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Message Publié: 18 Jan 2019, 08:04 

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WASHINGTON (AP) A salary-cap squeeze threatened to slam the Washington Capitals‘ Stanley Cup window shut. Instead http://www.officialknightsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-james-neal-jersey , it busted it wide open.When the dollars didn’t add up to be able to keep a handful of key contributors to back-to-back Presidents’ Trophy-winning teams, the Capitals went bargain hunting to sign bought-out winger Devante Smith-Pelly, who general manager Brian MacLellan termed a ”project.” Up against the cap at the trade deadline, they acquired lightly used defenseman Michal Kempny from Chicago.”Some of the best acquisitions are ones that are under the radar, ones that fit almost seamlessly,” coach Barry Trotz said. ”Some of the best deals that we’ve made are those ones that, even myself I’m like, `Hmm, that’s a little bit of an upgrade, not a big one.’ And they ended up being the biggest upgrades because they’re not sexy names.”Kempny said ”probably nobody knew my name when I came here or played in Chicago,” and Smith-Pelly had his name on the back of three other NHL teams’ jerseys before this season. Now they’re key pieces for a team one win from the Stanley Cup after the Capitals hit on exactly the kind of moves every championship contender is looking to make.All it cost was a one-year deal at the league minimum to sign Smith-Pelly after he was bought out by the Devils, and a third-round pick to get Kempny from the Blackhawks. Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Braden Holtby have led Washington to this point Jonathan Marchessault Jersey , up 3-1 on the Vegas Golden Knights with the chance to raise the Cup after Game 5 on Thursday night. But they wouldn’t be here without the contributions of Smith-Pelly and Kempny.After a seven-goal regular season, Smith-Pelly has six goals in the playoffs, including potential series daggers in Games 3 and 4 of the final. This isn’t exactly where the 25-year-old thought he’d be just under a year ago when he found out a minute before the buyout deadline that the Devils were cutting him.”You only get so many chances to stick,” said Smith-Pelly, a 2010 second-round pick who bounced from Anaheim to Montreal to New Jersey, never putting up more than 17 points in a season. ”I knew that this could be my last one, so I kind of took the buyout personally and listened to what the coaching staff had to say and what they wanted, and just went out there and did it.”Smith-Pelly wasn’t even guaranteed a roster spot when he signed. He developed into a teammate on and off the ice that helped propel the Capitals to another division title despite losing forwards Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson and Daniel Winnik, and defensemen Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk last summer. He was the Capitals’ Masterton Trophy nominee for perseverance and dedication to hockey after taking an incident of racist ”basketball, basketball, basketball” taunts and turning it into a positive when he facilitated money be donated to Fort Dupont Ice Arena in Washington.”What happened was obviously pretty negative Womens Bobby Orr Jersey ,” Smith-Pelly said. ”But for the people of Chicago to feel that they needed to donate money and for me to give it to Fort Dupont I thought turned a pretty bad thing into something that could change many kids’ lives in that area.”Smith-Pelly always seems to find the positive. He brushed off a puck to the face at the morning skate Monday and scored a back-breaking goal that night.Kempny has done the same. Stepping on a puck during pregame warmups led to a spill and stitches across the bridge of his nose, but the 27-year-old missed no time. He then pumped in a Game 4 goal that helped put the Capitals on the verge of winning the Cup.It’s the latest impact Kempny has made on his new team after fitting in as a top-four defenseman alongside John Carlson.”He played big minutes against top players, be it the (Evgeni) Malkins and the (Sidney) Crosbys, and he’s done a really good job,” Trotz said.” He’s just one of those players that is effective – efficient, effective, gets it done. You’re not going to see a lot of offense. He’s got some great looks, though. You talk about a guy who’s developing maybe from more of a stay-at-home type of defenseman to a guy who recognizes opportunity.”This is the opportunity Kempny had been waiting for after being a third-pairing defenseman with the Blackhawks, and sometimes a healthy scratch. Coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t a fan, so the Capitals made a deal arguably more meaningful than Evander Kane to San Jose, Paul Stastny to Winnipeg, or Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller to Tampa Bay.”Adding Kempny helped a lot,” MacLellan said. ”I think we had him projected right. He’s a good skater Marc-Andre Fleury Jersey , a good puck mover. I know he was not always in the lineup in Chicago, but he was our No. 1 target going into the trade deadline.”Carlson watched video of Kempny’s games to get an understanding of his new defense partner. Kempny had to regain his confidence after feeling like the ”last warm body on the bench.””When you are not playing, you can’t be a better player. It’s impossible,” Kempny said. ”I never played in Chicago against top lines. I didn’t know if I could play against them or not. But I got a chance here, so I proved to myself that I can play against top lines.”The Capitals have shown they can play against and beat anyone, with Smith-Pelly and Kempny proving to be perfect pieces for a team eying a championship.”Everything’s worked out very well,” Smith-Pelly said. ”If we end up winning, that would be the cherry on top.”—More Stanley Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/StanleyCupFinals— GLENDALE, Ariz. — Now that the Vegas Golden Knights are well into their second NHL season, they’re finally starting to resemble an expansion team.The Arizona Coyotes? Much like the Golden Knights, they don’t look anything like they did a season ago. The Golden Knights and Coyotes meet for the first of four times this season on Wednesday at Gila River Arena, and the two desert rivals couldn’t be more dissimilar than they were in the 2017-18 season.Article continues below ...Then, in its first NHL season Nate Schmidt Jersey , Vegas won four of five from Arizona, two in overtime.The Coyotes were 2-14-3 through 19 games a season ago; now they’re 9-9-1.The Golden Knights, a surprise team from start to finish in an inaugural season in which they reached the Stanley Cup Final, were 15-6-1 through 22 games; now they’re 9-12-1 — and have the same number of points (19) as the Coyotes despite playing three more games.“They’re not going to surprise people this season,” Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said Tuesday. “Everybody’s ready for them. Maybe there’s a little bit of the Stanley Cup Final hangover. But they’re still a hard-working team and they’ve got a lot of pieces.”The two franchises illustrate how quickly poor teams can get better, and good teams can quickly fall off, in modern day American pro sports.The teams’ last two games show that, too.The Golden Knights breezed to a 6-3 win on Sunday at Edmonton, a Oilers loss that helped lead to the firing of coach Todd McLellan and Vegas’ second win in three games.But the next night, they fell behind by seven goals in a 7-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday.“It’s hard to believe this happen the way we played (Sunday) night, but that’s hockey I guess,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. “I’m pretty disappointed and I hope they (the players) are disappointed because they didn’t show up.”They were.“There’s too many games where that’s happened,” Vegas forward Reilly Smith said. And teammate Nick Holden said http://www.officialknightsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-oscar-dansk-jersey , “It was a lack of effort. … It looked like we were two steps behind. It can’t happen again.”Now, the Golden Knights will play their third game in four nights during a challenging stretch in which they’ll play five games in seven days. They’ll get only Thursday off after the game against the Coyotes before playing another back-to-back, against Calgary and San Jose.Arizona beat Nashville 2-1 on Thursday. But after beating the team that owns the NHL’s best record, the Coyotes turned around two nights later and wasted long stretches of dominance while losing 2-1 to the Boston Bruins in a game they outshot Boston 18-1 during a span of more than 30 minutes.“I think there are some individuals who have to play better for us,” Tocchet told radio station KQFN. “We’re the type of team that can’t have four to five guys in each game playing below average. We’re the type of team that needs to have everyone play well and contribute.”Despite putting together a five-game winning streak three weeks ago, the Coyotes have lost five of seven. Vegas has lost four of six.One reason is goal scoring; through Tuesday games, Arizona was second-to-last in scoring with 48 goals (2.53 per game); Vegas was tied for 22nd in the 31-team NHL with 57 goals (2.59 per game).Marc-Andre Fleury (9-8-1) is expected to be back in goal for Vegas after backup Malcolm Subban gave up seven goals on 32 shots in Calgary. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper (4-5-1) is expected to make his eighth consecutive start for Arizona, although starter Antti Raanta (lower-body injury) could return for a Friday home game against the Colorado Avalanche.The Coyotes, currently thin on the blue line, also could welcome back defensemen Alex Goligoski (lower body) and Jakob Chychrun (upper body) as early as Wednesday.“We’re playing a lot of teams in our division (right) now. This is a big game for us,” Tocchet said. “It’s a proverbial four-point game. More than ever, we want to be a consistent team in division games.”


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