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Caps disagree with call on waved-off goal


Caps disagree with call on waved-off goal

NEW YORK – The Capitals still believe it was a goal.

The game officials, obviously, disagreed.

With 2:08 remaining in the second period of a scoreless game, Joel Ward parked himself in front of Henrik Lundqvist and got into a bit of a shoving match with Rangers center Derek Stepan. While they were tussling in front of the goal crease, Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen cranked a shot from the point.

The shot appeared to hit Ward in the shoulder and the puck popped into the air and landed in the net, a few feet away from Lundqvist, who had been bumped out of his crease by Ward.

Despite Ward’s celebratory leap and a loud cheer from the Caps bench, referee Kevin Pollock immediately waved off the goal.

“They just said there was incidental contact,” Caps coach Barry Trotz said after the Caps’ 2-1 overtime loss, which sends the second-round series back to Washington for a critical Game 6 at Verizon Center. “We felt that obviously, he was pushed in [by Stepan]. They made the call and that was it. We just deal with it and move on.

“On that one, I felt two things: that Lundqvist came outside the blue [paint] and engaged a little bit of contact, and then Ward was pushed in.”

RELATED: Alan May weighs in on controversial negated Ward goal

The series’ designated officiating manager, former NHL referee Rob Shick,  said he supported Pollock’s on-ice ruling. Since incidental contact is a non-reviewable matter, the NHL war room in Toronto was not consulted on the play.

“The goaltender wasn't allowed to play his position in the crease,” Shick said. “Incidental contact [by Ward]. I support the call. Results in no goal, no penalty."

The Caps nearly scored minutes after the non-goal, with Lundqvist stopping Jason Chimera on another deceptive pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov from behind the net.

“The guys did a good job of bouncing back from that,” Caps defenseman Karl Alzner said, “because it can be frustrating having a goal that gets disallowed. But we stuck with it.”

Special teams play: The Rangers and Capitals went 0-for-2 on the power play in Game 5. The Caps are now 1-for-8 on the man-advantage in the series and 3-for-21 in the playoffs. The Rangers are 1-for-11 in the series and 4-for-31 in the playoffs.

Slowing Ovechkin: New York defensemen Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh did an excellent job on Alex Ovechkin, holding him to just two shots on goal. Ovechkin had six more attempts blocked and one miss the net in Game 5. He has not scored since his incredible individual effort resulted in a goal in Game 2.

Faceoffs more even: After the Caps dominated the faceoff circle in Game 4, the Rangers were much better in Game 5, winning 48 percent of the draws. Nicklas Backstrom won 11 of 22 faceoffs, while Jay Beagle won 10 of 18.

By the numbers: The Caps are now 3-10 in series-clinching games. They are also 3-8 in Game 5s when leading a series 3-1. Of the 10 times the Caps have held a 3-1 series lead, they are 6-4. But when they’ve led a series 3-1 and lose Game 5, they are 3-4..   

Look ahead: The Caps have scheduled a 12:30 p.m. practice at Kettler on Saturday. They have not practiced since an optional skate on Tuesday.

MORE CAPITALS: Glencross accepts responsibility for game-ending mistake

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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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.