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Packers atop division after 23-14 win over Vikes

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Packers atop division after 23-14 win over Vikes

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) The Green Bay Packers are back atop the NFC North, and they have a very unlikely source to thank.

Minutes after the Packers wrapped up their 23-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon, Seattle beat Chicago in overtime to drop the Bears back into a tie with Green Bay for the division lead.

Yes, that would be the same Seattle team that stole a win from the Packers (8-4) earlier this season with the Inaccurate Reception.

``I can't say there are many Seattle fans in the locker room,'' Aaron Rodgers said, ``but we appreciate the help.''

The Packers and Bears each play three of their last four against NFC North opponents, including a Dec. 16 matchup at Soldier Field that might well decide the division title.

``Everything's right in front of us,'' Rodgers said. ``We've got to go win our home games and get a couple wins on the road.''

The Vikings (6-6), meanwhile, have ground to make up after falling a game behind Seattle in the race for the second NFC wild card. Not even a monster day by Adrian Peterson was enough to lift the Vikings, who lost for the fourth time in five games.

Peterson had a career-long 82-yard touchdown run and finished with 210 yards rushing, his most since tearing his ACL almost a year ago. But Morgan Burnett picked off Christian Ponder twice in the red zone in the second half, and Minnesota went scoreless after taking a 14-10 lead into halftime.

``He ran for 210 yards - that's important - but it's not as important to him as the fact that we didn't win the game. That's the beauty of Adrian Peterson. He's a total team guy,'' Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier said. ``It's just disappointing that we couldn't win when he had such a great day in this environment.

``You want to see him celebrate, but it's hard to celebrate after today's loss.''

Ponder's job appears secure despite the loss. Frazier said he didn't consider making a switch during the game and he doesn't plan to this week, either.

``We can win with the personnel that we have,'' Frazier said. ``We've shown that we can. We just have to do a few things better. There's no reason to panic.''

With Green Bay's offense trying to find its rhythm after injuries to No. 2 receiver Jordy Nelson (hamstring) and offensive lineman T.J. Lang (ankle), Peterson's 82-yard run gave the Vikings a 14-10 lead at halftime. He put the Vikings in great position to pad that lead, ripping off a 48-yarder on the first play of the second half that gave Minnesota the ball at the Green Bay 12.

But two plays later, Ponder got flushed out of the pocket. Rather than take the sack or run out of bounds, he heaved the ball into the end zone -right into Burnett's hands.

``I'd seen it was a pretty spiral, and I made sure I got my paws on it,'' Burnett said.

Rodgers overthrew Jarrett Boykin in the end zone on third-and-7 from the 29, and the Packers looked as if they were going to go for it. But after a Minnesota timeout, McCarthy sent out Mason Crosby, who had missed six of his last 11, including one from 53 yards just before the half.

This one was good, however, the kick wobbling through the uprights.

Rodgers was picked off on a trick play, but the Packers defense bailed him out, stuffing Peterson for no gain on third-and-1. A tipped Chris Kluwe punt gave the Packers the ball at their own 49 and, four plays later, James Starks bolted 22 yards for the score and the 20-14 lead, Green Bay's first since the second quarter.

Another long run by Peterson and a 15-yard penalty on the Packers put the Vikings deep in Green Bay territory. Once again, though, Burnett was there, stepping in front of Kyle Rudolph and snatching the ball at the 13.

``This one definitely hurts,'' Ponder said. ``For what this game means to the team, to this state, it's disappointing - especially with the way Adrian played - to go out and throw two interceptions.''

The Packers ground out an 11-minute drive before Crosby sealed the win with his third field goal of the day, a 31-yarder. Rodgers made three big third-down conversions to keep the drive alive, running for one and finding Greg Jennings (8 yards), back in the lineup for the first time since Sept. 30, and Randall Cobb (33 yards) on the others.

``It definitely was a gut check for us at halftime,'' Rodgers said ``The thing you can say about our guys, there was no panic. ... When we had to have it there in the fourth quarter, we were able to put something together. That said a lot about the kind of guys we've got and the leadership we have.''

NOTES: Green Bay has won a franchise-high 10 straight against NFC North opponents. ... Burnett's two interceptions matched his single-game career high. He also had two last year against the Bears. ... With 1 1/2 sacks Sunday, Jared Allen now has 14 of Rodgers. ... Peterson's 21 carries gives him 1,640 for his career, topping the previous Vikings record of 1,627.

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NHL Stanley Cup Final 2018: Capitals vs. Golden Knights full schedule announced, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

NHL Stanley Cup Final 2018: Capitals vs. Golden Knights full schedule announced, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

The Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are the only two hockey teams left standing and will meet to decide the 2017-18 NHL Stanley Cup champion.

The Capitals advanced to the Stanley Cup FInal for the first time since 1998, thanks to a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

The Golden Knights, in their inaugural season, shocked the NHL world, defeating the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets to become the first team in major American professional sports history to reach the championship game in the franchise's first season.

The Capitals and Golden Knights met twice during the regular season, with Vegas coming out on top in both games. The Golden Knights blanked the Caps 3-0 in the Caps' first trip to Sin City, and bested the Caps 4-3 at Capital One Arena on Feb. 4.

Game 1 of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Golden Knights takes place on Monday, May 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC and is available to be streamed online by using the NBC Sports App.

NBC Sports Washington will broadcast pre- and postgame coverage of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Golden Knights,  with Caps FaceOff and Caps GameTime preceding Capitals vs. Golden Knights puck drop and Caps Extra and Caps OverTime following the end of each game. 

2018 STANLEY CUP FINAL HOW TO WATCH

Game 1: Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Monday, May 28
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Wednesday, May 30
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBCSN
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 3: Golden Knights at Capitals
Date: Saturday, June 2
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: Capital One Arena. Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBCSN
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 4: Golden Knights at Capitals
Date: Monday, June 4
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: Capital One Arena. Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 5 (If Necessary): Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Thursday, June 7
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 6 (If Necessary): Golden Knights at Capitals
Date: Sunday, June 10
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: Capital One Arena. Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 7 (If Necessary): Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Wednesday, June 13
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)
 

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Alex Ovechkin scored the goal that sent the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Final

Alex Ovechkin scored the goal that sent the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Final

On June 4, 1998, Joe Juneau scored the biggest goal in the history of the Washington Capitals.

In Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final, Juneau attacked the crease and shot in a rebound past a helpless Dominik Hasek in overtime to defeat the Buffalo Sabres and win the Eastern Conference.

That goal sent the Capitals to its first and, before 2018, only Stanley Cup Final.

Alex Ovechkin’s name was already etched in the history books for the Capitals several times over, but on Wednesday he added it again with the biggest goal of his career. His goal in Game 7 stood as the game-winner meaning it was the goal that sent the Capitals to their second Cup Final.

You can watch it here:

It did not come in overtime and was not quite as dramatic as Juneau’s. In fact, no one knew the significance of the goal at the time. It came just 62 seconds into the contest. It was a significant goal, but no one realized right away that it would be an historic one.

How fitting is it that Ovechkin scored the game-winner? Ovechkin who this team was built around, who reignited the franchise and built Washington into a hockey city. After all the criticism over the years, all the talk about how he can’t win, all talk about how the team should take away the C and all the talk about how the Caps should trade him and start over, this goal was not just a moment of history, but one of vindication.

When we look back on Ovechkin’s career, at all the individual awards and accomplishments, this one single goal will stand above the rest. This was the biggest game of his career and he scored the biggest goal of his career just 62 seconds in.

There’s one way he can top that: lead the Caps past Vegas for their first Stanley Cup.

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