Capitals

Scott, Miami edge Boston College 60-59

Scott, Miami edge Boston College 60-59

BOSTON (AP) Durand Scott hit four free throws in the closing 30 seconds and drew an offensive foul to help Miami extend its best conference start ever by beating pesky Boston College 60-59 on Wednesday night.

Scott finished with 15 points, Kenny Kadji had 14 and Trey McKinney Jones 11 for the Hurricanes (13-3, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). It's Miami's best conference start since it went 5-0 to open its Big East season 5-0 in 1997-98.

Olivier Hanlan, who led Boston College (9-8, 1-3) with 17 points, was fouled shooting a 3-pointer with a half-second left. The first two free throws rolled in but Hanlan front-rimmed the last one. The ball was tipped in the lane and the horn sounded.

Lonnie Jackson added 16 points for the Eagles and Ryan Anderson had 11.

Scott's two free throws had given the Hurricanes a 58-57 edge with 25 seconds to play. After the Eagles called timeout to set up a play, Scott drew an offensive foul near midcourt from Joe Rahon, appearing to take an elbow up high.

With Boston College clinging to a one-point lead, the teams traded misses before Scott stole Hanlan's pass in front of the Eagles' bench and drove to the basket for a miss, but Kadji had the put-back to push Miami ahead 56-55 with 1:36 to play.

After a timeout, Hanlan was fouled and hit both ends of a 1-and-1, moving the Eagles back in front with 67 seconds left.

Miami's Rion Brown then missed a jumper from the left wing, but Hanlan missed the front end of a 1-and-1 before Scott was fouled and nailed his two from the line.

BC trailed 36-34 early in the second half before Patrick Heckmann nailed a 3 from the right corner for his only basket of the game. Hanlan had a three-point play on the next possession and Anderson followed with two free throws, pushing BC ahead 42-36 with just over 12 minutes to play.

Miami, coming off solid wins at Georgia Tech, at North Carolina and Maryland, respectively, then stayed close thanks to some decent long-range shooting, nailing three shots from beyond the arc over the ensuing 6 minutes.

The Hurricanes cut it to 51-50 on McKinney Jones' free throw with 3:34 to play, the first of three times they closed it to one point.

The Eagles came out cold from the field in the opening 5 minutes of the second half, missing six of their first seven shots, but Miami didn't fully capitalize.

The Hurricanes did turn a two-point halftime deficit into a 36-31 lead by scoring 10 of the initial 13 points to start the half, but Jackson nailed a 3 from the right corner, closing it to two points with 14:18 to play.

Gamble had six points during the Hurricanes' spree to start the second half.

The Eagles took a 28-26 lead into intermission after Anderson's layup with 32 seconds left in the half.

BC seemed to dictate the pace for much of the opening half, running the shot clock down into single digits on most possessions.

Neither team held more than a two-possession lead in the slowly paced half that featured relatively few fastbreak chances. Both schools had zero fast-break points in the opening 20 minutes.

Rahon rolled his right ankle early in the game, went to the locker room and returned about 3 minutes later.

Miami center Reggie Johnson missed his eighth straight with a broken left thumb

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Players to watch

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Players to watch

It doesn't take an expert to tell you players like Alex Ovechkin or Marc-Andre Fleury will play a big role in the Stanley Cup Final.

Both the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights will need their best players to be at their best to take home the Cup. But who will be the unexpected heroes? Who are the players no one is talking about who will have a big hand in their team's success or defeat in this series?

Here are five players you should be watching in the Stanley Cup:

1. Devante Smith-Pelly: Smith-Pelly had seven goals in 79 games in the regular season. Now he has four goals in just 19 playoff games.

Smith-Pelly has been one of those unlikely playoff heroes for the Caps this postseason with very timely performances such as scoring the series-clinching goal in Game 6 against the Columbus Blue and scoring the goal that put the game away in Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The physical play has really stood out as well for him, which fits well on the fourth line role he has settled back into now that the team is healthy again. Barry Trotz tried moving him to the top line in the absence of Tom Wilson and the results weren't great. He is best suited for the role he currently has and that will allow him to thrive.

2. James Neal: Neal came up just short of the Stanley Cup last season as a member of the Nashville Predators. He totaled nine points in 22 games during that run, a number he has already matched in just 15 games this postseason.

There are very few players on either team that boast the kind of postseason experience Neal has. He will be leaned upon this series for his leadership.

Vegas is a young team and their unprecedented success in the playoffs may make this feel like the first run of many for the Golden Knights, but not for Neal who is on the last year of his contract and came tantalizingly close to the Cup last season. He will play like there is no tomorrow because, for him, there may not be in Vegas.

3. Andre Burakovsky: Burakovsky was one of the heroes of Game 7 with two goals to put away the Tampa Bay Lightning. That marked just the latest peak in a career full of peaks and valleys for the young winger. Just two games before, Burakovsky was a healthy scratch and spoke to the media about his plans to speak with a sports psychologist in the offseason.

The talent is there and it certainly appears that the injury that kept him out earlier in the playoffs is largely behind him. Burakovsky’s issues have always been mainly between the ears. In a series against a fast team with strong depth, he can be an absolutely critical piece for the Caps. Hopefully, his Game 7 performance gave him the confidence he needs to continue to be effective.

4. Ryan Reaves: Vegas acquired both Reaves and Tomas Tatar around the trade deadline. If I were to tell you that through three rounds of the playoffs, both players were healthy, had played the same number of games (6) and had the same number of points (1), you’d think I was crazy. Yet, here we are.

Reaves was largely an afterthought in a complicated trade between Vegas, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators, but he has carved a nice role for himself on the Golden Knights’ fourth line and even scored the goal that sent Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final against the Winnipeg Jets.

Reaves is also an agitator on the ice, but what do the Caps do against a player like that when their normal fighter plays on the top line? We may see Reaves and Wilson come to blows this series, but it won't be very often because that is a bad tradeoff for the Caps.

5. Brooks Orpik: The elder statesman of the blue line, Orpik is the only player on the Caps with a Stanley Cup to his name and is the only one who has any idea what this experience is going to be like for the team.

Orpik is very diligent about keeping in shape which has allowed him to play in 81 games this season and all 19 playoff games despite being 37 years old, but you do have to wonder how much is left in the tank. Despite being the favorite whipping boy for the proponents of analytics, his physical play has been effective this postseason. The focus he placed on the skating in the offseason has paid dividends so far in matchups against the speedy Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Golden Knights will be the fastest team they have played yet. There is no denying Orpik is much more suited towards a physical style of game. Wil he continue to be effective or will Vegas exploit the Caps' third defensive pairing?

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

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Capitals vs. Golden Knights Game 1 Stanley Cup Final: Date, Time, TV Channel, Livestrem

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Capitals vs. Golden Knights Game 1 Stanley Cup Final: Date, Time, TV Channel, Livestrem

The wait is finally over. 

After two decades, the Capitals are back in the Stanley Cup Final. 

After a convincing 4-0 win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Capitals are in Vegas to take on the Golden Knights. They'll be facing off against a handful of familiar names, with former Caps GM George McPhee, fan favorite Nate Schmidt, and ex-Penguins goalie Marc Andre-Fluery are just a few of the names that'll be suiting up for Vegas. 

What will the X-factors in the series be? Who will be the unexpected heroes of Game 1? The action is almost underway, and here are all the details you need to know.

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

WHEN IS GAME 1 OF THE CAPITALS-GOLDEN KNIGHTS SERIES?

Game 1 of the Capitals-Golden Knights 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final takes place on Monday, May 28 at 8:00 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.

WHAT TV CHANNEL IS GAME 1 OF THE CAPITALS-GOLDEN KNIGHTS SERIES ON?

The TV broadcast of Game 1 between the Capitals and Golden Knights is on NBC. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

5:00 p.m. — Caps Cup Preview
6:00 p.m. — Caps GameDay Live
6:30 p.m. — Caps Face Off
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Game 1 Capitals vs. Golden Knights
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM CAPITALS vs. GOLDEN KNIGHTS GAME 1?

Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Golden Knights is available for online stream on the NBC Sports App. Click here for the NBC Sports live stream page.

CAPITALS vs. GOLDEN KNIGHTS GAME 1 OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals digital producer JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.