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he game offers, Sexton
11-08-2018, 09:55 AM
Post: #1
200
he game offers, Sexton
The road back to the Stanley Cup Final took two very different turns for the Penguins and Predators at the start of the second round.

Back-to-back defending champion Pittsburgh roared back from a two-goal Authentic Sam Hubbard Jersey , third-period deficit to beat the Washington Capitals, while the Winnipeg Jets chased Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne in a convincing 4-1 victory in Game 1. As each team prepares for Game 2, two key pieces could be ready to help.

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin practiced Saturday and is on the verge of returning to the lineup after missing the past two games with an apparent leg injury. Coach Mike Sullivan called Malkin a game-time decision, though signs are pointing to the Russian star playing Sunday at Washington (3 p.m. EDT, NBC).

”If I’m playing, I’m ready to play,” Malkin said. ”If you play, you need to show you can, you show you’re 100 percent. It’s not like the regular season. You can’t play slow the first period and be better in third. If I play, if I’m ready, I’m ready first shift.”

Predators winger Auston Watson skated just seven first-period shifts Friday night before leaving with an undisclosed injury. His teammates outshot the Jets 48-19 and still lost, though a healthy Watson for Game 2 back in Music City (7 p.m., NBCSN) could make a difference as the defending Western Conference champions try to even the series between the NHL’s top two teams.

”Getting this squared up before we go to Winnipeg is definitely important Titans Elite Jerseys ,” said Watson, who felt great and called it a good practice. ”We’ll do our best to take care of business.”

The Penguins and Predators each took care of business in six games in the first round. Malkin had three goals and two assists in five games before being injured against Philadelphia, and the line of Colton Sissons, former Pittsburgh center Nick Bonino and Watson combined for 19 points in beating Colorado.

It’s impossible to overstate Malkin’s value to the Penguins. Top-line winger Jake Guentzel called Malkin’s potential return a ”game-changer,” restoring one of their most dangerous options on the power play and at even strength after a season in which the 31-year-old forward put up 98 points.

Malkin skated on the fourth line between rookie Zack Aston-Reese and Tom Kuhnhackl at practice and on the first power-play unit. If he plays, it wouldn’t be in a limited role.

”Putting Geno on the fourth line? Probably not,” Sullivan said. ”We’ll try to put him in a position where he can play to his strengths, be successful as an individual and help our team win.”

Just as the Penguins drew on two long playoff runs to come back against the Capitals, the Predators need only look up at their Western Conference champions banner in the rafters as they try to rebound.

”We just have to keep having that bounce-back mentality we’ve had since I’ve been here for two and a half years,” center Ryan Johansen said. ”We’re looking forward to tomorrow night’s game because we know we’re going to get a great response from everybody in here.”

A FOR DISCIPLINE

Referees combined to call three penalties each in Game 1 of Penguins-Capitals and Jets-Predators. Nashville was the most-penalized team in the league during the regular season but hasn’t taken one its past two games.

”We’re trying to get better in a lot of different areas,” coach Peter Laviolette said. ”And you hope that through the course of fixing some things, continuing to do things right that you like, fixing some things Cheap Billy Price Jersey , staying out of the penalty box, whatever it may be that at the end of the night you’ll be able to move forward from that. There are some things that I guess are going in the right direction.”

The strength of the Washington and Pittsburgh power plays has those teams watching themselves and trying to avoid time in the sin bin.

”I think both teams go into the series trying to be disciplined for that reason,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. ”You don’t want to give the power plays an opportunity to have an impact in the game.

HELLEBUYCK SHINES

Connor Hellebuyck, a Vezina Trophy finalist as the NHL’s top goaltender, starred for the Jets in making 47 saves in Game 1. In a breakout year for the 24-year-old, it was the kind of game that showed Winnipeg it has someone ready to take on the best in the West.

”There’s great difficulty in a lot of the saves and finding the puck in those scrums, but he’s built for that,” coach Paul Maurice said. ”He’s a big man that moves well and tracks well in traffic – especially close traffic. So he’s capable of that kind of game in that kind of environment.”



AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed.



Collin Sexton endeared himself to the Cavaliers with his competitive streak, speed and attitude long before they picked him in the NBA draft.

His jersey number showed them something else: He’s fearless.

Sexton made quite a first impression by deciding to take No. 2, his college number but also the one previously worn in Cleveland by All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. After showing off his jersey at a news conference Friday, Sexton said he doesn’t feel pressure to live up to Irving’s high standards.

”Not at all Ricky Vaughn Jersey ,” he said. ”Coming in, I’m going to set goals for myself and then as well there’s going to be team goals set. But I feel like I’m not going to have to live up to anybody’s shoes, but I’m going to come in and learn and be the best player I can be on the court as well as off the court.”

Some Cleveland fans feel No. 2 should be retired. After all, Irving made the biggest shot in franchise history in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals before asking to be traded last summer to escape the daunting shadow cast by LeBron James.

Maybe one day No. 2 will hang in the rafters. For now, it belongs to Sexton.

With an eye toward rebuilding – and maybe persuading James to re-sign this summer – the Cavs selected Sexton, the lightning-quick Alabama point guard, on Thursday night with the No. 8 overall pick. As a freshman, the 19-year-old Sexton carried the Crimson Tide to the NCAA Tournament, for a brief time giving the school’s rabid football fans a late-winter diversion before coach Nick Saban blew his whistle in spring practice.

The Cavs believe Sexton, who earned his ”Young Bull” nickname in high school for his charge-ahead playing style, can help them finally offset the loss of Irving. Without him, Cleveland lacked a dependable second-scoring option for James; the club spent the entire season with a virtual revolving door at the position as coach Tyronn Lue started eight point guards.

Irving’s absence was never felt more than in the Finals as the Golden State Warriors only had to concentrate on James. The Cavs didn’t have another player capable of breaking down their defense.

Sexton gives Cleveland a new weapon.

He’s in good hands. At Alabama, Sexton played for former NBA guard Avery Johnson Tre'Quan Smith Jersey Saints , and he’s being passed to Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, a 14-year pro looking forward to developing the youngster.

”I’ve watched him play,” Lue said. ”I understand who he is as a player and as a person, talked to his parents a lot throughout the course of his college selection, so I know them very well. I’m just excited, man. To be able to have a young talent that I can help mold and build and make better and teach him what suit to wear, what shoes to wear with a suit, how to tie a tie, when you go to dinner, things like that that Bryan Shaw and Robert Horry and Ron Harper and those guys taught me, so I’m very excited about that.”

Sexton wowed the Cavs during his personal workout, which came one day after Cleveland was swept by the Warriors. He attended Game 4, and as he witnessed James Rick Leonard Jersey Saints , Kevin Durant and others competing at the highest level the game offers, Sexton could imagine one day being part of the action.

”Like the seats were shaking,” he said. ”Fans were screaming. Just I feel like I’ll be ready to play in something like that when it’s my time.”

Sexton smiled throughout his introductory news conference, which came following a nearly sleepless night in New York. And while he came across as easygoing and affable, there’s a darker side to Sexton.

On the floor, he’s ferocious.

”When you get between those lines, there’s no friends,” he said. ”When you get between those lines it’s us against them, and we’re trying to win. It’s like a switch that cuts on. It’s go time when you get on the court.”
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