In a game that didn’t feel much like the postseason Clay Matthews Packers Jersey , the Washington Capitals gave future playoff opponents fair warning about how they handle tight games.
Outshot by a team eliminated from contention, Washington stayed close before tying it late and beating the New York Rangers 3-2 in overtime on Wednesday night. Braden Holtby stopped 35 of 37 shots, Lars Eller forced overtime and Evgeny Kuznetsov won it to push the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals closer to their fourth consecutive playoff appearance.
Even if it wasn’t the kind of showing the Capitals would like to have come playoff time, Eller’s goal with 1:50 left and Kuznetsov’s 38 seconds into overtime showed what they could do when it matters.
”I think we play better when it’s close,” Holtby said. ”With our skill, I think it forces us to turn things on late in the game and I think guys take that as a challenge. That’s I think a reason why you can see us bring it to a next level to try and force the other team into feeling a bit of panic and open up space.”
There was little panic in the Rangers, who were playing their first game with no playoff implications since 2004 LeSean McCoy Jersey , and they turned that looseness into a 37-33 shot advantage. Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves and Kevin Hayes and Ryan Spooner scored, but New York lamented a defensive miscue on Eller’s goal that let the game slip away.
”So frustrating,” Lundqvist said after his first game with no hope of playoffs in his NHL career. ”When you’re tied up that late after playing so hard and doing so many good things, it doesn’t matter where you are in the standings, you want to win games and sit in here and feel good about a win. They came back and got it. It bothers me.”
After the Capitals came back and got two valuable points, they can clinch with help around the league or by picking up a point Friday at home against Carolina. There are lower expectations on Washington this year after back-to-back Presidents’ Trophies and second-round exits, but Holtby said making the playoffs was a goal at the start of the season.
It’s within reach now.
”It’s the first step on the way Aaron Rodgers Packers Jersey ,” Eller said. ”We want to win our division and go into the playoffs on a high note.”
Holtby looks like he could be heading into the playoffs on a high note after almost two months of struggles and a minor lower-body injury. He would have liked to stop Spooner’s third-period goal on a shot that beat him clean, but with a question of whether Holtby or Philipp Grubauer will start, it helped that the 2016 Vezina Trophy winner finally looks like his normal self again.
”I felt comfortable,” Holtby said. ”It’s something I’m not used to – not playing much. The stamina and such was a little different than I was used to, but it felt good to go out there and just get to work and play in a high-intensity game.”
There are many more high-intensity games to come for the Capitals, who can soon exhale about making the playoffs and prepare for the next step.
”The NHL how it is, it doesn’t really matter where you are in the standings Blake Martinez Jersey Youth ,” Holtby said. ”The guys should be proud. We should be proud we’re in a position like that.”
NOTES: Rangers assistant Lindy Ruff missed the game after hitting his head on the ice at practice Thursday. Coach Alain Vigneault said Ruff was hospitalized and diagnosed with a concussion but was in good spirits and expected to be back with the team in a few days. … F Shane Gersich, a 2014 fifth-round pick who signed with Washington last week after his season at North Dakota ended, made his NHL debut. … Pheonix Copley backed up Holtby because Grubauer felt a ”tweak” in the Capitals’ game at the Rangers on Tuesday, according to coach Barry Trotz.
Rangers: Return home to face the playoff-bound Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night.
Capitals: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick provided his team with a football history lesson before canceling the final two practices of the scheduled organized team activities this week.Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reported the Patriots' facility turned back the clock nearly a century Tuesday for a look at the sport during the Great Depression era. One player told Reiss:"It was cool for him to get a chance to teach us about the sport that we're in, the National Football League and kind of how it started. We got to watch some old clips from football back then鈥攖he '30s and '40s鈥攖hat I had never seen before. I didn't know what type of offenses were run, so it was really neat to see. We even looked at high school football back then, all the way up to NFL."Along with the archived footage Jimmy Garoppolo Jersey Limited , New England sported leather helmets for the offseason practice and eliminated digital clocks for a day to achieve the old-school feel.Belichick said coming into the week he was happy with the team's overall progress despite working with a shorter offseason schedule since the team advanced to Super Bowl LII before losing a thriller against the Philadelphia Eagles.He told reporters:聽"I think we're making progress. We obviously have a long way to go. We'll start getting into some situational football and keep moving things ahead, but I feel like we've got a decent couple weeks."Hopefully we can just keep stringing some good days together this week and get ready by the end of the process, put ourselves in the best position we can to get to training camp. That's really what this is about. Just try to keep stringing them together."His decision to inject a little fun into the proceedings comes after the Patriots' no-nonsense approach to chasing titles came under fire from players outside the organization."They don't have fun there. There's nothing fun about it," San Francisco 49ers defensive end Cassius Marsh, who spent part of last season with the Pats, told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle in May. "There's nothing happy about it. I didn't enjoy any of my time there, you know what I'm saying? It made me for the first time in my life think about not playing football because I hated it that much."Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson referenced New England's success last month when saying: "All these guys talking about 'I'll take the rings.' OK. You can have your rings. You can also have f--king 15 miserable years."On Tuesday Landon Collins Giants Jersey , Belichick showed his players it's possible to keep their eye on the ultimate prize while still having a little fun along the way..