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ARLINGTON http://www.officialducks.com/authentic-adidas-john-gibson-jersey , Va. (AP) The smiling side of a handshake line at the end of the second round was a brand-new experience for Alex Ovechkin and Barry Trotz.Ovechkin received a message of good luck and a pat on the chest from Sidney Crosby, while Trotz got to enjoy a happy moment with longtime coaching friend Jacques Martin. Ovechkin acknowledged he’d been in that position a lot of times – though never as the one moving on to the third round.Until now.The Washington Capitals reaching the Eastern Conference final for the first time since 1998 is perhaps most special to the superstar captain and his coach who had never made it out of the second round before. No coach in NHL history had been behind the bench for more games than Trotz and no active player had been in as many playoff games as Ovechkin without reaching the conference finals.”There is a kinship there, there’s no question,” Trotz said. ”I’ve been at this for a while and it’s so hard to move forward sometimes. It’s always thrown in your face everywhere your turn. I know it’s thrown in Ovi’s face everywhere he turns, and he’s a great player in this league. … I knew the frustration because you’re so close and you just can’t get it, and you just got to stay with it.”After 51 playoff games together, Ovechkin and Trotz will take part in their first East final starting Friday night in Tampa Bay against the Lightning. Now that they’ve gotten over a hump that defined their respective careers, Ovechkin, Trotz and the Capitals are in unfamiliar territory.”It’s something new for us and cool,” Ovechkin said Wednesday, less than 48 hours after Washington eliminated the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins. ”Right now it’s just satisfaction we beat the Stanley Cup champions finally and we move forward and now we’re going to play against a very good team, against very good goaltending and solid players over there.”The Atlantic Division-champion Lightning present a formidable challenge, but the Capitals had to overcome something altogether different after losing in the first or second round in all nine playoff appearances that have come during the Ovechkin era dating to 2008. Beating the rival Penguins in overtime in a Game 6 on the road made the breakthrough even more emotional.”We should be proud of that,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said. ”It’s a big achievement. But I think we’ve got to be greedy. We’ve got to want more because this is a heck of a run. I don’t know if there is a group out there that knows how hard it is to get to this point.”The Capitals are at this point with Ovechkin on top of his game with eight goals and seven assists Authentic Josh Manson Jersey , his best playoff output since 2009. And they’re here in large part because of Trotz, a well-respected, 19-year NHL coach who does not have a contract for next season.”I had a summer which was very enlightening to me, and I just look at everything way differently than I ever have,” Trotz said. ”I just recognized that I can only control what I can control, and the other stuff I can’t.”Trotz can’t control upper-body injuries to Nicklas Backstrom and Andre Burakovsky or a three-game suspension handed out to winger Tom Wilson, only the decisions he makes in replacing them. So far, Trotz has pushed the right buttons, like putting Braden Holtby back in net in Game 2 of the first round and promoting Jakub Vrana to the top line in Game 5 against Pittsburgh.His players know Trotz is in control as he and the Capitals advance further into the spring than they have in 20 years.”He wants to win a Cup,” forward Chandler Stephenson said. ”He doesn’t want to make it past the second round. It’s obviously a little accomplishment, a little confidence-boost. But we’re not done yet. We’re only halfway.”—AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed.— NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Viktor Arvidsson’s thumb and Juuse Saros‘ goalkeeping appear to be just fine for the Nashville Predators.Arvidsson scored twice, Saros made 32 saves and the Predators defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0 Tuesday.Craig Smith and Rocco Grimaldi also scored for Nashville, which has won two straight.Arvidsson played his fourth game since missing 21 contests with a broken thumb.“It’s a little hard to come back being out for six weeks Ondrej Kase Jersey ,” Arvidsson said. “I feel like I’m close to where I want to be, I’ve just got to keep working.”The shutout was Saros’ second of the season and the sixth of his career.“I’ve been practicing well and of course saw a lot of pucks today and we played pretty good defense, so that always helps,” Saros said. “When the team plays well in front of you, usually you get going too, and I had a little bit of luck, too, today, a couple of times the puck hit the post.”Making his first start since Dec. 15, Saros was busy early, stopping 13 shots in the first period. He made 12 saves in the second and seven in the third period. His best sequence came just over three minutes into the second period when he made back-to-back saves in close on Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek.Michal Neuvirth made 26 saves for the Flyers, who have lost four in a row.“We got a solid goaltending performance by Michal,” Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon said. “All four goals, we beat ourselves on Rickard Rakell Jersey , putting ourselves in the wrong spots. You can’t outscore those mistakes.”Philadelphia did not convert on either of its power plays in the game. The Flyers have not scored with the man-advantage in their last four games.“We hit two posts — lot of frustration,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “We’re going to keep working and the power play is going to get back untracked.”Saros also denied Wayne Simmonds on a breakaway just under six minutes into the third. That save came just before Arvidsson scored his second goal of the night on a wrist shot from the slot at 6:15.Smith scored the game’s first goal at 2:03 of the second period.Kevin Fiala skated the puck into the Philadelphia zone on the left side. From the left circle, Fiala sent a cross-ice pass to Smith at the right faceoff dot, where his wrist shot beat Neuvirth high to the stick side just underneath the crossbar.Fiala has five points in his last three games.Arvidsson made it 2-0 at 12:03 of the second.In the left circle, Ryan Johansen drove toward the Philadelphia net before slipping a pass to Arvidsson, who was unchecked at the back post. He tapped it in for his second goal in as many games.“He’s pushing himself and you see how important he is out here tonight with his speed and his work ethic, his ability to score goals and make a difference in a game,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said of Arvidsson. “The line was really good, especially in the second and third period.”Grimaldi scored his third of the season at 11:37 of the third. He has scored in consecutive games.NOTES: Nashville is 18-2-0 when scoring first this season. … The Predators are 12-3-1 against Eastern Conference opponents. … This was the 11th time the Predators played on New Year’s Day, all at home. … Philadelphia did not convert on either of its power plays in the game. The Flyers have not scored with the man-advantage in their last four games. … The Flyers are 1-16-3 when trailing after two periods.UP NEXT:Flyers: Host Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.Predators: Visit Detroit Red Wings on Friday.
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