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Alex Ovechkin is thrilled,
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TAMPA http://www.officialhockeyjetsshop.com/authentic-adidas-bryan-little-jersey , Fla. (AP) though hardly satisfied.The Washington Capitals star is headed to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in his 13-year career, eager to put more distance between the Eastern Conference champions and a lingering perception of Ovechkin and the Caps as playoff underachievers.”Finally we get what we want, be in the Stanley Cup Final,” the 32-year-old Russian star said. ”There’s still a lot of hockey to play.”Ovechkin scored just over a minute into Washington’s 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final Wednesday night.Braden Holtby stopped 29 shots to notch his second straight shutout. Andre Burakovsky scored two goals, and Nicklas Backstrom added an empty-netter to help the Capitals close it out.Now, they’ve got to do it again against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who are Western Conference champions in their inaugural season.”I feel very happy, but we’re not finished yet,” Ovechkin said. ”We’ve been waiting for this moment a long time.”The Golden Knights breezed through the Western Conference, scoring 43 goals and allowing 27 while going 12-3 to eliminate the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets during an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final.Vegas went 2-0 against the Capitals in the regular season, winning 3-0 at home on Dec. 23 and 4-3 at Washington on Feb. 4.”It’s a great story. They’re a good hockey team, they have a lot of good players, players from other teams – I know a lot of people say we didn’t want those players, but we all did,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said.”The rules were the rules. They did a great job, they’ve been galvanized as a group. There’s nothing tighter than that first-year group because there’s no pre-conceived notion. Leadership’s not in place, nobody knows where to live, all those things are galvanizing.”The Golden Knights’ top scorer during the playoffs has been former Lightning forward Jonathan Marchessault with 18 points (eight goals Womens Connor Hellebuyck Jersey , 10 assists). Alex Tuch is second among league rookies with nine points (six goals, three assists).Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who’s in the Stanley Cup Final for the third straight season and fifth time overall, has been a huge part of the team’s success, too, with a 1.68 goals-against-average and .947 save percentage.Fleury and teammate James Neal return to the Cup Final after facing each other in the championship round last year – Fleury with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Neal with the Nashville Predators.”They’re deep. They’re probably the most veteran team still playing in the playoffs. But they’ve done a fabulous job,” Trotz said. ”They’re a fabulous story. … It’s a great story, not only for our game, but for everybody.”To reach the Cup Final for the first time since 1998, the Caps beat Tampa Bay three times on the road to run their record to 8-2 away from home this postseason.The Lightning, the NHL’s highest-scoring team during the regular season, didn’t have a goal over the final 159 minutes, 27 seconds of the series.Ryan Callahan had Tampa Bay’s last goal at 33 seconds of the second period in Game 5.”It’s fun. I’m more happy for that group than I am personally,” Trotz said. ”They did it together. Everybody has been in all year. We kept growing on and off the ice.”And shoving aside a decade of playoff frustration.”The playoffs are fun,” Trotz added. ”They got to the next level and realized they’re not going to be defined by anything they’ve done or not done in the past.”—AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this story.— VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Vancouver Canucks forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin announced they will retire at the end of the season.The 37-year-old twins disclosed their plans Monday in a letter on the team’s website before addressing media later.The Sedins are in their 17th season in the NHL, all with Vancouver. They led the Canucks to within one game of winning the 2011 Stanley Cup.”There’s been a lot of talk,” Henrik Sedin said at Rogers Arena. ”We felt the longer the season went, it became clearer to us this was going to be our last year.””It’s a happy day for all of us Dmitry Kulikov Jersey ,” Daniel Sedin added. ”We’re really comfortable where we’re at.”They relived the tough early times when they were criticized for being too slow and soft, the high-flying glory days, the crushing defeats, and the last three seasons that have seen the Canucks lose more combined games than any other team in the league.”It’s always tough losing,” said Daniel Sedin, who along with his brother will play just three more NHL games. ”But with the team we had, you have to stay positive, you have to keep playing the right way, and trying to teach the young guys.”Heading into the final year of their contracts, the Sedins penned an open letter in the fall stating their desire to remain with the only franchise they’ve ever known – even if it meant forgoing the chance at a Stanley Cup elsewhere.”We know we had the best jobs in the world,” Henrik Sedin said Monday. ”We tried to treat it that way. … We haven’t looked too far ahead or we haven’t looked back. I’m sure we will after this is done.”The twins said in their letter Monday that they originally wanted to wait until after this season to make a decision, but they decided the time was right to make the call.Selected second and third overall at the 1999 draft after the Canucks made a series of trades to grab both brothers, the Sedins have been the faces of the franchise for more than a decade. However, it wasn’t initially a smooth transition from Sweden to North America.”There’s lot of people that believed in us early on that were part of this organization,” Henrik Sedin said. ”If they would have listened to a lot of voices out of this room, it would have been easy to trade us because we didn’t live up to the hype.”The Sedins would eventually do so to become one of the most fearsome duos in the league, with what sometimes seemed like a telepathic ability to find each other with passes. Their vision and ability to find each other on the ice often left opponents shaking their heads.”We’ll miss them as people and as players,” said Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden, who played six seasons with the Sedins. ”Happy for them because I know this is a decision they’ve come to for the right reasons.”Two likely Hall of Famers when their numbers are eventually called, Henrik Sedin has 1 Youth Dustin Byfuglien Jersey ,068 points (240 goals, 828 assists) in 1,327 regular-season games, while Daniel Sedin has 1,038 points (391 goals, 647 assists) in 1,303 outings.Henrik added 23 goals and 55 assists in 105 playoff games, with Daniel adding 25 goals and 46 assists in 102 games.Henrik won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer in 2009-10 with 112 points. He also won the Hart Trophy as league MVP that year.Daniel won the Art Ross in 2010-11 with 104 points. He also won the Ted Lindsay Award as the league MVP voted on by the players.”When they dropped the puck, we wanted to be on the ice,” Henrik Sedin said. ”We wanted to be the go-to guys.”The Sedins plan to stay in Vancouver for the time being and are looking forward to spending more time with family.”Going on the road, leaving the kids home, family, that’s been the toughest part,” Daniel Sedin said. ”It will be fun to be around them a lot more.”The core that got so close to a Stanley Cup title in 2011 has been slowly stripped away, with the Sedins among the only players left.With players like Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat at the front of a new wave under the leadership of rookie coach Travis Green, the Sedins said they feel they’re leaving the franchise in good hands.The Canucks also now have some holes to fill. Daniel Sedin has 21 goals and 31 assists in 78 games this season, while Henrik Sedin has three goals and 45 assists in 79 outings – a combined 100 points Vancouver will have to replace.”It’s the right time for us to leave,” Henrik Sedin said. ”We’ve been part of a coaching staff and a group that we really enjoyed working with.”The Canucks host the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday before the Sedins’ final home game Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes. The twins will then wrap up their careers Saturday at Edmonton.”It’s a chance for us to thank the fans,” Daniel Sedin said. ”We told our teammates this morning they should be regular games. Treat us the same way.”It should be no different this last week.”—
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