NHL players’ dogs had the best week ever: building snowpeople, fighting vacuum cleaners, and getting extra good cuddles
Here you go, world. Here. You. Go.
Here you go, world. Here. You. Go.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have a special opportunity in this year’s postseason. The Penguins are trying to become the first NHL team in 35 years to three-peat. The early 80’s New York Islanders were the last club to accomplish the feat, winning four straight Cups from 1980-83.
If the players are feeling any pressure about that challenge, they’re not letting it show – even with the news of Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin being out injured for Game One. During Wednesday’s practice, Penguins goaltender Matt Murray took time to work on his batting swing.
Saturday was Media Day at the 2018 All-Star Weekend, and when Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby took the podium, he kept it real.
Holtby, who is making his third straight All-Star appearance, called his nomination “less expected” and said that “there’s a couple teammates that should be here instead of me.”
23-year-old Penguins goaltender Matt Murray has won consecutive Stanley Cups during his first two seasons in the NHL. But according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Murray just wants to be Braden Holtby.
Early Monday, the Pittsburgh Penguins taunted the Washington Capitals about their lack of Stanley Cup banners. Later in the evening, the Hockey Gods would strike back.
Goaltender Matt Murray was forced to leave the game after being high sticked in the head by Evgeni Malkin – his own teammate.
Photo: Rob Carr
The Washington Capitals’ power play has operated in the same way for years under a myriad of coaches. It features a 1-3-1 setup. The main weapon is Alex Ovechkin, who scored 19 of his 50 goals on the man-advantage in the regular season. Since 2011, it’s been one of the league’s top five units. Everyone knows what’s coming; they just can’t stop it.
In their first round series against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Capitals power play was key as the team jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, converting on eight of 17 man-advantage opportunities, despite the Capitals often getting outplayed at even strength.
“Our power play is successful because everybody is on the same page, everybody knows what they have to do,” Ovechkin said after Saturday’s morning skate. “If they take me away, Carly’s open or Osh or Willy or Kuzy or Backy. It’s hard to stop. If I have a chance to shoot the puck I will, but I’ll take a guy with me to go to the goal line or something.”
Photo: Justin K. Aller
When two teams are as evenly matched as the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, every detail is crucial. From lucky bounces to drawing penalties, the little things can be game-changing. And then there’s the matter of goaltending.
Last series, Michal Neuvirth was handed the reins after Steve Mason put up three consecutive disappointing performances for the Flyers. As Neuvy made endless jaw-dropping stops, many of you wondered if the Caps were doomed, Halak-style. Alas, the superior team prevailed, and the Flyers were knocked out in Game Six.
Unlike the Flyers, the Pens are not a team the Caps can hold to 11 shots on goal in a single game. They’ll be facing some very talented players in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, among others. And instead of attempting to wear down Mason on Neuvirth, the Caps will do battle against rising star Matt Murray. Murray, a rookie, played the entirety of the Penguins-Rangers series in place of starter Marc-Andre Fleury, who is still suffering from concussion symptoms.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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