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USC's title hopes undone partly by penalties

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USC's title hopes undone partly by penalties

LOS ANGELES (AP) Southern California's national championship dreams are dead, and Robert Woods believes it's partly because the Trojans care about each other too much.

Stick with him here: The All-American receiver says pride and team togetherness are why 18th-ranked USC leads the nation in penalties.

When the Trojans (6-2, 4-2 Pac-12) spend too much time sticking up for their teammates with late hits, taunts and other shenanigans, those emotions lead to more mistakes between the whistles, and it all adds up to a bumper crop of penalties - a jaw-dropping 82 of them, in fact.

``I feel like this team has too much pride,'' Woods said. ``It's a brotherhood here. Guys are looking out for each other, (but) you need to play within the rules. We've made dumb mistakes. I retaliated and got a penalty, too.''

It's only one man's theory, but few Trojans can come up with anything better to explain the surprising lack of discipline from a team that had no significant penalty predilections last year. The Trojans committed just 71 penalties last season while going 10-2, but they've already vaulted over that mark with five or six games left in this season.

With No. 2 Oregon coming to the Coliseum on Saturday, the Trojans have run out of time to fix their mistakes before the start of their toughest stretch of the season. They've still got a sizable shot at the Pac-12 title game, but it's getting smaller with each yellow flag.

``SC, we have a reputation of being a nasty bunch or whatever,'' linebacker Dion Bailey said. ``We go a step too far on some plays, and the referees aren't cutting us any break.''

USC has been pushed back 677 yards by its penalties - a bit of a contrast from FBS-leading Navy, which has just 28 penalties for 213 yards. The Trojans' 10.25 penalties per game are significantly more than 119th-place Florida International's 8.56 per game.

USC coach Lane Kiffin and his staff have received much of the fans' criticism for his players' lack of discipline, despite weekly sessions rehashing those lapses on film.

``It's not a street fight,'' Kiffin said. ``It's a game, and there's rules within that. A lot of them have the mentality where they're trained to protect their brother, and that's cost us in a lot of situations.''

A week after Kiffin said he hoped the Trojans had ``hit rock-bottom'' in the penalty department with 10 penalties for 90 yards in a blowout win over Colorado, USC committed 13 penalties for 117 yards last weekend in the 39-36 loss at Arizona that knocked them out of the national title race and endangered their chances of playing in the Pac-12 title game.

``I'm completely shocked that we would still be having these conversations at this point,'' Kiffin said. ``Sometimes you have them in the first couple of weeks with newer players or guys making mistakes, but to see the same ones over and over is really disappointing. It cost us the game (at Arizona), on top of all the plays we could have made.''

USC has been penalized for at least 65 yards in every game this season. The Trojans have never committed fewer than seven penalties in a game, and they've hit double digits in five of their eight games, including the last four.

``We've got to take within ourselves the fact that we're representing a lot of people out there on the field,'' hard-hitting safety T.J. McDonald said. ``The players that came before us, all the people that are watching us. We don't want to display an undisciplined team.''

Even when the Trojans don't exactly make major mistakes, they're not getting many breaks. McDonald was whistled for a taunting penalty that extended a scoring drive by the Wildcats last weekend, but replays showed his facemask had actually become entangled in the helmet of the aggrieved Arizona player.

``I don't want to go back to it,'' McDonald said. ``I put the team in some bad positions, and I apologized for that. It's unfortunate, but I've just got to keep playing hard and being me.''

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NHL Playoffs 2019: When is Capitals-Hurricanes Game 7? how to watch, date, time, live stream, TV channel

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NHL Playoffs 2019: When is Capitals-Hurricanes Game 7? how to watch, date, time, live stream, TV channel

The Carolina Hurricanes held serve at home in Game 6, beating the Washington Capitals 5-2 to force a Game 7 in their first-round series of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Hurricanes and Capitals each won three games at home, and with the Capitals hosting the Hurricanes in Game 7 on Wednesday, April 24, the defending Stanley Cup champs seem to have the home-ice advantage. The Capitals last faced a Game 7 in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals. Andre Burakovsky scored twice and Braden Holtby pitched a shutout to send the Caps to the Stanley Cup Final.

A win over the Hurricanes at Capital One Arena on Wednesday night send the Capitals to the second round to face off against Barry Trotz and the New York Islanders.

The game time for Game 7 on Wednesday has yet to be announced. 

Capitals vs. Hurricanes Game 7 How to Watch:

What: 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Eastern Conference First Round. Game 7: Washington Capitals vs Carolina Hurricanes
Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Time: TBD.
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To WatchStream pregame and postgame coverage Game 7 of Capitals vs. Hurricanes on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app or tune into NBC Sports Washington.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Don't already have the MyTeams By NBC Sports App? Click to download here and stream the Capitals-Hurricanes live!

Capitals vs. Hurricanes Game 7 TV Schedule:

NBC Sports Washington Daily TV Listing

Tune into Capitals FaceOff Live 90 minutes before Game 7 puck drop, with an extended, 60-minute edition of Caps Pregame Live to follow. After the game, tune in to another extended version of Caps Postgame Live, and Caps Overtime Live, only on NBC Sports Washington.

Capitals vs. Hurricanes Game 7 Injury Report:

Capitals: Michal Kempny (torn hamstring, out for season), T.J. Oshie (broken clavicle, out)

Hurricanes: Andrei Svechnikov (Concussion, day-to-day)

Capitals vs. Hurricanes Game 7 Players to watch: 

Braden Holtby, G, Capitals

Holtby has been stellar in must-win games, but had a poor showing in Game 6. Can he pitch a shutout in Game 7 like he did a year ago? With the defense still figuring itself out, Holtby will need to unleash the beast0

Warren Foegele, F, Hurricanes

Warren Foegele has been a Capitals killer in the playoffs thus far, scoring three times and assisting on two others. If the Hurricanes eliminate the Capitals from the playoffs, it's going to be due in large part to Foegele's efforts.

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Carolina forces Game 7 in controversy-filled win

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Carolina forces Game 7 in controversy-filled win

This series is going seven. The Capitals were not able to close out the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday as a potential game-tying goal in the third period was waved off allowing Carolina to roll to the 5-2 win.

Both teams remain hot at home as the home team has gone 6-0. This game marks the first time the team to score first did not win, however. It also saw the first lead change of the series.

Game 7 will be on Wednesday at Capital One Arena.

Here are six reasons the Hurricanes won.

Warren freakin’ Foegele

Raise your hand if you had Foegele as Carolina’s biggest offensive threat heading into this series.

Foegele was leading the Hurricanes with three goals leading into Game 6 and he scored his fourth in the first period to tie the game at one.

Brett Connolly gave Washington the 1-0 lead just over five minutes into the game, but Foegele tied the game just after a Nic Dowd penalty expired with the Caps trying to clear out the puck. Dougie Hamilton had his shot blocked in the high slot, but Foegele picked it up and fired a shot as he spun around, beating Holtby who was having trouble seeing the puck through all the bodies.

Sebastian Aho gets a stick on Jonas Siegenthaler

Alex Ovechkin gave the Caps the 2-1 lead, but the Hurricanes tied the game less than two minutes into the second period thanks to Aho’s forecheck on Siegenthaler.

Siegenthaler chased down a puck behind the goal line, but was pressured by Aho who got his stick on Siegenthaler’s just as Siegenthaler meant to clear the puck around the boards. Aho picked up the loose puck and found Teuvo Teravainen in the slot for the quick shot and goal.

Two near misses at the end of the second

In Game 4, the Caps dominated the play in second, but gave up a goal late in the period that took the wind out of their sails and proved to be the game-winner for the Hurricanes. We nearly saw a role reversal on Monday as Washington was outplayed in the second frame, but had two great chances in the final 30 seconds in a 2-2 game.

Nicklas Backstrom found John Carlson for a short breakaway. Carlson tried to beat Pert Mrazek 5-hole, but Mrazek stopped it with the pad. A few seconds later, Tom Wilson a Carlson pass that beat Mrazek, but hit the cross-bar to stay out.

A failed clear

It was anyone’s game in the third period when Jordan Staal parked himself right on Braden Holtby’s doorstep and battled with Matt NIskanen. An initial shot was  blocked and Niskanen tried to clear it, but failed as it hit off Brock McGinn. The puck bounced past Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov who came to assist and Staal reached his stick and knocked it beneath Holtby into the net to give Carolina its first lead of the game. That marked the first lead chance in the series.

A controversial no-goal

Washington thought they had tied the game in the third period as Ovechkin came into the crease and knocked a loose puck into the net…at least he thought so. The puck was underneath the pad of Mrazek and Ovechkin caught a piece of the pad as he went for the puck. The goal was waved off immediately.

By rule, a player cannot push the goalie’s pad to push the puck into the net. The contact, whether incidental or not, was enough to have the goal waved off.

Justin Williams

The former Cap and current captain of the Hurricanes was a man possessed on Monday. He was all over Holtby all night long and was a physical pest. He nearly had a goal in the second period when he chipped a breakaway puck over a Holtby poke check, but the goal was waved for a high stick. Williams finally got rewarded in the third period with a deflection goal that bounced through Holtby’s 5-hole and proved to be the knockout punch.

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