Penguins shut out Capitals in Game 7, advance to East final

Jimmy Howard, who made 39 saves in the 4-3 win over Sweden on Monday, had a quieter game against the Italians, earning the shutout with nine saves. Trotz was familiar with the external perception that Ovechkin was a selfish superstar, but that wasn't the player he encountered in that introduction.

It was not immediately clear when Ovechkin was injured or how severely. So, their meeting on May 5, 2017, didn't feel momentous to Trotz.

Ovechkin has played at the world championships 12 previous times, including in 2013 when he finished the playoffs with a hairline fracture in his foot. The Penguins have been held to two goals in three of the last four games.

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, left, waits to greet Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), from Russian Federation, who is talking with Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) after Game 7 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Easter.

It was far from Capitals hockey, which was on display in victories in Games 5 and 6.

Relegated to backup duties when Matt Murray led the Penguins to their Cup win last spring, Fleury took over between the pipes when Murray suffered an undisclosed injury during the warmup of the Penguins' first playoff game this spring.

"Emotionally, right now, I don't want to answer that question", Trotz said.

That level of calmness could serve the Capitals well if it's able to resonate within the locker room. This time of year, sometimes you have to just check your ego and work harder. You're not going to win every one. Wednesday, the two teams played again with a trip to the Eastern Conference Final on the line. General manager Brian MacLellan tried to surround the 31-year-old with talent by acquiring forwards T.J. Oshie, Justin Williams and Lars Eller, and the development of young players Evgeny Kuznetsov and Burakovsky also alleviated the pressure on Ovechkin to carry the team on a nightly basis. With both teams in the same boat, both teams looking to extend their season and with both teams' Stanley Cup hopes on the line, the game essentially becomes a coin flip. The goal was to foster a four-line approach with more even playing time across the team's 12 forwards. The captain wondered if he'd done something wrong.

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The BCCI also lost out to the voting on "governance and constitutional changes" by a margin of 1-9, while the revenue model saw India lose out by a 2-8 margin.

Just as it should be, right?

Ovechkin accepted that, even as his personal production took a hit.

Ovechkin has more than his share of goal-scoring titles and MVP awards but his team has never made it past this stage.

"I don't think the urgency was there", Ovechkin said. He's realizing the importance of his teammates. The resilient Penguins have been without top defenseman Kris Letang and starting goaltender Matt Murray all playoffs, lost defenseman Trevor Daley before Game 6 and dealt with a brief absence of Crosby because of a concussion. The Penguins took advantage of an incredible opportunity, and came away with an important goal in a big game.

"He was extremely calm", head coach Guy Boucher said of Anderson in Game 6, per the Ottawa Citizen's Don Brennan. "I don't know. Eventually it's going to turn".

"If they go through the protocol then I usually get notified by our medical staff, that's the process", Sullivan said. We got a lot of great things out, and we seemed to click after that. The goals came from Bryan Rust in the second period, and Patric Hornqvist in the third.

“You nearly wonder how much disappointment youve got to put yourself through before you can find a way to get the job done, ” said T.J. Oshie. And Alex is doing that. Wednesday's win lifted the side third in Group B.

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