a three-game series o

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by panxing18 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:20 am

Alex Tuch collected the skittering puck with absolutely nothing between him and the tying goal with two minutes left in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Braden Holtby reacted with pure instinct.

Washington’s goalie stretched back and lunged to his right with his stick Kiko Alonso Jersey , thrusting the paddle into the exact 4-inch slot of air through which Tuch’s shot was headed for the net.

”Luckily it hit me,” Holtby said with a shrug.

The Washington goalie’s coaches and teammates weren’t quite so calm about a save that will go down in Capitals history as the key to a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night, evening the series at one game apiece.

The win was the Caps’ first-ever Stanley Cup Final victory – and the save might be a catalyst to even bigger things.

”To me, it was the hockey gods,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said. ”They evened it up from the last game. Great save. You could see the emotion on our bench. Once he made that save, I knew we were going to win the game.”

Holtby made 37 saves, but he got help from earthly sources as well. Alex Ovechkin scored a power-play goal, his first in a Final, Brooks Orpik ended a personal 220-game goal drought with the eventual winner, and Lars Eller added a goal and two assists.

”We refocus and pick each other up and that’s a sign of a good team,” Holtby said. ”That’s one of our strengths.”

Game 3 is Saturday night in Washington. The Caps are just 4-5 at home in the postseason, but they’ll ride a wave of momentum after going into the Golden Knights’ daunting home arena and taking away home-ice advantage in Washington’s first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years.

After getting battered in the Knights’ 6-4 series-opening win, Holtby made several big saves throughout Game 2 Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Jersey , coming up particularly big while Washington killed a 5-on-3 disadvantage for 1:09 earlier in the third period. He capped his energetic performance with that jaw-dropping stick save on Tuch with 1:59 to play.

”Holts just makes the save of the year,” Washington forward Jay Beagle said. ”Maybe the save of a lifetime. It’s unreal.”

The T-Mobile Arena crowd was stunned, but after several months of watching this expansion team push through every obstacle, the Knights couldn’t get around Holtby’s stick.

”Thank God he’s our goalie,” Ovechkin said. ”He’s over there when we need him, and it was probably the save of the year for sure.”

Washington overcame another big blow when it lost leading scorer Evgeny Kuznetsov to an upper-body injury in the first period after a big hit from Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb, but the Caps avoided any hotheaded retaliation and concentrated on a gritty effort that was enough to even the series.

James Neal and Shea Theodore scored and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 23 shots for the upstart Knights, who couldn’t summon their usual clutch magic, even with lengthy man advantages. Thanks to Holtby’s 15 saves, Vegas finally went scoreless in the third for the first time in six periods in this series.

Washington handed the Golden Knights only their second home defeat – the first in regulation – in Vegas’ nine postseason games.

”I think it’s really important that we take a step back and take a deep breath and know that you’re not going to win this series in two games,” Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt said. ”We’re a special group. We can go out and win games on the road. We’ve done it all playoffs.”

So have the Capitals, who improved to 9-3 on the road after two games in this frequently chaotic series.

The Caps have made the playoffs in 13 of 19 seasons since their only other trip to the Final in 1998, but hadn’t managed to get their fans back to the final round until this year. Capital One Arena in downtown Washington was packed with red-clad fans watching Game 2 on the videoboards.

The temperature on the Las Vegas Strip spiked to triple digits in the hours before Game 2 Xavier Rhodes Jersey , likely making it the hottest Final game in NHL history. But the heat didn’t fry the spirits of the fans who filled the plaza next to the arena to capacity before the puck dropped, continuing this gambling mecca’s fanatical support of its first major pro sports team.

Shortly after Neal opened the scoring for Vegas in Game 2, Kuznetsov went straight to the dressing room after absorbing a high check from McNabb. The game immediately took on a nastier tone, and the teams played 4-on-4 hockey moments later after a prolonged scrum led to two penalties.

Trotz gave no postgame update on Kuznetsov’s condition.

”(That hit) galvanized us as a group,” Trotz said. ”This group has learned so much. They’ve gotten so resilient. This group has had everything thrown at them, and they just say, `You know what? We’re going to push on.”’

Washington attacked and evened it shortly afterward with a goal from Eller, who had failed to hit an open net on a rushed play for a potential tying goal late in Game 1.

Washington’s excellent power play finally got a chance early in the second period, and Ovechkin scored a vintage goal with his powerful shot from a sharp angle. The Russian superstar led the NHL with 49 goals in the regular season and added 12 more in the Eastern Conference playoffs before scoring the first Stanley Cup Final goal of his 13-year, 1,121-game NHL career.

The Caps then got a thoroughly unlikely contribution from Orpik, whose deflected shot bounced fortuitously off the ice and beat Fleury. The gr The Kansas City Royals broke out of an extended run-scoring slump by getting to one of the toughest relievers in baseball.

They celebrated in the dugout after eighth-place hitter Adalberto Mondesi lined the first pitch from left-hander Josh Hader off the outfield wall for a long, two-run single with the bases loaded to take a 3-1 lead.

The hit was a turning point in a five-run seventh for the Royals Sheldon Richardson Jersey , who held off the Milwaukee Brewers in the ninth for a 5-4 win on Wednesday.

”Score two runs and you can just kind of sense a sigh of relief from our offense, and then tacked on a couple more. It was good,” manager Ned Yost said.

The Royals scored more than four in a game for the first time since a 9-6 loss to the Angels on June 4. That 19-game stretch with four runs or fewer was the longest in the majors since the Baltimore Orioles went 21 straight in September 1992.

Danny Duffy (4-7) allowed five hits over six effective innings for the Royals, who split a two-game interleague series with the NL Central-leading Brewers.

The Royals called on Wily Peralta, a former Brewer, to close out the game after Brad Miller hit a three-run homer off reliever Tim Hill with nobody out in the ninth to get the Brewers within 5-4.

Eric Thames struck out before pinch-hitter Erik Kratz singled. Peralta then got Ryan Braun to bounce into a game-ending double play that was initially ruled as a fielder’s choice before the call was overturned on review.

Peralta said he felt a little extra sense of satisfaction in turning away the Brewers for his second save.

”There’s always a little bit of adrenaline going when you face your former team,” the right-hander said.

Mike Moustakas opened the seventh with a solo shot off Brent Suter (8-5) to tie the game at 1-all. Moustakas and Whit Merrifield each had two hits and an RBI.

Kansas City, which was hitting .188 in June coming into the game, got to the hard-throwing Hader. He allowed all three runners he inherited to score.

Hader also gave up one earned run on his own, along with two hits in two-thirds of an inning.

”They jumped on the first pitch and we’ve seen that a lot lately, but he’s been so effective that obviously multiple hits in an inning is something we haven’t seen,” manager Craig Counsell said. ”They got him today.”


Brewers: Suter, who made a great defensive play in the fifth Davonte Lambert Jersey , allowed six hits and four runs with six strikeouts before leaving with the bases loaded and nobody out in the seventh. He retired the first 11 batters.

”We’re battling and not really making it easy on our opponents. Even in our losses, we’re making the other team work a lot,” Suter said.

Royals: Duffy struck out seven and walked two. The left-hander has a 2.52 ERA over his past four starts.


Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar hit a solo shot in the sixth off Duffy for his team-leading 18th homer. He has homered in back-to-back games for the fourth time this season.


Royals: RHP Justin Grimm was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 24 with what they club said was right shoulder impingement syndrome. Grimm (1-3), who is making his second trip this year to the DL, would be eligible to return on July 4 against Cleveland. RHP Jason Adam was called up from Triple-A Omaha to replace Grimm in the bullpen. … C Salvador Perez left the game with nobody out and two on in the top of the ninth after a foul ball off the bat of Brad Miller ricocheted off his upper right leg. He was replaced by Drew Butera.

Brewers: 3B Travis Shaw was held out of the lineup for a second straight day to rest his sore right wrist. ”And then tomorrow, we’ll take a hard look at how he’s feeling,” Counsell said.


Royals: After a day off in Seattle, Ian Kennedy (1-7) opens a three-game series on Friday against the Mariners.

Brewers: Junior Guerra (3-5) pitches the opener of a four-game series in Cincinnati. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA at Great American Ball Park.

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