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The goals 33 seconds apart by Carlson (21st Dec 18 at 1:40am UTC)
NEWARK Columbus Blue Jackets T-Shirts Authentic , N.J. (AP) The New Jersey Devils are heading into the playoffs for the first time since 2012 and not surprisingly half the roster has never competed in a NHL postseason game.The newbies in the Cup chase include leading scorer Taylor Hall, No. 1 overall pick Nico Hischier, No. 1 goaltender Keith Kinkaid and probably nine of the 20 players expected to be in the starting lineup on Thursday night against the Lightning in the opening game of the first-round series.There are 13 players on the roster who have never played in a Stanley Cup playoff game.New Jersey also has its share of experienced players. Center Brian Boyle has played in 106 playoff games, going to the Finals with the Rangers. Defenseman Sami Vatanen went to the playoffs the past four seasons with Anaheim. Defenseman Ben Lovejoy won a Cup in Pittsburgh.Their advice to the kids has been to embrace the challenge, expect the hockey to be more intense and to enjoy the games.For the young players, most of them are just expecting hockey.”I don’t think you change anything,” forward Blake Coleman said. ”There is a reason teams make the playoffs and there is no reason to venture too far from anything. The only difference is you get a little more familiar with who you are playing.”Coleman said every player in the Devils’ locker room has participated in some type of playoff game throughout their careers, whether it be in juniors, or the minor leagues or even younger.”It’s fun Columbus Blue Jackets Hoodies Authentic ,” said Coleman, who had 13 goals in his first full NHL season. ”It’s always going to be pressure games. It’s going to be no different than what we played in the last 15 when they were all must-win games down the stretch and we found ways to be successful.”Will Butcher, who set a team rookie record for a defenseman with 44 points, said being a part of a playoff team is fun. He enjoyed practice on Wednesday when the Devils opened the workout to fans.”I am not going to expect different,” Butcher said. ”It might be, but for me this is just a hockey game. You go out, you prepare, you play and do all the things you have done all season long and be ready to go. That’s our mindset as a team. We’re going into play another hockey game.”Butcher said his approach to the series is viewing each game as a one-game series. First to four advances.Veteran goaltender Cory Schneider, who played in three series with the Canucks before being traded to New Jersey in a draft-day deal in 2013 Columbus Blue Jackets Hats Authentic , said the intensity is higher in playoff games.”It seems like every single play matters and it does,” Schneider said. ”You also have to keep perspective that no matter what happens whether you win a game or lose one, it’s on to the next one. You can’t get caught up in the mood swings.”Defenseman Mirco Mueller was around the playoffs with the San Jose Sharks, but never got into a game.”I have seen the intensity and the level it is played at, so that might help a little,” said Mueller, who moved into the starting lineup in the past month. ”It will be new and there is a lot of noise around it, the first round starting. I guess it will just be hockey once it starts, with a lot more at stake.”Hischier can’t wait for the playoffs. The 19-year-old Swiss center who had 20 goals and 52 points in his rookie season Custom Columbus Blue Jackets Jerseys , said the Devils can play with anyone if they play their game.”We’re hungry for more right now,” he said. ”It’s fun to be in there (the playoffs), but now we want more.”— WASHINGTON (AP) Jakub Vrana came to the rink expecting to play on the Capitals‘ third line again. He left as a top-liner on top of the world.Vrana made the most of his promotion to the top line alongside Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, setting up the tying goal and scoring the Game 5 winner as Washington beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 Saturday night to take a 3-2 lead in the second-round series and put the back-to-back defending Stanley Cup champions on the brink of elimination.After replacing an ineffective Devante Smith-Pelly on the top line, the 22-year-old rookie sprung Kuznetsov on the breakaway that tied the score early in the third period and took a pass from Ovechkin and scored the go-ahead goal with 4:38 left to send a fired-up crowd into a frenzy. Vrana made Barry Trotz look like a genius for bumping him up the lineup but wasn’t expecting to be his coach’s plan B.”That’s just how the game rolls,” said Vrana, who also assisted on Brett Connolly’s first-period goal to give him three points. ”Sometimes you’re gonna make changes. Today we did. We were all ready. I felt comfortable out there. Ready for next game.”That next game, Monday night in Pittsburgh, is the Capitals’ chance to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in the Ovechkin era and for the first time overall since 1998 when they lost in the Cup Final. They may have to do it without star center Nicklas Backstrom www.officialstarsproonline.com , who left in the third period with an upper-body injury that Trotz said the team will have more information on Sunday.With Backstrom unable to play the final 13 minutes, Lars Eller double-shifted and Vrana looked like a perfect fit with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov. The Capitals are on the verge of beating Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins for the first time in four playoff series dating to 2009 on the strength of top-end scoring and goaltending from Braden Holtby, who stopped 36 of the 39 shots he faced.”Obviously Holts right now playing unbelievable,” Ovechkin said. ”He’s a big wall over there. When he play like that, it give us confidence.”Confidence isn’t lacking on either side. The Capitals hope they can build off an emotional victory, and the Penguins will try to win their fourth consecutive Game 6 after falling behind 3-2 in a series.”Your desperation level is a little higher,” said Crosby, who scored his ninth goal of the playoffs. ”You’re aware of the situation Dallas Stars T-Shirts Authentic , and that brings out the best in everybody. We knew it was going to be a tight series. We need to make sure we leave it all out there, give ourselves a chance to get back here.”The Capitals ensured at least one more home game this postseason with goals by John Carlson and Connolly 33 seconds apart in the first period and a rebound effort in the third after being outshot 18-5 in the second. Pittsburgh got goals from Jamie Oleksiak at even strength and Crosby and Patric Hornqvist on the power play, often hanging goalie Matt Murray out to dry as he allowed four on 30 shots.Kuznetsov’s goal brought out his bird-flapping celebration and awakened a crowd that booed the Capitals at the end of the second period. Vrana’s goal was followed by deafening chants of ”Lets’ Go Caps!” at the next timeout, among the loudest in the building over Washington’s decade-long run of contention.”Tonight was one of those games where we needed to earn it from our fans,” Holtby said. ”They probably think `Here we go again’ and we’re not thinking that. We’re thinking we’re pushing forward, we’re focusing on the moment and hopefully we gave them belief with that third period because this group in here believes in ourselves.”NOTES: T.J. Oshie and Eller each scored an empty-netter in the final minutes to ice it. … Trotz said Carlson was being evaluated after taking a high hit from Jake Guentzel late in the third period. … The goals 33 seconds apart by Carlson and Connolly were the second-fastest in Capitals playoff history behind Craig Laughlin and Dave Christian (32 seconds) in 1984. … Crosby took sole possession of second place on the Penguins’ all-time playoff goals list with his 66th, breaking a tie with Jaromir Jagr. Crosby is 10 shy of Mario Lemieux for the most in franchise history. … Carlson is 36th defenseman in history and third active with 10-plus power-play points in the playoffs. No defenseman has reached 11 power-play points in the postseason since Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Gonchar in 2009.—
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