Sport Series lead gives Capitals time for Nicklas Backstrom return

20:09  15 may  2018
20:09  15 may  2018 Source:   nbcsports.com

Vrana makes most of promotion, Caps win to put Pens on brink

  Vrana makes most of promotion, Caps win to put Pens on brink The Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 in Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in the second-round series. Vrana made coach Barry Trotz look like a genius for moving him to the top line alongside Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, replacing Devante Smith-Pelly in the second period. Vrana sprung Kuznetsov for a breakaway on Washington's tying goal 52 seconds into the third and finished off Ovechkin's pass for the game-winner.

The Capitals lead the series 1-0, following their 4-2 win over the Lightning in Game One. It was the first time since March 13 that he did not finish a game. The Capitals did not practice on Saturday, so the status of injured centre Nicklas Backstrom remains unclear.

WASHINGTON — Nicklas Backstrom scored his second goal of the game 11:53 into overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday and a 3-2 lead in the first-round playoff series .

  Series lead gives Capitals time for Nicklas Backstrom return © Getty Images

The Washington Capitals are doing just fine as center Nicklas Backstrom recoups from a hand injury that’s sidelined him for the last three games. A 2-0 series lead against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final allows them to not feel forced to rush him back.

Speaking to reporters on Monday before returning home to D.C. for Games 3 and 4, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said the decision on Backstrom’s return is up to the player at this point. Backstrom has been skating with the team and Lars Eller has been filling in on the second line in his absence — and excelling.

“As I said, it’s really up to Backy, but it does give us some time if he needs,” Trotz said. “So we’ll see where that is. We haven’t really talked about it.”

Capitals vs. Lightning: 3 questions facing each team

  Capitals vs. Lightning: 3 questions facing each team Some questions to be answered by each team.Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

He went down the tunnel to the locker room in the third period of Game Five, which the Caps won 6-3, and did not return to the game. Nicklas Backstrom and second line powers Capitals to 3-2 series lead .

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nicklas Backstrom scored his second goal of the game 11:53 into overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 4-3 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday and a 3-2 lead in the first-round playoff series .

[Lars Eller emerging as unexpected playoff star for Capitals]

Will Trotz re-jigger his lines when Backstrom returns considering the success Eller’s had? He wasn’t ready to divulge.

“We have a plan that hasn’t changed with Nicky for where he would go in,” he said. “So when he’s in, he’ll be with — you’ll see who he’s going to be with.”

Backstrom missed the series-clinching game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round and these two big road victories in Tampa to open up the conference final. His insertion back into the lineup will be a huge boost to a team currently sitting two wins away from the Stanley Cup Final. In the meantime, the veteran forward has continued to help his teammates off the ice.

“He has a really good perspective on the game and all those things,” Trotz said. “So he’s been a little bit of a father figure to some of the younger guys. He does it very quietly.”

Ovechkin has goal, assist, Capitals crush Lightning 4-2

  Ovechkin has goal, assist, Capitals crush Lightning 4-2 Alex Ovechkin led the Washington Capitals to a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night.Braden Holtby stopped 19 shots and Michal Kempny, Jay Beagle and Lars Eller also scored for the Caps, who are alive beyond the second round of the playoffs for the first time in Ovechkin's brilliant 13-year career.

Series : Capitals lead 1-0. Sunday, Amalie Arena, 8 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN. • Center Nicklas Backstrom is expected to miss a third straight playoff game for the Capitals . a “game- time decision,” it’s unlikely he’ll play in Game 2. A return for Game 3 seems possible.

It’s because Nicklas Backstrom , Washington’s offensive catalyst and most consistent player, is back in the fold with three important regular season games remaining. Capitals -Penguins Game 3: Alex Ovechkin goal, Tom Wilson hit gives Washington 2-1 series lead .

MORE:

Conference Finals schedule, TV info

NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub

————

Sean Leahy is a writer forPro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line atphtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Alex Ovechkin finally has the right mix that could take Capitals to Stanley Cup Final .
While Alex Ovechkin is still Washington's face and most important player, the Capitals’ identity has been broadened beyond his ability. Look at the last game when Ovechkin had no points and the Capitals recorded a 3-0 win to stay alive. The story in that game is  Capitals out-hit the Lightning by a 2-1 margin. Their physical play, and Ovechkin is an important contributor to that, was a critical aspect of the game plan.More: Can Capitals break losing spell for woebegone Washington?More: Do Capitals or Lightning win Game 7, reach Stanley Cup Final? Golden Knights await.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!