Capitals

Mavs get boost from Curry in victory over Bobcats

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Mavs get boost from Curry in victory over Bobcats

DALLAS (AP) Shawn Marion scored 24 points, Eddy Curry added 11 one day after he was claimed off waivers, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Charlotte Bobcats 99-82 on Friday night in the final preseason game for both teams.

Marion scored 10 of his 24 points in the second quarter to help the Mavericks pull ahead 61-43 at halftime.

O.J. Mayo had 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Mavericks, who finished 4-4 in the preseason.

Byron Mullens, Charlotte's leading scorer in the preseason, had 16 points and 19 rebounds. Gerald Henderson scored 17 points for the Bobcats, who shot just 30 percent from the floor.

The Mavericks claimed Curry off waivers Thursday after San Antonio cut him and he was in the starting lineup a day after being picked up. The 7-footer had seven rebounds and was 4 of 8 shooting, including a nifty layup to finish a break early in the third.

Curry's addition comes at a time when Dallas' frontcourt is short-handed because of injuries.

Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki, who played just one preseason game, had right knee surgery last Friday and could miss up to six weeks.

Center Chris Kaman missed his fourth in a row with a right calf strain and his status for Tuesday's regular-season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers is up in the air.

Forward Elton Brand was also rested Friday night by coach Rick Carlisle.

Dallas' Darren Collison had 12 points and rookie Jae Crowder chipped in with 11.

The Bobcats, who finished 1-7 in the preseason, had a 7-59 record last season and the worst winning percentage in NBA history.

Charlotte will look to snap a 23-game losing streak in the regular season when it opens at home next Thursday against the Indiana Pacers.

The Bobcats missed 16 of their first 17 shots and fell behind by 18 in the first quarter.

Charlotte closed the gap to 40-33 before the Mavericks went on a 16-4 run that was finished off by consecutive baskets from Marion, who also had 12 rebounds.

Mullens hit a turnaround jumper that brought the Bobcats within 85-82 in the fourth quarter. The Mavericks scored the final 14 points of the game to close things out.

Charlotte's Ramon Sessions had 16 points and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the second overall pick in this past summer's draft, had 10 rebounds.

Bobcats forward Tyrus Thomas missed his second straight game with a bruised right heel.

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Capitals to face Penguins in NHL Playoffs for third consecutive year

Capitals to face Penguins in NHL Playoffs for third consecutive year

The Caps are headed to the 2018 NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins… again.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

Yes, for the third time in three years, the Capitals will play the Penguins, hoping to take down the defending Stanley Cup champions and advance out of the second round of the playoffs and to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since the 1998 season, when the team made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Capitals are riding momentum from their first-round series win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, where they fought back from an 0-2 series hole to win the series thanks to a 6-3 victory in Game 6 Monday night in Columbus.

That momentum coupled with home-ice advantage — should they choose to capitalize on that this time around — could create an ideal atmosphere for the Caps to take a 2-0 series lead before heading to Pittsburgh for Games 3 and 4.

A perennial problem, Sidney Crosby enters this series playing some of his best playoff hockey. In their 4-2 series win over the Philadelphia Flyers, the Pens’ captain scored six goals in six games, including a hat trick in the opening matchup.

But he’s not the only one creating havoc for goalies. Center Jake Guentzel is tied with Crosby at the top of the league in goals and points in the playoffs. The pair each had six goals and seven assists against the Flyers, as well as 17 shots on goal apiece.

Is it possible they’ll get stonewalled by Braden Holtby, who — despite not starting initially in the first two games for the Caps against the Blue Jackets — is rocking a 93.6 save percentage and ranks fourth in the league with a 1.66 goals against average among goaltenders who have played more than one postseason game.

If the Caps can find a spark in their offense with Holtby staying strong in goal, perhaps this could be the year they finally slide past the Pens.

However, history isn’t exactly on Washington’s side. In the second-round series from the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, the Pens hold an 8-5 record over the Caps, eliminating them both years on their way to back-to-back Stanley Cups.

Pittsburgh leads the Caps in the overall playoff game record, 38-24, and they’ve met for 10 series in the postseason, dating back to 1990-91. Four times the series was pushed to a Game 7, but the Caps never came out on top.

The one and only time the Caps have ever eliminated the Pens from the playoffs was in the 1993-94 season, when they beat Pittsburgh 4-2 in the first round before losing to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

But hey, this year could become the second time in franchise history the Caps take down the Pens.

The NHL has yet to announce when Game 1 of the Capitals vs. Penguins series will take place, but with the Wizards playing Game 6 of their NBA Playoff series at home on Friday, the likliest start date is either Thursday, April 26 or Saturday, April 28.

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4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 6

4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 6

The Capitals wrapped up their series against the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 6-3 Game 6 win on Monday. Here's how they were able to finish off the Blue Jackets.

A big save at one end, a goal at the other

You see it all the time in hockey, a big save on one end turns into a goal on the other and we saw it in the first period. One of Braden Holtby’s best saves of the night came in the first period when he managed to get in front of a deflection attempt by Cam Atkinson. Pierre-Luc Dubois fired a pass to the slot and Atkinson got a backhand on it, but it was not enough to beat Holtby. Less than a minute later, Dmitry Orlov fired a slapshot past Sergei Bobrovsky to give the Caps the first-period lead.

A two-goal period from Alex Ovechkin

Despite the 1-0 score, all the momentum began to swing in Columbus’ way in the second period. Washington squandered a two-man advantage which brought the Nationwide Arena crowd back to life. Soon after, Nick Foligno tied the game at 1. Just when everything started going the Blue Jackets’ way, however, Alex Ovechkin brought them back down to Earth with two goals in the second period. His first came about four minutes after Foligno’s tally as he backhanded in a rebound goal past Bobrovsky. It was an ugly goal, but beautiful at the same time. His second was the familiar power-play goal from the office.

Two quick responses

Every time Columbus tried to build momentum the Caps had an answer. The crowd and momentum fuelled Columbus to Foligno’s first goal, but Ovechkin answered four minutes later. The Blue Jackets pulled to within one early in the third period with a goal from Pierre-Luc Dubois, but 91 seconds later Devante Smith-Pelly beat Bobrovsky with an absolute snipe to the top corner in one of the prettiest goals you will see this postseason. That felt like the moment Washington declared they were not going to allow themselves to lose this game.

The penalty kill

The Caps’ penalty kill was integral to the series as a whole and it came through in a big way again in Game 6 with another perfect game. Washington killed off all four power plays they faced including two in the third period.

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