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Ovechkin: 'I don't care what everybody thinks'


Ovechkin: 'I don't care what everybody thinks'

Alex Ovechkin plays the game of hockey like an untamed bull, so it should come as no surprise that on Tuesday he did not back down from his prediction that the Capitals would come back to win their playoff series against the New York Rangers with a victory in Game 7 Wednesday night in New York.

“Like I said, we’re going to New York and finish out the series,” Ovechkin said. “That’s what I mean. I don’t care what everybody thinks, to be honest with you. I care about what we think here in the group and as a team. You guys can think whatever you want.”

Ovechkin’s bold statement after the Caps’ 4-3 loss in Game 6 Sunday night surely will be used as motivation for the Rangers, who have won five consecutive Game 7s and are 6-0 all-time in Game 7s at Madison Square Garden. The Capitals are 3-5 in Game 7s during the Ovechkin era and he has just two goals in those eight games.


On Monday Capitals coach Barry Trotz said he “loved” Ovechkin’s show of confidence and on Tuesday his teammates agreed.

“Everyone in here believes that,” said center Nicklas Backstrom. “He just said it from the heart. It’s perfect.”

In his eight career Games 7s Ovechkin has just two goals, none since scoring against the Penguins in 2009. In this series, the Rangers have held Ovechkin in check since he scored a highlight reel goal in Game 2, keeping him off the scoreboard for four straight games. Ovechkin hasn’t gone five games without a goal since October.

This will also be the eighth Game 7 for Backstrom and defenseman Mike Green. Backstrom has one goal and one assist in Game 7s, while Green has one assist.

“Everybody in this room wants to win tomorrow,” said Backstrom, who has not recorded a point in this series since assisting on Joel Ward’s last-second game-winner in Game 1. “I feel like that’s been the scenario all season. We’re looking forward to this for the whole season and we don’t want it to end tomorrow. We’re ready for Game 7 and we’re going to show why we’re a good team.”

Green, who is in the final year of his contract with the Capitals and could be playing in his last game in a Washington jersey, said there is something different about the makeup of this Capitals team and he expects it to show on Wednesday night.

“There’s an opportunity here,” he said. “We want to create something special. It’s been a lot of fun and it’s not over yet.”

Each team has won a game in the other’s building in the series and each of the Rangers’ 11 playoff games have been decided by one goal.

“Home or away, it seems like it doesn’t really matter in this series,” Backstrom said. “I mean, it’s two good teams battling and every game has been decided by one goal. It’s a battle out there and it’s going to be that way tomorrow.”

As for the pressures that come with making a bold prediction after blowing a 3-1 series lead, Ovechkin said anything and anyone can make a difference in a Game 7.

“Right now, it’s not about one person,” Ovechkin said. “It’s all about the group of guys that are going to be out there. Of course, everybody can make a difference. I don’t think me, Backy, Greenie, [Troy] Brouwer played the last two games the way we can play. It’s good for us because this is the time. Everybody can pull the line and be better.

“Mistakes, good plays, luck, unluck,” Ovechkin said. “We’ll just go in there and concentrate for three periods, maybe four, maybe five. Whatever it takes.”

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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.