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COLUMBUS Jakub Voracek Jersey Kids , Ohio (AP) After dropping the first two playoff games at home in overtime, the Washington Capitals picked up momentum that only got stronger as they took down the Columbus Blue Jackets in four straight.Now they’ll strive to keep the intensity high as they advance to a second-round rematch with the Pittsburgh Penguins.The Capitals, who manhandled the Blue Jackets 6-3 on Monday to cap the opening round series, are looking to avenge second-round playoff losses to Pittsburgh in each of the past two seasons.”I can’t wait to take a step forward,” said Washington star forward Alex Ovechkin, who had two goals on Monday, including his 50th playoff tally. ”They know how to play, they know the pressure. It’s a huge series for us.”Goaltender Braden Holtby relieved a struggling Philipp Grubauer in Game 2 and was great the rest of the way. He had 35 saves Monday in a game in which his team was outshot 38-28. Fifteen of the saves were in the third period when the desperate Blue Jackets turned up the heat.”(He’s) been fantastic,” Ovechkin said. ”He’s stepping up big-time. He’s top goalie in the league, and he showed it today and he showed it in the series.”For his part Youth Jordan Weal Jersey , Washington coach Barry Trotz wasn’t ready to talk about Pittsburgh yet after a taut opening-round series.”Please let me breathe,” he said. ”We haven’t taken a breath since this started.”Chandler Stephenson had a goal and an assist, and Dimitry Orlov, Devante Smith-Pelly and Lars Eller also scored Monday for Washington, which never trailed in OT in Game 5 on Saturday. The Capitals won each of the three games in Columbus.One of the stories for Washington was its ability to defend Columbus’ power play. After the Blue Jackets went 4 for 8 with a man advantage in the first two games, the Caps held them to 0 for 16 in the last four. Meanwhile, Washington took good advantage of Columbus penalties, scoring on the power play in each of the six games.”I think going into the year there wasn’t a lot of people who said we would finish first in the Metro, and we did that,” Trotz said. ”And it’s just creating a pretty consistent culture Scott Laughton Jersey , and it’s having good players too. It was a tremendous test for us. We didn’t get off to a good start and had to dig ourselves out.”Trotz said he leaned on veterans Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and others to keep the Capitals on an even keel through the tumult of the season.”We’ve had lots of different adversity through this year and in the past, and we’ve grown up a little bit in some ways,” he said. ”We understand that our core group is really, really strong, they believe in each other. We’ve got a lot of young guys in the room. We’ve had to rely on our core to push us forward, and we have.”— GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) After firing coach Alain Vigneault, the New York Rangers have also dismissed two of his top assistants.Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said Monday that associate coach Scott Arniel and Darryl Williams were let go the previous day. Gorton said Lindy Ruff is still on staff and intends to speak with him before deciding on his future.Gorton said the decision to fire Vigneault was made in the last week of the season. The announcement Saturday night came hours after a 5-0 loss at Philadelphia in the season finale.The Rangers went 226-147-37 in five years under Vigneault. They made the playoffs four times Womens Sean Couturier Jersey , reaching the Stanley Cup Final in his initial season in 2014. This season, they finished last in the Metropolitan Division, missing the postseason for the first time since 2010.”AV has been a terrific coach in the league, he’s been a really good coach for the Rangers,” Gorton said. ”After five years we just think it’s time for a change. The players need a new voice and the organization needs a new coach.”Gorton expects to interview five to 10 candidates.”We’ll look anywhere, whether it’s AHL, NHL, wherever we can find the best possible coach going forward,” he said. ”We’re looking for somebody who can help us get back to an identity we want to get back to. We’re looking to go through this process and hear some ideas from some people.”

13-03-2019 22:03
   
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