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MessaggioInviato: gio ago 09, 2018 7:59 am 
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The Stanley Cup Final is a block party for the Washington Capitals.

For all of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s points on offense and Braden Holtby’s saves in net Robert Golden Color Rush Jersey , the Capitals are one win away from blocking their way to the Cup. They’ve gotten in front of almost a third of the Vegas Golden Knights’ shots, blocking with enough smarts and precision to take a 3-1 series lead into Game 5 Thursday.

”There’s more to blocking shots than just going out there and trying to get hit,” Holtby said. ”We’re doing a great job of creating the right layers, guys going out there strategically to know which lane I’m picking for sight lines and they’re taking away the other half and making big blocks.”

Washington is blocking in quantity and quality in the final, 86 total, in limiting Vegas to 124 shots on Holtby – many of which he’s seeing and stopping . Even star captain Alex Ovechkin is blocking shots as he gets closer to tasting his first championship.

”You see `O’ jumping in front of shots, it makes everyone on the team want to do the same,” winger Devante Smith-Pelly said.

Blocking shots is a team-wide commitment right now and comes from a season’s worth of skaters, goaltending coach Scott Murray, Holtby and Philipp Grubauer getting on the same page. The goalies have worked on making sure they can see past blocks to give players the confidence to get in front of pucks.

And in return, Capitals players study opponents’ tendencies and consciously decide when to try to block a shot and not so Holtby isn’t at a disadvantage.

”You obviously don’t want to cross in front of him,” center Jay Beagle said. ”You don’t want to become a screen. So if you miss the block, which happens, guys are good at shooting pucks and stuff Authentic Saquon Barkley Jersey , you want it still so from your standpoint you didn’t hinder Holts’ view.”

Defensemen have an understanding of which half of the net is their responsibility and which half is Holtby’s. Forwards closer to the blue line have to react quickly, take the right angle and get to the shooter.

”If guys have time and space, they’re going to be able to sift one through,” Smith-Pelly said. ”For the forwards, it’s just going out there pretty hard and just getting in the way.”

The amount of shots the Capitals have blocked through four games seems to be getting in the Golden Knights’ heads. They’re struggling to get quality shots through and resorting to settling for lower-danger scoring chances.

”If you’re going to take shots, make sure they pay a price for blocking those shots,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. ”Shoot it harder.”

Capitals coach Barry Trotz doesn’t want his players thinking too much about blocking shots or hesitating. He doesn’t care much about Ovechkin’s blocking form or the philosophy of shot-blocking as long as it keeps the puck out of the net.

”If you’re positionally sound, if you’re in shot lanes, block the shot,” Trotz said. ”It’s all about will.”

And that will can turn into skill. Washington has been comfortable and confident enough in the final to push the puck up ice quickly, and a well-timed block shot can set the table for an odd-man rush.

”The less shots they have, the more opportunities we’re gonna have in offensive zone,” defenseman Dmitry Orlov said. ”Sometimes when you block it, you get quicker pass and you jump on the rush and you got 3-on-2 or 4-on-3.”

The Golden Knights by this point are well-aware of that. But they don’t really have a solution.

”You just have to – I don’t know – defensemen Royce Freeman Color Rush Jersey , puck fake, maybe move around, or maybe look for a guy off to the side, or put it off the end wall,” forward Alex Tuch said. ”There are a bunch of different plays that could happen and when they’re blocking shots they’re getting momentum from it, and if they’re blocking shots and having odd-man rushes that’s even worse. ”

In addition to a suffocating neutral-zone trap that’s not easy to play but has frustrated opponents for four rounds, the Capitals have embraced a shot-blocking-when-it-matters mentality.

”It’s not exactly fun, but you got to do if you really want to win,” Smith-Pelly said. ”Everyone is on board with doing those things.”



More Stanley Cup coverage: Stephen Curry is back doing everything with fire, flair and without fear after impatiently spending almost a month and a half on the sidelines.

Curry played his most minutes since missing nearly six weeks with a knee injury, finishing with 28 points and helping the Golden State Warriors advance to the Western Conference finals for a fourth straight year by dismantling Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans 113-104 in Game 5 on Tuesday night.

”I think Coach did a great job though of just giving him a little bit here and there and tonight really just letting him go,” Kevin Durant said. ”You see when you let the dog off the leash what happens.”

Durant scored 24 points and Klay Thompson added 23 for the Warriors, who with a 15th straight home playoff win tied Chicago for an NBA record. The Bulls did so from April 27, 1990 to May 21 http://www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com/authentic-bo-scarbrough-jersey , 1991.

Davis had 34 points and 19 rebounds for a Pelicans team that overcame the loss of DeMarcus Cousins to a season-ending torn Achilles tendon three months ago to make this strong run. The Pelicans shaved the lead to seven points with two minutes left on a basket by Davis before Draymond Green’s turnaround fadeaway moments later.

Curry has his swagger.

”I feel confident in what I’m able to do out there,” Curry said. ”Timing could still get a little bit better with the ball and things like that when you start to get so excited, still when I’m out there missing six weeks is still appreciative of being out there playing. I’ll continue to get better, continue to get my timing right, continue to get back to the normal rotation, the normal minutes I’m out there playing and hopefully won’t look back.”

The Warriors advance to play the top-seeded Houston Rockets in what has long been an anticipated Western Conference finals matchup – with a Finals feel, perhaps. The series starts Monday night in Houston. The teams didn’t meet during the 2017 postseason, but the Warriors won a five-game series in the first round of the 2016 playoffs. Houston eliminated Utah in its Game 5 earlier Tuesday.

”We want to win another championship,” Green said, ”and it don’t matter who’s in the way of that.”

Curry, who returned for Game 2 after nearly six weeks out with a knee injury, knocked down an open 3-pointer midway through the third and raised his hands to get the crowd going, then made another less than two minutes later. He converted three free throws at the 6:25 mark following a hard foul by Jrue Holiday.

In the second quarter, Holiday shoved Curry hard into the basket http://www.ravensauthorizedshops.com/authentic-anthony-averett-jersey , enraging the two-time MVP who let the officials know how upset he was by the push and no call.

Holiday contributed 27 points and 11 assists, but even with better shooting, New Orleans couldn’t stay with deep, score-at-will Golden State.

”No matter what the score is, no matter the time, whatever it is, we play desperate,” Holiday said.

The defending champions are serious about a repeat title and took one step closer to that goal.

So far this postseason, with Durant and Green leading the way, the Warriors have admirably defended the slower San Antonio Spurs and now the imposing, push-the-pace Pelicans.

Green had another superb all-around night on both ends with 19 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and two blocked shots.

The Warriors came out of halftime with a 10-0 run over the opening 1:54 Adrian Clayborn Color Rush Jersey , forcing two Pelicans timeouts and taking control for the rest of the game.

Thompson hit back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the first to put Golden State up 17-10, the second right in front of his own bench as teammates erupted in celebration. He began 6 for 9 and had 14 points by the 4:10 mark of the first.

Durant became irate when Nikola Mirotic made a late, hard bump on a 3-point try with 5:23 left in the first – a play that was reviewed and Mirotic received just a common foul.

As Durant took free throws, Green tried to listen in on the Pelicans’ huddle before official Josh Tiven pulled him away.

”I don’t have a reaction, that’s Draymond,” New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. ”Should that surprise me?”

CURRY’S SERIES

Curry went 10 for 16 in 37 minutes playing his fourth game back from a sprained left knee he hurt March 23. His minutes have increased each game he plays, up to 31 in Game 4 and 37 on Tuesday. He added eight assists and seven rebounds in Game 5.

He was 32 for 67 with 15 3s in the series.

”It feels like he’s back now,” coach Steve Kerr said.

On a side note, he went 0 for 5 on his signature tunnel shots before the game.
Immagine
TIP-INS

Pelicans: Rajon Rondo dealt with a sore groin that limited his time in the second half. … New Orleans made 6 of 9 3s in the first and finished 10 for 24 from long range. … New Orleans got back in it with an 11-0 run in the second.

Warriors: Green is the first Warrior to ever average a triple-double in a playoff series. … Durant scored 20 or more points in a 17th straight postseason game. His first five points moved him past two players – Chris Mullin (685) and Harrison Barnes (687) – into 10th place all-time for the Warriors in postseason scoring. … Curry (366) passed Paul Arizin (364) for second place on the franchise postseason list for made free throws. … Durant received the Al Attles Community Impact Award in a pregame ceremony. The Warriors Community Foundation will donate $15,000 to the charity Durant chose, Oakland Elizabeth House, which provides residences to women and children who have been homeless or faced violence or addiction.


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