Capitals

Washington State-Stanford Preview Capsule

Washington State-Stanford Preview Capsule

Washington State (2-5, 0-4 Pac-12) at No. 19 Stanford (5-2, 3-1), 6:15 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

Line: Stanford by 24 1/2.

Series Record: Stanford leads 36-25-1.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Stanford is trying to stay on the heels of Oregon and Oregon State and stay in control of Pac-12 North Division title hopes. Washington State is still searching for its first conference victory under new coach Mike Leach.

KEY MATCHUP

Stanford offensive line vs. Washington State defensive line. The Cardinal racked up 252 yards rushing in a 21-3 win at rival California last week behind a blossoming young offensive line blocking for senior Stepfan Taylor, who ran for a career-high 189 yards and a touchdown. The Cougars rank second-to-last in the conference in rushing defense, allowing 175.1 yards on the ground per game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Washington State LB Travis Long. The senior has been one of the few consistent bright spots for the Cougars this season. He has 10 tackles for loss and his 7 1/2 sacks are third-best in the Pac-12 and tied for eighth nationally.

Stanford backup QB Kevin Hogan. The redshirt freshman has led a surprising change-of-pace package to Stanford's typical power game. His role running mostly options and read-options has increased each week, and he tossed his first collegiate pass against Cal for a 9-yard touchdown to tight end Levine Toilolo last Saturday.

FACTS & FIGURES

Stanford has won four straight over the Cougars with an average margin of victory of 31 points. ... Taylor (3,616 yards) is 417 yards shy of breaking Darrin Nelson's Stanford career record. ... Washington State has lost four straight games. ... Leach has never faced Stanford. ... A Stanford tight end has led the team in yards receiving in six straight games. ... Stanford has won six straight at home and 17 of its last 18, with the lone loss coming against Oregon last season.

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

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Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

las_vegas-sign-no_caps-stanley_cup_final.jpg
Twitter/City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

The Washington Capitals official #ALLCAPS hashtag started in 2017 during a Caps-Penguins game after the Pittsburgh Penguins' official Twitter account decided to tweet in all lowercase letters during the game. 

Now, as the Caps look to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final ahead of Game 1 Monday, Vegas has followed suit by changing their iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to include only lowercase letters, a jab at the Capitals #ALLCAPS.

Additionally, the City's official Twitter account has changed their handle to "the city of las vegas" without any capital letters and the hashtag #nocaps.

It will be interesting to see how the Capitals' official Twitter will respond...

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