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Huskies trying to look ahead to Vegas, not back

Huskies trying to look ahead to Vegas, not back

SEATTLE (AP) Austin Seferian-Jenkins is completely done with what happened in the Apple Cup, from Washington's fourth-quarter meltdown to getting hit by an unruly Washington State fan as spectators rushed the field following the Cougars' overtime victory.

His feelings were mirrored by the entire Washington program on Monday, which finally has a chance to stop talking about blowing an 18-point fourth-quarter lead to its rivals and can start looking ahead to the Dec. 22 Las Vegas Bowl, where they will face No. 20 Boise State.

``It is behind us honestly,'' Seferian-Jenkins said Monday, the first time Washington players have been available since the Apple Cup loss. ``I dropped it after the next day. It's upsetting that we lost to our rival and the way we lost is unacceptable, but no one is really hanging their head on it anymore. We are still playing and that's all that counts. We are still playing and we've got a great opportunity against Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.''

Las Vegas is where the Huskies (7-5) wanted to go all along. But that option was thrown into flux when Washington lost to rival Washington State 31-28 in overtime on Nov. 23 and the Huskies were stuck waiting to see how bowl selections would shake out.

Eventually, the Huskies got their wish when Arizona ended up in the New Mexico Bowl and Arizona State went to San Francisco.

``They're a great team and this is a great opportunity for us,'' Washington QB Keith Price said. ``Obviously, Vegas is a fun place to be, but we're out there for a football game and we'll have time to have fun but ultimately we're out there to win a football game.''

The Huskies' 2012 season finale will be a preview of the 2013 season opener. Washington has heavily promoted opening renovated Husky Stadium next Aug. 31 against the Broncos, part of a home-and-home series that will see the Huskies play on Boise's blue turf in 2015.

Washington coach Steve Sarkisian sees the situation as a chance to develop a mini-rivalry with the Broncos.

``Boise, they've been doing this for such an extended period of time. They've been doing it year after year after year and so, for our guys, this is just another opportunity to go play a great football team that is really well-coached on a national stage,'' Sarkisian said. `` ... It's a really good matchup for both teams and sets the stage for somewhat of an intriguing offseason for nine months before the rematch here at Husky Stadium. I think it's pretty cool.''

While the entire Washington program would like to erase the memory of the final quarter of the Apple Cup, it was especially painful for Price, who threw a costly interception on the first play of overtime. Price watched a replay of the game as soon as he got to his apartment and said it was painful revisiting his mistake.

``This past week has been rough on the team. A lot of guys have been down. Obviously, you don't want to finish the season like that but we have another chance to kind of redeem ourselves,'' Price said.

As if losing to a rival wasn't enough, there was also the video that emerged after the Apple Cup that showed Seferian-Jenkins getting punched by at least one fan and dropped to the turf as the crowd rushed the field in the moments after Andrew Furney's game-winning kick. Seferian-Jenkins spoke to the media after the game and said nothing about the incident.

Washington State officials have said they are reviewing policies and trying to find the person.

For his part, Seferian-Jenkins wants the whole thing to go away. He said Washington officials asked if he wanted to pursue the situation and he told them to drop it.

``I told them not to pursue anything,'' Seferian-Jenkins said. ``They asked me and I said, `No, it's not worth it, it's a waste of time.' Whoever that guy was, it's not a big deal. I hope he was probably intoxicated or something like that. I'm not really worried about it. I'm over it. I think everybody else should be over it. It's not that big of a deal.''

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4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

The Caps put together their best performance of the series Thursday in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 4 of their 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round series.

he win pulled Washington even with Columbus in the series 2-2.

Here's how the Caps got the big win.

4 Reasons why the Capitals beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

1. Tom Wilson factors in the offense

Wilson’s hands are good for more than just punching.

He proved that again on Thursday as he scored the first goal for the second consecutive game. Chandler Stephenson and John Carlson provided the pressure on Sergei Bobrovsky. With Bobrovsky scrambling in the crease, Evgeny Kuznetsov passed the puck back to Wilson who fired the one-timer past the Columbus netminder.

In the first two games of the series, Wilson had no points and no shots. In the last two games, he has two goals and 13 shots on goal.

2. A great keep-in by John Carlson

We saw how dangerous it was when penalty killers fail to clear the puck in Game 1 when the Caps failed to clear in the third period leading to the game-tying power play goal.

In Game 4, the roles were reversed. Trying to kill off an Artemi Panarin penalty, Cam Atkinson attempted to clear the puck with the backhand. Carlson skillfully corralled the puck out of the air at the blue line to keep it in the zone.

The power play was able to reset and T.J. Oshie scored the rebound goal soon after.

3. Braden Holtby closes the door to finish the second period

After the Caps took the 2-0 lead, the Blue Jackets made a late push to try to pull one back.

In the last 10 minutes of the second period, Columbus had 13 shot attempts, five of which were not net. Several of those shots were high-quality opportunities, but Holtby came up with the big saves that the team was not getting earlier in the series.

His play ensured the Caps took the 2-0 lead to the locker room.

4. Alex Ovechkin extends the lead to three

Washington entered the third period up 2-0. In each of the first three games, the Caps held a two-goal lead and allowed the Blue Jackets to battle back and tie the score. Even with a two-goal lead, it still felt at the start of the third that the next goal would decide the game. If Columbus pulled within one and got the crowd back on their side, we have seen what that momentum can do for them.

This time, however, Ovechkin struck first. After a board battle behind the net, the puck trickled out to the faceoff circle. Ovechkin grabbed it and quickly snapped the puck past Bobrovsky before anyone could react.

The goal gave Washington their first three-goal lead of the series and shut the Blue Jackets’ comeback down before it could begin.

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Tarik's 3 stars: Ovechkin said Caps would even the series, on Thursday, he helped them do it

Tarik's 3 stars: Ovechkin said Caps would even the series, on Thursday, he helped them do it

COLUMBUS — Alex Ovechkin confidently predicted earlier this week that the Caps were going to win twice at Nationwide Arena and take their first round series back to Washington knotted, two games apiece.

And, on Thursday night, that’s exactly what Ovechkin made sure his team did.

No. 8, who was playing in his franchise-record 101st playoff game, scored his third goal of the playoffs early in the final frame and the Caps beat the Blue Jackets 4-1 in Game 4.

Tarik’s Three Stars of Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 4

1. Tom Wilson, Capitals

After a slow (and penalty-plagued) start to this series, Wilson has become a force. Yes, he took another minor, but the good is far outweighing the bad these days. Big Willy recorded a goal, an assist and a team-high seven shots. 

2. Braden Holtby, Capitals

Holtby had his best game in, well, a long time. He stopped 23 shots, including all eight he saw in a contentious second period.

The goal he surrendered was a nearly unstoppable tip-in by Boone Jenner.

3. T.J. Oshie, Capitals

Osh just plays the game so dang hard.

So it should come as no surprise that he delivered in his team’s biggest game of the season to this point. Oshie, of course, scored the game-winning goal on the power play midway through the second period.

It was No. 77’s second tally of the series. He also directed six shots at the Columbus net and made a couple of hits...all from a player who's been fighting through injury the past few weeks.

Agree? Disagree?

Let us know what you think in the comments.