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Capitals GM MacLellan talks Holtby contract, future

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Capitals GM MacLellan talks Holtby contract, future

Shortly after reaching an agreement on a five-year, $30.5 million contract for 25-year-old goaltender Braden Holtby, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan joined a conference call with reporters to discuss the arbitration process, his thoughts on Holtby, and how today’s signing impacts the future of restricted free agent Marcus Johansson.

Here are some highlights from the conference call:

On what led to an agreement before an arbitrator’s ruling:

I think the arbitration process kind of forced both parties to look differently at how they were viewing the valuation part. It became a little easier to negotiate the final number after that process. The arbitration process for the goalies, I think, is a difficult one because there are limited comparables and some of the contracts are a little awkward and some (like Sergei Bobrovsky’s four-year, $29.7 million extension) are signed in midseason. It’s hard to get an apples-to-apples comparison. I think we were kind of close, we got apart, and then the arb process helped solidify numbers for both parties.

On why the contract is structured with Holtby earning $6.5 million next season ($3.5 million base salary, $3 million signing bonus), $7 million in Years 2 and 3, and $5 million in Years 4 and 5:

Their side wanted to front-load it a bit. That was a request by them, a priority of theirs, and we accommodated them in that way.

On the value of Holtby to the Capitals:

He’s a big part of it. You see what he accomplished last year and the affect he had on our team. He’s a perfect fit for what we think we have. He fits well with his teammates. He fits well with the defensemen. The coaches like him. He’s a good teammate, a good person and I think he’s just touching the surface of what he can become. I mean, he’s a 25-year-old goalie that’s just starting to get to the level. I know he has the right attitude and the right work ethic. Obviously we think we have a chance to win a championship with him. We committed to him for five years. I think the certainly of having him in our lineup over the next – whatever window we have    to win a championship – is why we’re excited about signing him today.

On if Holtby’s game is at a level comparable to other goalies making similar money (he ranks seventh in average salary):

I don’t know if I’d call it elite. It’s above average, definitely. I mean, he’s top 10 in wins (41) and goals-against (2.22) and save percentage (.923) and shutouts (9). I think he has potential to be top five, top two.

On if the two sides were set on five years:

Yeah, I think. We went there right away. At times we were looking at four-year deals and six-year deals. It went back and forth. Five was a number in between and both parties felt comfortable with it.

On concerns it would go to a ruling on Saturday:

I don’t know about concerned. I think we were comfortable with where we had him values. We were OK with taking a one-year deal. Our preference was the five years, but it was important for us to get a number that worked for us for five years.

On Holtby playing a club record 73 games last season:

Obviously, it proved he can handle a workload, which is a challenging thing. I think his ability to handle that workload, the ability to compete at that level. The way he handled the playoffs, I think he turned it up a notch and took his game to another level. I think everything that’s gone on this past season solidified our confidence in him to give him a five-year deal.

On Holtby’s development over the years, from a fourth-round draft pick in 2008 (93rd overall) to a No. 1 goalie:

I think he’s been pretty consistent in what he’s done. He’s always been competitive in more of a quiet way, a work ethic way. You can tell it matters to him. He’s a good team guy. All the values he shows now he’s always had. I think there’s probably been some inconsistencies, and I think there’s also been some inconsistencies with our team, too, that affect what’s gone on with him. He’s been a big part of what we’ve had going on both good and bad through the years. Like I said, he’s 25 years old and he continues to get better.

On, with $4.2 million in cap space, what he anticipates with Marcus Johansson, who has an arbitration hearing set for Wednesday in Toronto:  

Same sort of process. As we get closer and both parties go through their arbitration process, I think you get a better feeling for the value of the player. Hopefully we can come to an agreement before then but again, we’re willing to go through the whole process and keep negotiating. I think (contract talks) are status quo from last time.

MORE CAPITALS: Holtby gave up short-term money for long-term security

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Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

When the Capitals take the ice in Game 6, they will be playing for their playoff lives. After losing Game 5 on Saturday to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Caps must win on Monday or their season will be over.

In order to do that, the Caps will have to change some things. First, they have to figure out how to win at home, something they have yet to do in this series. Second, they will have to find a way to get to Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy who has been dominant the past three games. Alex Ovechkin also needs to win the matchup against the fourth line since he has only two five-on-five points through five games. Finally, the defense will have to be better. Matt Niskanen took the blame for Game 5, but really it was a tough night all around.

Also, a few penalty calls against Tampa Bay would be nice too.

Where: Capital One Arena

When: 8:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Lightning, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBCSN

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Lightning Game 6 on NBC Sports' live stream page.

WHEN IS GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING PLAYOFF SERIES?

Game 6 of the Capitals vs. Lightning 2018 NHL Playoff series takes place on Monday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. at Capital One Arnea.

WHAT CHANNEL IS GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING ON?

The TV broadcast of Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is on NBCSN. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 on NBCSN
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING SERIES?

Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is available to stream online on Monday, May 21 live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING?

Capitals projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Devante Smith-Pelly -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Lightning projected lines:

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller
Chris Kunitz - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Andrei Vasilevskiy starts with Louis Domingue as backup.

CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING GAME 6 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 correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final

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USA TODAY Sports

George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Ryan Reaves scored the winning goal, Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves and the Vegas Golden Knights pushed their remarkable expansion season into the Stanley Cup Final, beating the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday in Game 5 of the Western Conference final.

Alex Tuch also scored for the Knights. They lost Game 1 in Winnipeg before winning four straight to become the first expansion team since the 1968 St. Louis Blues -- when the six initial expansion teams were put alone in the West -- to get to the final.

Vegas will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Washington Capitals in the final. Tampa Bay leads the Eastern Conference final 3-2, with Game 6 set for Monday night in Washington.

Josh Morrissey scored for the Jets, and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves.

Reaves, the bruising Winnipeg native acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins before to the trade deadline in February, snapped a 1-1 tie with 6:39 left in the second period when he tipped Luca Sbisa's point shot past Hellebuyck for his first goal of the playoffs.

Winnipeg got a power play early in the third, but couldn't muster much of anything. The Knights smothered much of the Jets' attack for the next 10 minutes, with Hellebuyck having to come up with big stops on William Karlsson and Eric Haula to keep his team within one.

The Jets pressed with under 4 minutes to go, with Fleury stopping captain Blake Wheeler on the doorstep, but it wasn't nearly enough as the Knights closed out their third straight series on the road.

The Jets beat the Knights 4-2 in Game 1, but Vegas snatched home ice with a 3-1 victory in Game 2 before picking up 4-2 and 3-2 wins at T-Mobile Arena.

The Knights, whose jaw-dropping inaugural 109-point campaign included a Pacific Division crown, swept the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, and knocked out the San Jose Sharks in six games.

The Jets had the NHL's second-best record with 114 points in the regular season. They advanced to the first conference final in city's history with a five-game victory over the Minnesota Wild in the opening round before topping the Presidents' Trophy-winning Nashville Predators in Game 7 on the road.

The usual raucous, white-clad crowd at Bell MTS Place -- not to mention the thousands of fans outside the arena attending a street party on a sun-drenched spring afternoon -- were silenced just 5:11 into Game 5 when Tuch jumped on Morrissey's turnover and fired his sixth past Hellebuyck.

The Jets were tentative to start and it got worse after the opener as Vegas dominated the next couple of shifts, forcing some good saves from Hellebuyck before Winnipeg got its feet moving.

After being outshot 7-1 in the first 7 minutes, the Jets finally pushed back and turned the tide with the next nine attempts on goal, culminating with Morrissey making amends for his early gaffe with 2:46 left in the period.

Bryan Little won a faceoff in the offensive zone straight back to second-year defenseman, who blasted his first career playoff goal past Fleury's glove.

One of Winnipeg's downfalls in the series through four games was an inability to maintain momentum. The Knights scored within 1:28 of a Jets' goal in each of the first four games -- a crushing 12 seconds after Winnipeg tied Game 3, and an equally gut-wrenching 43 seconds after the Jets knotted Game 4 -- but they managed to take the game to the locker rooms tied 1-1.

Both teams had chances in the second period before Reaves made it 2-1, with Jets center Mathieu Perrault just missing on a pass from Little that had too much speed.

Right after Reaves scored the second playoff goal of his career -- and first since 2015 with St. Louis -- Winnipeg's Nikolaj Ehlers rang a shot off the post on Fleury.

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