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|The Washington Capitals are trying to escape both their past and the second round of the playoffs Jose Cruz Jr. Jersey , and a win Thursday in Game 4 of their second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins could go a long way toward that.
Washington holds a 2-1 series lead going into Game 4 Thursday at PPG Paints Arena after Alex Ovechkin scored in the final two minutes of Game 3 for a 4-3 Capitals win.
Pittsburgh, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion, is 9-1 all-time in playoff series against Washington. The Penguins beat the Capitals in the postseason the past two seasons and in 2009 en route to Cup championships.
The Capitals prefer to look forward, however, starting with attempting to win three in a row and take what would be a fairly commanding two-game series lead.
“The biggest thing we’ve learned is to focus on the moment,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said Wednesday. “That moment is going to be (Thursday) and nothing past that.”
Both teams held optional practices at separate facilities Wednesday.
Washington will be without forward Tom Wilson Cheap Nathan Shepherd Jersey , who was suspended three games by the NHL for a hit on Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese that, according to Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan, left the rookie with a concussion and a broken jaw that will require surgery.
That was the second controversial hit delivered by Wilson, who knocked Brian Dumoulin out of Game 2 with a hit that put one of the team’s best defenseman into the NHL’s concussion protocol. Wilson was not penalized, nor did he have a hearing with the league’s department of player safety for that hit.
Trotz, speaking before the Wilson decision was announced Authentic Marcus Davenport Jersey , said simply that his team would “see what the league says and then we’ll react off of it. We’re going to prepare like we always do.”
Pittsburgh, even while trailing in the series after winning Game 1, is taking the same approach.
“I don’t think anything (specifically in our game) concerns us,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “There are always things that you have to clean up and get better (at) as the series goes on. So there are things we definitely want to improve on, but I think that’s pretty typical for any series.”
What’s not typical is Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray showing any sign of uncertainty. However, he lamented giving up Ovechkin’s game-winner and described his performance in Game 3 as “shaky.”
“I felt really good the first two games. … One save could’ve got the job done at the end (of Game 3). So still right there Don Larsen Jersey , still feel pretty good overall,” Murray said.
The only personnel question lingering for Pittsburgh is winger Carl Hagelin, who is practicing with bulky full-face protection but hasn’t played this series because of a mouth injury. He is listed as day to day.
Pittsburgh split the first two games in Washington, but the Capitals are hoping to go one better by sweeping Games 3 and 4 on the road.
“I mean, if you want to be successful in the playoffs you have got to win on the road, and especially because they won the first game Joe Maddon Jersey ,” Washington winger Nicklas Backstrom told the Washington Post. “It’s nicer to be up 2-1 than being down 2-1. We’re just excited for the next game.”
And a chance to help leave history in the past.
“I really believe this team has felt a little bit different, even in-season. When we’d get down a couple goals, we could fight back. It seems that we’re never out of it,” Capitals winger Jay Beagle said. “We have a great group of guys here. We’ve just got to obviously continue to play a hard road game (Thursday) and know that Pittsburgh’s going to play their best and make sure that we come out and match it.”
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