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    PITTSBURGH (AP) Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have spent their entire careers chasing the Pittsburgh Penguins and shouldering their own franchise’s onerous history of playoff failures.One brilliant end-to-end rush gave the two Washington Capitals teammates and their resilient club something they’ve rarely enjoyed against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions: momentum.Ovechkin knocked his own rebound out of midair and by Matt Murray with 1:07 remaining to lift the Capitals to a 4-3 victory on Tuesday night in Game 3 of their increasingly testy Eastern Conference semifinal series with Pittsburgh.Ovechkin’s initial shot smacked off the far post.The Russian star Authentic Stephen Johns Jersey , however, stayed with the play and with Murray out of position, he deftly flicked it into the open net to give the Capitals a 2-1 series lead.”It’s a good thing I didn’t raise my arms up (after the first shot), you know to (celebrate) the play,” Ovechkin said after scoring his eighth goal of the playoffs. ”Got lucky.”Matt Niskanen, John Carlson and Chandler Stephenson also scored for Washington, which improved to 4-0 on the road in the postseason. Braden Holtby finished with 19 saves. Backstrom had three assists, including the helper on Ovechkin’s winner.”It’s huge, huge goal,” Ovechkin said. ”Obviously for our team Youth Tyler Pitlick Jersey , you know we want to win tonight and we did. It doesn’t matter what, it doesn’t matter who scored. We sacrifice. We play hard. And we have to do the same moving forward.”Game 4 is in Pittsburgh on Thursday night.Jake Guentzel had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist also scored, but the Penguins lost consecutive playoff games for only the fourth time since the start of their run to consecutive Stanley Cups began in 2016.Pittsburgh also lost forward Zach Aston-Reese to a broken jaw and a concussion following a violent collision with Washington’s Tom Wilson at the game’s midway point.Aston-Reese was stickhandling near the Washington bench when Wilson slammed into him, sending the 6-foot-4 Aston-Reese to the ice.Wilson was not penalized on the play, the second time in as many games he was not disciplined for a borderline hit.Pittsburgh defenseman Brian Dumoulin went into the league’s concussion protocol after Wilson blindsided him in Game 2 while Dumoulin was bracing for a collision with Ovechkin.The NHL’s Department of Player safety didn’t ask Wilson to explain himself during a hearing and Dumoulin was back in the lineup to start Game 3.Both teams stressed the need to move forward with so much at stake. But that was before Aston-Reese slowly made his way off the ice, flinging one of his gloves at the Washington bench in frustration, his jaw mangled and his status for the rest of the postseason uncertain.The initial point of contact was hard to discern, even on replay. Was it the shoulders? The head? Either way the tenor changed considerably.Asked afterward about the hit, Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan replied ”at some point we hope the league might do something.”Maybe not. Officials conferred for several minutes before deciding to take no action against Wilson.”They all got together and they said, You know what <a title="Tyler Seguin Jersey" href="http://www.officialstarsproonline.com/authentic-adidas-tyler-seguin-jersey">Tyler Seguin Jersey</a> , we’ve got a good, clean check here,”’ NHL on-site supervisor Paul Devorski said through a pool reporter.Stephenson tied the game shortly after the sequence and a crescendo of pushing, shoving and jawing followed.Crosby put the Penguins back in front with 3:33 left in the second when he took a pretty pass from Guentzel – who occupied three Capitals before sliding the puck to his teammate – and buried it into an open net.Niskanen, who spent four seasons in Pittsburgh before signing with Washington in the summer of 2014, blasted a one-timer by Murray 5:06 into the third to set up the finish.Ovechkin and Backstrom’s two-on-one gave the Capitals the series lead over Washington for the first time since they won Game 1 of the 2016 Eastern Conference semifinal.Of course, the Capitals lost that series. As they almost always do when the Penguins are on the other side of the ice.The champions have proven to be an impossible out during their current reign. Three tight games in, Washington is well aware there’s little margin for error.”It’s a funny game,” Niskanen said. ”Boy, sometimes the puck takes a different bounce and the score can be completely different.”NOTES: Penguins C Evgeni Malkin played 19:07 and assisted on Hornqvist’s goal in his return after missing three games with a lower-body injury. … The Penguins hosted Humboldt Broncos junior hockey player Brayden Camrud <a title="http://www.avalancheshoponline.com/authentic-alexander-kerfoot-jersey" href="http://www.avalancheshoponline.com/authentic-alexander-kerfoot-jersey">http://www.avalancheshoponline.com/authentic-alexander-kerfoot-jersey</a> , a survivor of the bus crash that killed 16 people – many of them teammates – last month. … Pittsburgh F Carl Hagelin skated with his teammates for a second straight day, but remained out of the lineup. Hagelin is dealing with an upper-body injury and has worn a full face shield while on the ice. … Both teams went 1 for 4 on the power play. … Guentzel has recorded a point in seven straight playoff games.— PITTSBURGH (AP) The Washington Capitals kept trying to downplay their own forgettable playoff history, the one pockmarked with disappointment and despair. Still, they couldn’t run from it.No one bore the weight more than Alex Ovechkin. All the goals in the world – and the star forward is at over 600 and counting now – couldn’t take the sting away from the endless cycle of postseason runs that ended far too soon.”It’s so hard to move forward some time,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said. ”It’s always thrown in your face everywhere you turn. I know it’s thrown in Ovi’s face everywhere he turns and he’s a great player in this league.”One who is finally headed to a conference final, with a team few expected to make it this far. The Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for only the third time since the franchise’s inception in 1974 with a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 6 against Pittsburgh on Monday night, a victory secured by Evgeny Kuznetsov’s breakaway 5:27 into the extra period .”It feels like something is over,” Kuzntesov said. ”It’s pretty hard to speak.”Maybe because – for now anyway – Washington’s long-held role as playoff fodder for the Penguins is over. The Capitals beat Pittsburgh in the playoffs for only the second time in 11 tries by playing a disciplined style dictated by Trotz, one that focuses on responsibility at both ends of the ice.The game-winning sequence began with Kuznetsov poking the puck away from Penguins star Sidney Crosby as Crosby tried to enter the Washington zone. The puck made its way to Ovechkin and he threaded a pass to a sprinting Kuznetsov, who beat Matt Murray to spark a celebration two decades in the making.”I don’t want to lie <a title="Womens Carl Soderberg Jersey" href="http://www.avalancheshoponline.com/authentic-carl-soderberg-jersey">Womens Carl Soderberg Jersey</a> , it tastes a little bit better (beating the Penguins),” Kuznetsov said. ”You know, I never focus on the history. I only focus game by game. It feels very nice. You keep playing hockey, it’s unbelievable.”Washington went 1-1-1 against the Lightning in three regular season meetings, the last a 4-2 loss at home on Feb. 20. That was two long months ago, and the team that celebrated in an equal parts joyous and relieved dressing room on Monday night doesn’t look like the one that was still searching for its legs in mid-winter.Injuries forced the Capitals to put together a patchwork lineup that included a handful of rookies, such as Nate Walker, who became the first Australian to record a point in the playoffs when he set up Alex Chiasson’s second-period goal.”We did have our moment in the first period when we saidDo we have five rookies playing tonight?”’ Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said. ”I thought our window had closed and we had an old team and we had five rookies. So our future remains bright and now we just have to focus on the third round.”Washington will do it with a resurgent Braden Holtby. Benched at the start of the playoffs in favor of Philipp Grubauer, Holtby heads to the conference finals playing some of the finest hockey of his career. He stopped 21 of 22 shots in Game 6 and is now 8-3 since Trotz put him back in the lineup.”Obviously everyone knows the difficulties we had getting out of the second round,” Holtby said. ”But that doesn’t make a difference in our main goal. Our main goal is still the Stanley Cup. The third round isn’t the Stanley cup. We have to refocus now. We can enjoy it and use that energy as kind of a recharge for the halfway point and push full force into the next round because it’s going to be a hard test.”One the Capitals believe they’re finally ready to pass. The franchise has only reached the Cup once Gabriel Landeskog Jersey Kids , getting swept by Detroit in 1998, long before Ovechkin, Holtby and Leonsis came on board. This is their best chance at the club, one they’re intent on not squandering.”We set goals every year,” Leonsis said. ”Make the playoffs. First round. Second round. Third round and win a championship. So we’re trying to check them off. It’s almost embarrassing that it’s taken this long for us to get past it.”Now that they have – at last, becoming the first professional team in the nation’s capital to reach a conference final since the ’98 Capitals did it – they’re eager to shed the past. It’s over and done. The future – and the Lightning – await.”We beat the Pittsburgh Penguins today and they’re a hell of a hockey team and we’re only halfway,” Trotz said. ”We haven’t done anything yet.”—

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