blackhawks, Bruins, Los Angeles Kings and other heavyweights.

Winnipeg and Nashville might both have had easier matchups under the old playoff system.reebok nfl jerseys And, yes, there are still questions about the fairness of divisional playoff systems, especially during the seasons when one division is markedly better than another. But the 2018 second round is loaded with what are arguably the league’s eight best teams, including a two-time defending champion looking to reign again, a Presidents’ Trophy winner looking to avenge its Cup Final loss and a rock-solid expansion team looking to make history. What’s not to love about that?

French connection: Vegas’ Pierre-Edouard Bellemare might just be the most interesting man in hockey

By the time Pierre-Edouard Bellemare arrived as a “rookie” at Philadelphia Flyers training camp in 2014, the French forward had already spent a year in medical school, served an eight-year stint in Sweden, teetered on the brink of bankruptcy and learned his third language. wholesale nfl jerseys So the fact that most of his prospective Flyers teammates had no idea who he was didn’t faze Bellemare. Neither did their incredulity at his relatively advanced age.

As he struck up a conversation — in French — with centers Claude Giroux and Vincent Lecavalier about the most recent world championships, Bellemare casually mentioned that he had played in the event for the first time about 10 years earlier.

“Wait, what?” Giroux blurted, after quickly doing the math in his head. After all, in 2004, Giroux was still playing juniors.

“Yeah,” Bellemare said. “I’m 29.”

Giroux and Lecavalier stared at him, stupefied.34

“At that point, I think the guys started realizing that I was maybe a serious player,” Bellemare says now. “Because [the Flyers] wouldn’t just take up an old player for no reason.”

Bellemare made Philadelphia’s roster out of camp. He was technically an NHL rookie — even though, by Collective Bargaining Agreement qualifications, he was three years too old to be labeled as such. And now the winger, one of only 11 French players to reach the NHL, is in this fourth season and an alternate captain for the Vegas Golden Knights. His path to that Flyers training camp — let alone to playing a key role three years later for a No. 1 seed in the Stanley Cup playoffs — is an improbable tale.

Now Bellemare and the Golden Knights, who rolled to a first-round sweep of the Los Angeles Kings and shellacked the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of their second-round matchup, are 11 wins away from capping their wildly successful inaugural season with the unlikeliest chapter yet: hoisting the Stanley Cup.

Bellemare was born in a suburb of Paris, the third of four children. When he was 6, his 13-year-old sister, Aurore-Annick, asked their mother, Frederique,official nfl jerseys cheap if she could play hockey. Bellemare and his 10-year-old brother, Geoffroy-Alexis, tagged along to her first lesson. “She was a little bit spoiled,” Bellemare recalls of his sister. “So my big brother and I were like, ‘All right, if she’s going to play hockey, we want to skate.'”

Players claimed off NHL waivers making most of 2nd chances

Waived by Dallas in October, he was claimed by Colorado soon after and has played an integral role in helping the Avalanche return to the postseason. nfl replica jerseys cheap He’s not alone: These playoffs are filled with castoffs who were put on waivers, only to find a revamped role with a new team.

It’s not personal. It’s just business. Players realize this. But still, being waived goodbye is hard to swallow.

”Of course you want to prove them wrong,” said Nemeth, whose team trails 3-1 heading to Nashville for Game 5 on Friday night. ”You want to prove you can play and that they were wrong. That’s always going to be in the back of your head – at least for me.”

When Avs defenseman Mark Barberio was cut by Montreal last year, so many thoughts swirled through his head: What went wrong? Next stop, the minors? Is there still even a role for him in the league?

It was a whirlwind 24 hours – the amount of time teams have to make a claim – before the Avs picked him up.288

”Colorado saw something in me and decided to give me a chance,” Barberio said. ”I’ve gotten a chance to play regular minutes, and a coaching staff I feel believes in me. I’m trying to repay that faith every time I play.”

That sort of feeling is shared by center Ryan Carpenter, who was claimed by Vegas from Anaheim on Dec. 13. He’s now heading to the second round with the expansion Golden Knights. Carpenter had a key assist in a Game 3 win over Los Angeles.

”It’s amazing … how things can change in pro hockey,” Carpenter said on the team’s website. ”I feel like a little kid right now playing in playoffs. It’s exciting and we want to keep this thing going. It’s nice when you feel like you’re contributing. I never would’ve though in the middle of December I’d be playing right now.”

Minnesota defenseman Nate Prosser was in a similar boat. He was claimed after St. Louis put him on waivers in late November, cheap nfl replica jerseys returning the nine-year NHL veteran to his home-state team for another stint. The Wild previously claimed Prosser off waivers from St. Louis on Oct. 2, 2014, after he had signed with the Blues that summer but was let go just before the season.

Anaheim Ducks face long summer after shocking playoff sweep

They’ll also have plenty of time to reflect on those achievements during an extra-long summer for a team that couldn’t put it together in the postseason.

The Ducks began the process of breaking up for the offseason this weekend after the San Jose Sharks completed a four-game sweep of their first-round series.

”There’s a numbness that’s kind of subsiding now,” coach Randy Carlyle said. nfl youth jerseys cheap ”After the run and the season-long trials and tribulations that you go through, you get to the playoffs and win out and get second place in the division, and four games later, a week later, you’re out of it, which is really numbing.”

Anaheim had made the Western Conference finals in two of the previous three seasons, and its six consecutive playoff berths constitute the second-longest active streak in the NHL. The Ducks finished with their fifth consecutive 100-point season – the league’s longest active streak – and went 10-1-1 with five straight victories to close the regular season, even surging into second place in the Pacific Division.

But the Ducks’ streak of five straight Pacific titles ended, and then their season ended in embarrassing fashion.287

The Ducks made the playoffs for the 11th time in 13 seasons, but perhaps they simply ran out of steam. Their mad dash to reach the postseason was necessitated by the slow start caused by the club’s numerous injury problems during the first half. Their top two centers – Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf – missed huge chunks of early play, while goal-scoring forward Patrick Eaves never suited up all year because of Guillain-Barre syndrome.

”The adversity that we faced this year was unlike anything I’ve ever seen, especially at the start of the year,” said top defenseman Cam Fowler, who missed the playoffs with a shoulder injury. ”We grinded it out, and to get to the 100-point mark was fantastic. But at the end of the day, you have to make a name for yourself come playoff time, and unfortunately we didn’t do that this year.”

Once the Ducks get over the hurt, they’ll evaluate the core of talent that remains in Anaheim after years of contention. nfl replica jerseys cheap General manager Bob Murray will have to decide whether that core is championship-caliber when healthy or whether it’s time to break up one of the NHL’s most consistent winners.