Grubauer.Washington coach Barry

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Grubauer.Washington coach Barry

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DENVER (AP) It seems nothing can stop Nathan MacKinnon during what’s been a career year. Not a shoulder injury that cost him eight games [url=http://www.officialdevils.com/authentic-adidas-pavel-zacha-jersey]Youth Pavel Zacha Jersey[/url] , and certainly not the Minnesota Wild.MacKinnon had two goals and three assists, Mikko Rantanen had a goal and three assists and the Avalanche beat Minnesota 7-1 on Friday night.The five points tied a career high for MacKinnon, who also set personal bests in goals (31) and assists (45) for the season. He reached the 30-goal mark for the first time in his five-year career.MacKinnon has seven goals and eight assists in seven games since returning from a shoulder injury Feb. 18. He was second in the NHL in scoring when he went down Jan. 30, and Friday’s five-point night moved him into fourth overall.”I don’t know what he did when he was gone but he clearly was doing something right because he’s come back in real good shape and he picked up where he left off,” linemate Gabriel Landeskog said.MacKinnon’s other five-point game was Nov. 16 against Washington.”I wish I didn’t miss those eight games, but I definitely do feel good,” MacKinnon said. ”Hopefully if we can make the playoffs, it’ll be a blessing. If we don’t [url=http://www.officialdevils.com/authentic-adidas-taylor-hall-jersey]Authentic Taylor Hall Jersey[/url] , it won’t be. If we squeak in, I’ll be a little fresher than some of the other guys.”Tyson Barrie had a goal and an assist, and Landeskog, Carl Soderberg and Matt Nieto also scored to help Colorado gain ground in the Western Conference playoff race with its 13th win in 14 home games.The Avalanche jumped over idle St. Louis and stayed a point behind Anaheim for the second wild card with 75 points. The Ducks beat Columbus 4-2 on Friday.”We’re not just trying to chase the last wild card, we’re trying to be a team in the division and solidify a guaranteed spot – in the top three,” MacKinnon said.MacKinnon is trying to lead his team to the playoffs for the first time since 2014, when the Wild upset the No. 2-seeded Avalanche in seven games. He is giving the Wild some payback with eight points in the last two games.Colorado has scored seven goals in both home games against Minnesota.Mikko Koivu scored for the Wild, who have lost two straight after winning five in a row to move into third in the Central Division. Minnesota has a four-point lead on Colorado and has played one more game than the Avalanche.”Now when you lose one or two in a row teams are gaining on you all over the place [url=http://www.officialdevils.com/authentic-adidas-will-butcher-jersey]Womens Will Butcher Jersey[/url] ,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said.Devan Dubnyk allowed five goals on 17 shots before being replaced by Alex Stalock after Soderberg’s goal. Stalock had seven saves for the Wild, who have allowed seven goals in both games in Colorado this season.Landeskog and MacKinnon scored 2:26 apart midway through the first period to give Colorado a 2-0 lead, and then the Avalanche put it away in the second.After Barrie made it 3-0, MacKinnon, Soderberg and Rantanen each scored in a span of 4:32 to make it 6-0. Soderberg’s tally, which went off Eric Staal’s skate, chased Dubnyk.”I’d like to get the fourth one,” Dubnyk said. ”I don’t know what happened on the fifth one.”Koivu spoiled Semyon Varlamov’s shutout bid with his 12th goal at 17:07 of the second period. Varlamov finished with 31 saves.NOTES: Colorado C Colin Wilson suffered an upper-body injury in the second period and did not return. … Avalanche D Anton Lindholm returned after missing five games with an elbow injury. … Minnesota is 4-6-1 in the second night of back-to-back games. … Colorado announced it had signed D Connor Timmins to an entry-level contract that begins next season. Timmins was the Avalanche’s second-round draft pick last June. … Wild C Charlie Coyle turned 26 on Friday.UP NEXTWild: Host Detroit on Sunday.Avalanche: Host Nashville on Sunday.— PITTSBURGH (AP) There was no dogpile in the dressing room. No champagne celebration. Not even a beer. Nothing.The Washington Capitals have been here before. Many times [url=http://www.officialislanders.com/authentic-adidas-adam-pelech-jersey]http://www.officialislanders.com/authentic-adidas-adam-pelech-jersey[/url] , actually. It’s not that they don’t appreciate winning Metropolitan Division title after Metropolitan Division title like the one they wrapped up with a 3-1 victory over rival Pittsburgh on Sunday night.It’s just that they’re tired of division banners being the only ones raised to the rafters.Still, star Alex Ovechkin knows not all playoff runs are created equal. The group that skated off the ice at PPG Paints Arena after keeping the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions in check for three taut and occasionally chippy periods is not the juggernaut that rolled into postseason in 2016 and 2017 only to be sent home in the second round by Pittsburgh.”We lost lots of players,” Ovechkin said after playing in his 1,000th career regular season game. ”Guys in the locker room, experience guys. But different guys step up and they play different. … We play as a team.”One that hopes following a familiar script will lead – at last – to an unfamiliar ending.Philipp Grubauer made 36 saves to continue his push to supplant Braden Holtby as Washington’s top goaltender as the Capitals won for the 10th time in 12 games to assure themselves of home-ice advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs.”We had a challenge there from the beginning (of the season) on,” Grubauer said. ”We lost a couple experienced guys. We learned from our mistakes and we’re still learning. It’s nice to wrap that up, for sure.”T.J. Oshie, Dmitry Orlov and Tom Wilson scored for Washington and Grubauer did the rest [url=http://www.officialislanders.com/authentic-adidas-anders-lee-jersey]Anders Lee Jersey[/url] , including a spectacular glove save on Penguins star Sidney Crosby in the third period that served as an exclamation point on the kind of performance that would fit right in over the next two months.”Last couple games we played in here weren’t too good, so it’s a momentum builder for us,” Grubauer said. ”We have to make sure we play the right way next couple games. It’s going to be huge.”The Penguins have the top power play in the league but went 0 for 5 with the man advantage. Patric Hornqvist picked up his 27th of the season late in the third period to avoid a shutout. Matt Murray stopped 31 shots but couldn’t quite match Grubauer.”I thought that’s probably as good as our power play has looked the last month, we just didn’t score,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said.A night after earning a playoff berth for a franchise-record 12th straight year, the Penguins lost at home in regulation for just the second time since Jan. 4 to end a late push for a division crown. Not that it matters much to Pittsburgh. The Penguins have ended each of the last two regular seasons as the division runner-up to Washington. And each time the Penguins have used a second-round playoff series victory over the Capitals as a springboard to the Stanley Cup.”We never win division,” Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin said. ”It’s not first time. It’s not surprise. We’re fine.”Ovechkin called becoming just the 57th player in NHL history to play at least 1,000 games for one team ”a milestone” but didn’t exactly get caught up in the moment. The 32-year-old knows his career has been equally defined by his 603 goals and his team’s inability to make a deep playoff run.Despite seven division titles and nine playoff appearances since he made his debut in 2005 [url=http://www.officialislanders.com/authentic-adidas-andrew-ladd-jersey]Andrew Ladd Jersey[/url] , Ovechkin has never played on a team that reached the Eastern Conference finals. Postseason success is the only thing that’s eluded him, but Washington appears to be peaking behind Grubauer.Washington coach Barry Trotz opted to give Grubauer his first career start against Pittsburgh and Grubauer responded brilliantly. He was at his best in the second period, when the Penguins’ lethal power play had four chances to draw even and came up empty each time, including an extended two-man advantage in which Grubauer received a little help from the crossbar when a shot from Malkin clanged off the crossbar.The lucky bounce preserved a 1-0 lead. Orlov pumped in his career-high 10th just after a Pittsburgh power-play expired later in the period, firing a shot from the slot that went between the legs of Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta and over Murray’s right arm.When Tom Wilson redirected Matt Niskanen’s shot from the point by Murray 23 seconds into the third period the Capitals had another division title wrapped up but not bragging rights. That will have to come later.NOTES: Washington went 0 for 4 on the power play. … Malkin was given a 10-minute misconduct with 1:01 left in regulation after mixing it up with Oshie. … Penguins C Derick Brassard missed his third consecutive game with a lower-body injury. … Pittsburgh is 9-7-2 on the second night of back-to-backs this season.UP NEXTCapitals: Visit St. Louis on Monday. Washington beat the Blues 4-3 on Jan. 7.Penguins: Get three days off before finishing regular season with a back-to-back starting on Thursday in Columbus.—