Golden Knights at Capitals Game 4 Preview

The Washington Capitals hope the momentum of their first-ever home win in the Stanley Cup Finals will go a long way toward recording another versus the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 4 on Monday, thereby bringing them one victory away from grabbing the chalice for the first time in franchise history. Three-time Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin scored the signature diving goal in Saturday’s 3-1 triumph, helping the Capitals claim a 2-1 edge in the series.

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“I thought it was just sort of the right thing in our first victory in the Final at home that Alex would score the goal,” coach Barry Trotz told reporters. “I thought that was a little bit of poetic justice, if you will, for all the tough times.” Ovechkin matched a franchise high (John Druce) with his NHL high-tying 14th tally (Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele) to push his point total to 25 to reside two shy of fellow Russian Evgeny Kutznetsov, who rebounded from an upper-body injury in Wednesday’s 3-2 win to score and set up a goal in Game 3. Tomas Nosek netted his fourth goal in five games on Saturday when he took advantage of Braden Holtby’s misplay for the Golden Knights, who have dropped two in a row for the first time since the final two games of the regular season (April 5-7). “We had twice as much time off as they have in the playoffs. We should have a lot in the tank,” Vegas defenseman Deryk Engelland told TSN. “I just think we’re not playing our identity. We’re trying to make too many plays.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA

ABOUT THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS: Shea Theodore has parlayed a solid season into a strong playoffs for Vegas, however his play in both Games 2 and 3 left a bit to be desired – and he knows it. “I just have to be much better than I was,” said the 22-year-old defenseman, who saw his broken stick lead to Kuznetsov’s goal at 12:50 of the second period while his botched clearing attempt resulted in fourth-liner Jay Beagle setting up Devante Smith-Pelly with 6:07 remaining in the third. Theodore also didn’t do himself any favors by allowing Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen to skate past him, resulting in Marc-Andre Fleury to be whistled for tripping to negate a Vegas power play in the latter stages of the second period.

ABOUT THE CAPITALS: Beagle answered one assist in his previous eight games by setting up a pair of goals, including tapping the puck to Kuznetsov on a 2-on-1 rush. “(The assist isn’t) as good as a goal, but I want it out of my hands when it’s me and him, that’s for sure,” the 32-year-old Beagle said of Kutznetsov, who curiously referenced an NBA Hall of Famer in a nod to playing while at less than 100 percent. “It’s emotional stuff. Like Michael Jordan, when he play(ed) his best game, he got hurt, got 53 points,” the 26-year-old Kuznetsov told reporters, although it’s not known which game he’s referencing. “I mean like when you’re hurt, you play a little better always.”

OVERTIME

1. Vegas C William Karlsson, who led the team with 43 goals in the regular season, did not register a single shot attempt in Game 3.

2. His Game 3 gaffe notwithstanding, Holtby has permitted just three goals since being pierced for five in the series opener.

3. The Golden Knights’ third line of Erik Haula, David Perron and James Neal were a combined minus-9, with Haula collecting the lone two shots by the contingent.

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Posted in NHL

Lightning at Capitals Game 4 Preview

The Tampa Bay Lightning fought their way back in the series with a vastly improved performance and the reward is a chance to even the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night when they visit the Washington Capitals for Game 4. All-Stars Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov combined for seven points as the Lightning recorded a 4-2 victory Tuesday in Washington after dropping the first two games of the series at home.

“We believed all along,” Stamkos, who has scored a goal in five of the last six games, told reporters. “We knew we weren’t good enough, and credit to them, they played really good hockey the first two games. We needed to make adjustments. We did that. We worked on it. The players went out there and did what we needed to do.” Tampa Bay was much tighter defensively despite allowing 38 shots overall, and scored twice on the power play to improve to 5-for-12 with the man advantage in the series and extend their streak to eight games with at least one. Evgeny Kuznetsov finished with 12 shots on net and a goal for the Capitals in Game 3 while linemate Alex Ovechkin did not have a point despite accumulating nine shots, but coach Barry Trotz told the media his team was “off a little bit” and will be better Thursday. “We believe in each other,” Ovechkin told reporters. “We know exactly what we have to do. Nobody said it was going to be easy. They’re not going to give us two wins in a row in our house. We just have to play more desperate and play smarter.”

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA

ABOUT THE LIGHTNING: Coach Jon Cooper shuffled his top three forward lines for Game 3, putting Ondrej Palat with Kucherov and Stamkos, flipping J.T. Miller to a unit with Anthony Cirelli and Alex KIllorn while moving Yanni Gourde in with Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson. “We needed to put guys in positions to succeed,” Cooper told reporters. “We probably needed to spring a little life into our group.” Point has four goals in his last five games and four of his 14 playoff points in the past two contests while Hedman owns a franchise-record eight-game point streak after scoring once and assisting on two Tuesday.

ABOUT THE CAPITALS: Center Nicklas Backstrom (13 points, 11 playoff games) skated again Wednesday and could possibly return to the lineup Thursday after missing the last four contests with a hand injury. Kuznetsov boasts four goals and seven assists during a six-game point streak and owns 20 points overall – six in the series – while Ovechkin scored twice and set up two others in the first two contests against Tampa Bay. Goalie Braden Holtby owns an .899 save percentage in the series, but has stopped 57 of the 60 shots he has faced at even strength (.950) and leads the league with 10 playoffs wins entering Wednesday.

OVERTIME

1. Washington C Lars Eller has posted two goals and three assists in the series, taking Backstrom’s spot on the second line.

2. Stamkos needs one power-play goal to pass Martin St. Louis (10) for first on the franchise’s all-time playoff list.

3. Capitals RW Brett Connolly, who was drafted sixth overall by the Lightning in 2010, boasts a point in each of the first three games of the series.

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Posted in NHL

MLB World Series Game 4 Recap

Indians vs Cubs (Indians lead 3-1)

It could hardly get much better for Jason Kipnis on Saturday, during the World Series Game 4. The Cleveland second baseman broke out of a 7-for-42 postseason slump as he slammed a three-run homer in his hometown ballpark. It helped propel the Indians to the brink of a World Series crown. Kipnis, a suburban Chicago native, provided a backbreaking 402-foot shot to the Wrigley Field bleachers. It led the Indians winning against the Chicago Cubs 7-2 and claiming a 3-1 lead in the World Series. Cleveland could clinch its first big league title since 1948 with a victory on Sunday night at Wrigley Field (Enter Contest).

Game Highlight

Corey Kluber allowed one run and scattered five hits over six innings and picked up his second World Series triumph since Tuesday. Kluber (4-1 post-season) struck out six and walked one. He had just one troublesome inning, which was the first. The Cubs grabbed a 1-0 lead after one inning of play. Chicago’s edge was short-lived as Cleveland scored twice in the second inning. They’ve added single runs in the third and sixth and put the game out of reach with a three-run seventh.

The Indians padded their lead in the sixth inning. Lonnie Chisenhall’s one-out sacrifice off reliever Mike Montgomery plated Francisco Lindor to make it 4-1. In the seventh, Kipnis clubbed a three-run homer to right off Travis Wood, the fourth Chicago pitcher of the night. Kipnis’ third postseason home run drove in pinch hitter Coco Crisp, who had doubled, and Rajai Davis, who was hit by a Justin Grimm pitch. The Cubs collected a late token run on Dexter Fowler’s solo homer in the eighth.

Kipnis went 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. Teammate Carlos Santana also had three hits, including a second-inning home run. Kluber threw 81 pitches before being taken out the game. Fowler’s leadoff home run in the eighth off Cleveland reliever Andrew Miller was the first run the left-hander has allowed in 16 postseason innings. Miller, who worked two innings of relief in his second straight appearance, could also be in the mix again for Sunday.

Posted in MLB

Fantasy Basketball Draft Top Picks

June 10th 2016

The NBA Finals resumes Friday, with the Golden State Warriors leading the Cleveland Cavaliers 2-1. The Cavs weren’t going to give up easy after losing the first two game. LeBron James & co. bounce back in huge fashion defeating the Warriors 120-90. A win tonight at home is once again so important for Cleveland, with 2 out of the next three games in Golden State. Here’s a look at the Game 4 fantasy basketball draft (click to play) top picks!

Player Pos Team Last Game FP Last Two Game FP Avg Last Four Game FP Avg Last Ten Game FP Avg
LeBron James F CLE 41 37.3 37.9 36.4
Kyrie Irving G CLE 34.5 24.3 27.2 25.6
Tristan Thompson C CLE 24.5 18.8 16 14.9
JR Smith G CLE 24 12.8 13.8 13
Harrison Barnes F GSW 24 15.8 14.6 13.4
Richard Jefferson F CLE 18.5 12.3 11 8.9
Draymond Green F GSW 18 28.5 28 24.9
Stephen Curry G GSW 17 20.3 28.3 29.9
Shaun Livingston G GSW 12 15.5 12.1 9.8
Klay Thompson G GSW 10.5 15.7 21.8 23.2
Andre Iguodala F GSW 10 15.8 15.1 15
Leandro Barbosa G GSW 10 10.7 6.9 5.4
Kevin Love F CLE 7.5 21.7 21.3 22.6
Iman Shumpert G CLE 7.5 4.5 3.6 6.3
Andrew Bogut C GSW 5.5 10.5 10 11.5
Marreese Speights C GSW 4.5 2.3 2.3 5.4
Jordan McRae G CLE 4 14.7 10.1 5.4
Mo Williams G CLE 4 2.3 1.5 2
Anderson Varejao F GSW 4 3.2 2.1 2.9
Timofey Mozgov C CLE 3.5 4.2 4.5 3

Fantasy Basketball Draft Notables

  • LeBron Jame s and Kyrie Irving combined for 62 points in game 3.
  • Kevin Love (concussion) will once again be a game time decision. He was part of the morning practice with the team Friday morning.
Posted in NBA