Subiect: Orlando completed
The Washington Capitals are trying to escape both their past and the second round of the playoffs Eli Manning Jersey , and a win Thursday in Game 4 of their second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins could go a long way toward that.
Washington holds a 2-1 series lead going into Game 4 Thursday at PPG Paints Arena after Alex Ovechkin scored in the final two minutes of Game 3 for a 4-3 Capitals win.
Pittsburgh, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion, is 9-1 all-time in playoff series against Washington. The Penguins beat the Capitals in the postseason the past two seasons and in 2009 en route to Cup championships.
The Capitals prefer to look forward, however, starting with attempting to win three in a row and take what would be a fairly commanding two-game series lead.
“The biggest thing we’ve learned is to focus on the moment,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said Wednesday. “That moment is going to be (Thursday) and nothing past that.”
Both teams held optional practices at separate facilities Wednesday.
Washington will be without forward Tom Wilson, who was suspended three games by the NHL for a hit on Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese that, according to Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan, left the rookie with a concussion and a broken jaw that will require surgery.
That was the second controversial hit delivered by Wilson, who knocked Brian Dumoulin out of Game 2 with a hit that put one of the team’s best defenseman into the NHL’s concussion protocol. Wilson was not penalized, nor did he have a hearing with the league’s department of player safety for that hit.
Trotz, speaking before the Wilson decision was announced, said simply that his team would “see what the league says and then we’ll react off of it. We’re going to prepare like we always do.”
Pittsburgh, even while trailing in the series after winning Game 1 Ken Crawley Jersey , is taking the same approach.
“I don’t think anything (specifically in our game) concerns us,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “There are always things that you have to clean up and get better (at) as the series goes on. So there are things we definitely want to improve on, but I think that’s pretty typical for any series.”
What’s not typical is Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray showing any sign of uncertainty. However, he lamented giving up Ovechkin’s game-winner and described his performance in Game 3 as “shaky.”
“I felt really good the first two games. … One save could’ve got the job done at the end (of Game 3). So still right there, still feel pretty good overall,” Murray said.
The only personnel question lingering for Pittsburgh is winger Carl Hagelin, who is practicing with bulky full-face protection but hasn’t played this series because of a mouth injury. He is listed as day to day.
Pittsburgh split the first two games in Washington, but the Capitals are hoping to go one better by sweeping Games 3 and 4 on the road.
“I mean, if you want to be successful in the playoffs you have got to win on the road, and especially because they won the first game,” Washington winger Nicklas Backstrom told the Washington Post. “It’s nicer to be up 2-1 than being down 2-1. We’re just excited for the next game.”
And a chance to help leave history in the past.
“I really believe this team has felt a little bit different, even in-season. When we’d get down a couple goals, we could fight back. It seems that we’re never out of it,” Capitals winger Jay Beagle said. “We have a great group of guys here. We’ve just got to obviously continue to play a hard road game (Thursday) and know that Pittsburgh’s going to play their best and make sure that we come out and match it.”
The better J.A. Happ pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays Robert Quinn Jersey , the better the chance he finishes the season with another team.
Happ pitched a season-high 8 1/3 innings to win his fifth straight decision, Kendrys Morales hit a two-run home run and the Blue Jays beat the Atlanta Braves 5-4 Wednesday for Toronto’s seventh win in eight home games.
Happ (9-3) allowed four runs and six hits, walked none and struck out eight. The veteran left-hander is the first big league pitcher to record four starts this season with at least eight strikeouts and no walks.
”He’s got good life on his fastball,” Atlanta’s Nick Markakis said. ”He’s always been a thorn in the side.”
With Toronto well behind in both the AL East and the wild card standings, Happ could be a candidate for a midseason trade to a contender.
”I know he’s in demand and I can see why,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. ”If we were on the other end of it, I’d want him, too.”
Happ is in the final season of a three-year, $36 million contract.
”I signed to play here and try to help this team get to the playoffs,” Happ said. ”I know there may be rumors out there, but I like it here and my focus is here.”
Happ improved 4-0 with a 2.72 ERA in nine career starts against the Braves.
”We knew going in it was going to be a tough ride,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.
Happ had retired 18 of 19 before Freddie Freeman and Markakis hit back-to-back singles with one out in the ninth.
Ryan Tepera came on and gave up an RBI single to Kurt Suzuki, struck out Charlie Culberson, then allowed an RBI single to Ender Inciarte James Harrison Jersey , putting the tying run at second. Tepera finished it by getting Johan Camargo to fly out, earning his fifth save in eight opportunities
Morales, who turned 35 Wednesday, went 2 for 3 and scored twice. He homered in the first, walked and scored in the fourth, singled in the fifth, and flied out in the eighth.
Suzuki and Peter Bourjos hit solo home runs for the Braves, who lost for the second time in eight games. Atlanta began the day with an NL-best record of 43-29.
Braves right-hander Anibal Sanchez (3-1) allowed four runs and five hits in five innings.
”It wasn’t bad, wasn’t great,” Snitker said. ”He kept us in the game, gave us a chance.”
Sanchez is 0-2 with a 9.19 ERA in his past three starts against the Blue Jays.
After Morales hit a two-out drive off Sanchez, his sixth homer of the season, Suzuki connected in the second, his eighth Adam Thielen Jersey , and Bourjos tied it in the third with his first homer of the season.
Toronto broke the deadlock in the fourth when Randal Grichuk hit an RBI double and Aledmys Diaz followed with a sacrifice fly.
Blue Jays infielder Yangervis Solarte made it 5-2 with a two-out RBI single off A.J. Minter in the seventh.
WALK THIS WAY
Blue Jays C Russell Martin has walked at least once in eight straight games, matching a career-long stretch. Martin, who walked twice Wednesday, also walked in eight straight in 2013.
Morales has four home runs and eight RBIs in eight career games on his birthday.
THRIVING WITH FIVE
Toronto is 28-1 when scoring five or more runs.
Braves: Markakis started at designated hitter, the first time this season he hasn’t played one of the corner outfield spots.
Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (shoulder) will be activated off the disabled list to start at the Angels on Saturday, Gibbons said. Stroman is 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA in seven starts. … 3B Josh Donaldson (left calf) left the team Wednesday and will continue working out at Toronto’s spring training facility in Florida. Donaldson will not begin a rehab assignment until he is able to run the bases at full speed.
Braves: Atlanta is off Thursday before opening a three-game home series against Baltimore on Friday. LHP Sean Newcomb (8-2, 2.70 ERA) starts for the Braves. Newcomb has won eight of his past nine decisions. The Orioles have not named a starter.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (3-5, 4.35) starts the opener of a four-game series against the Angels. Sanchez is 1-0 with a 2.95 ERA in three June starts. LHP Tyler Skaggs (6-4, 2.81) starts for Los Angeles.