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Joe B offers words of advice for Caps ahead of Game 3 against Pens

Joe B offers words of advice for Caps ahead of Game 3 against Pens

The Capitals knew that their series against the Penguins was not going to be easy.

After losing games 1 and 2 at home, it is time for them to refocus in Pittsburgh. Caps play-by-play announcer Joe Beninati joined the Sports Junkies on Monday, ahead of Game 3, to offer some words of advice to the team.

"What you have to do now is park what happened in the first two games. Use whatever fancy terminology you want, compartmentalize it. All you focus on is one singular game. So game three is in Pittsburgh, very difficult place to win, but I believe in this teams ability level to produce a big game and to produce better than they did in the first two."

 Beninati went on to say:

"I think so much of this fellas, is in their minds, I think it's in their heads. And they try so desperately to beat this particular team. This is their archrival, their nemesis. They try so hard that they don't allow themselves to play to their best abilities. In the first period the other night in Game 2, I thought they could be world leaders. You coulda' put any hockey team on the ice in front of them and for whatever reason whether it be Marc-Andre Fleury, and I'm sure we'll get into that and more, they didn't come away with a lead. And this Pittsburgh bunch, a championship caliber squad, is so opportunistic that when you over-extend....they burn you."

So how do the Caps get over this mind game? Beninati used a simple quote, 

"Don't try harder, try easier. These are all words. You can sit there [and say], 'Joe it's a bunch of mumbo jumbo,' but it's all in the minds. Relax and let your ability level come to the top."

MORE CAPITALS: A DAY AFTER PULLING BRADEN HOLTBY, BARRY TROTZ COMMITS TO HIM FOR GAME 3

 

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Alex Ovechkin touches Prince of Wales Trophy, stupid curses be damned

Alex Ovechkin touches Prince of Wales Trophy, stupid curses be damned

Since the time when people were naming trophies things like "The Prince of Wales Trophy," there have been superstitions about not touching the hardware. Here's the explanation behind it, via Wikipedia:

"A superstition that is prevalent among many of today's NHL players is that no player should either touch or hoist the Wales (Eastern Conference champion) or Clarence S. Campbell (Western Conference champion) Trophies after they have won the conference playoffs; these players feel that the Stanley Cup is the true championship trophy and thus it should be the only trophy that they should be hoisting."

Now, obviously, this is stupid for a thousand different reasons. The Caps just clinched their spot in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 20 years - grab the trophy. 

Alex Ovechkin had no time for century-old superstitions: 

Always remember, curses and superstitions are dumb. Ovechkin knows this, and now you do too. 

MORE CAPITALS: 

Caps headed to Cup: First Cup Final in 20 years
Wilson throws hands: Is not to be messed with
Ovi and the Cup: 13 years in the making

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3 stars of the game: Burakovsky's big night propels Caps to the Stanley Cup Final

3 stars of the game: Burakovsky's big night propels Caps to the Stanley Cup Final

For just the second time in franchise history, the Capitals are Eastern Conference Champions. They will play the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup FInal after a dominant 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Alex Ovechkin gave the Capitals the lead just 62 seconds into the game. It was a lead they would never relinquish as Braden Holtby recorded his second consecutive shutout.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final will be Monday in Las Vegas.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Andre Burakovsky: It's been a rough year for Burakovsky, but all that was erased on Wednesday with his brilliant two-goal performance to lead the Caps.

The Caps were clinging to a 1-0 lead in the second period, but the Lightning were buzzing, outshooting the Caps 8-1. They had all the momentum until Burakovsky stole a bouncing puck from Dan Girardi and fired a quick shot far-side for the beautiful goal.

Burakovsky added a second goal later in the second as John Carlson banked a pass off the boards to launch him on a breakaway. Burakovsky coolly shot it through the open five-hole of Vasilevskiy to make it 3-0.

It's incredible to think that Burakovsky had not recorded a point yet this postseason prior to Game 7, was a healthy scratch for Game 5 and was talking about seeing a sports psychologist over the summer after the morning skate for Game 6.

2. Braden Holtby: The goaltending for much of the series was Andrei Vasilevskiy who led Tampa Bay's comeback in the series with his phenomenal netminding. He was outplayed in the most important games by Holtby, however, who recorded shutouts in both Game 6 and Game 7. The last goal the Lightning scored in the series came 33 seconds into the second period of Game 5. That's 139:27 of continuous play and 60 straight saves for Holtby.

Holtby was phenomenal in Game 7 with big save after big save as the Lightning pushed to tie. His biggest save came in the second period when he denied Alex Killorn on the breakaway. The score was just 2-0 at that point.

This marks just the fifth time a goalie has recorded a shutout in Game 6 and Game 7 in a playoff series.

3. Alex Ovechkin: It took Ovechkin just 62 seconds to put the Capitals ahead and it turned out to be the goal that sent Washington to the Stanley Cup Final. How fitting for it to be Ovechkin to score the game-winner?