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Of all the ways the Washington Capitals have tried to win in the playoffs Youth Natrell Jamerson Jersey , none has been as effective as this.
They pushed the pace with speed and skill when Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom were part of the ”Young Guns.” They made every game a coin flip with tight, Dale Hunter hockey. Each time, an early exit followed.
This year is different. Suddenly, the Capitals are a suffocating defensive team that clogs the middle of the ice and makes even the fastest of opponents look slow.
The Vegas Golden Knights are the latest to get frustrated by Washington’s neutral-zone pressure that took a toll on Columbus, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, paving the way for this run to the Stanley Cup Final. After cruising through three rounds with ease, nothing looks easy right now for Vegas because the Capitals have mastered the art of frustration, and are two wins away from hoisting the Cup for the first time.
”Offensive teams have certain tendencies, certain routes that they take through the neutral zone, plays they like to make, so if you can be on top of them and turn over some pucks, stifle them, make it hard for them to gain entry with possession Authentic Jonathan Allen Jersey , that frustrates skilled players,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said Sunday. ”If you can be in their face, just standing in the way, it’s amazing what that does.”
It’s amazing the transformation the Capitals have made since coach Barry Trotz challenged players late in the regular season to embrace this approach. It was clear as early as Game 4 of the first round that the 1-1-3 trap in the neutral zone had the ability to essentially shut down the opposing attack, and since the first two playoff games Washington is 10-2 when scoring first.
The Golden Knights have found how difficult it is to try to come back against the Capitals and need to adjust quickly down 2-1 in the Cup Final going into Game 4 Monday night. They have to make some adjustments before it’s too late.
”Our guys who have a lot of speed can go back deeper, gather some speed,” winger David Perron said. ”Then the defensemen can try to freeze the first forechecker, kick it wide. These guys coming with speed, if they’re confronted, which they will be most times at the blue line, you can put it in and go on the forecheck. You can have guys hang close to the right wing or up top, and as the puck is coming your way, win the one-on-one battle with support. … We also have to try to not let them set up Authentic Mike Hughes Jersey , so if there’s a turnover, a quick one, we can punt it up, go back on offense.”
The Penguins and Lightning tried that and couldn’t crack the Capitals well enough to advance.
”They’re really good at slowing you down,” Lightning forward J.T. Miller said during the Eastern Conference final. ”Right when you want to just chip it and go, there’s a guy, there’s a wall there, and guys are ready to go back and get it on the other side. … It’s just their ability to stand up and make you force plays because it looks like there’s more ice than there is, and then all of a sudden they do a good job of staying in front and retrieving pucks.”
Vegas is built on speed, but it’s hard to harness it if players can’t get blue line to blue line with the puck to create any offense. When the Capitals took a lead in Game 3, they went into their now-patented scheme.
”It’s just kind of a group mentality to make life difficult on them,” winger Tom Wilson said. ”I think that’s when we’re at our best as a team is when we’re playing physical, we’re taking away time and space Authentic Nick Nelson Jersey , making it difficult on their top guys.”
That difficulty wears on a team, and Trotz said it’s noticeable when an opponent tries to change its game and manage the puck differently to counterbalance the trap. When it works effectively, not only does it limit changes against, but it creates the kind of odd-man rushes that have paced Washington’s offense this postseason.
”It’s important to recognize moments when you can pressure, and we don’t want to get away from that, where we can send two guys and try to force teams into mistakes,” Niskanen said. ”If you can hold either the red line or the blue line with layers of support, you can force teams into turnovers, and we’ve done a good job of that.”
More Stanley Cup coverage: New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has lymphoma and will soon begin treatment, and he said he is encouraged by the prognosis.
Gettleman, hired in the offseason to replace Jerry Reese, released a statement Tuesday about his health. He said he recently "underwent an annual physical, during which it was discovered I have lymphoma. Over the past week Calvin Ridley Color Rush Jersey , I have undergone more testing to determine the course of treatment, which is scheduled to start in the very near future.
"The doctor's outlook for the treatment and the prognosis is positive, and so am I."
Gettleman said he plans to continue working "as much as the treatment process will allow."
The 67-year-old Gettleman formerly was GM with the Carolina Panthers.
When Gettleman was hired by New York in December, he said, "My plan is to come in here every day and kick (butt). That's my plan, OK? And I'm going to keep doing it until they either take my key card or the Lord calls me home."
Before joining the Panthers in 2013, Gettleman was a Giants personnel executive for 15 years. He was on the staff when the team won Super Bowls for the 2007 and 2011 seasons 鈥?two of the seven Super Bowls in which Gettleman has been a part in his 30-year NFL career.
In his four seasons as Carolina's general manager, the Panthers won 40 games and three NFC South titles. They lost in the 50th Super Bowl to Denver after finishing 15-1, the best record in the league. For 2015, Gettleman was voted The Sporting News' NFL Executive of the Year.
At the end of his statement in which he also thanked Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch for their support and encouragement, Gettleman added: "I look forward to being back at full strength and devoting all my energy to helping make this 2018 New York Giants team the best it can be."
Assistant general manager Kevin Abrams is likely to assume some of Gettleman's duties while the GM is undergoing treatments.
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