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LAS VEGAS (AP) Alex Ovechkin finally got to hoist the Stanley Cup. And then he raised the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the Stanley Cup Final.Fellow Russian linemate Evgeny Kuznetsov and goaltender Braden Holtby certainly did some heavy lifting of their own.In helping deliver a championship Washington had wanted for more than 40 years Custom Colorado Avalanche Jerseys , Kuznetsov was arguably the Capitals‘ most instrumental player. The 26-year-old, fifth-year pro finished with a playoff-leading 32 points, including his 20th assist in Thursday night’s series-clinching 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5.”He was unbelievable,” Ovechkin said of Kuznetsov. ”He makes the magic over there.”Holtby, overshadowed coming into the Final, bested three-time Stanley Cup champion goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. He not only allowed the Golden Knights just eight goals over the last four games, but won in Vegas twice.Holtby is now 45-37 in 82 career playoff appearances – all with the Capitals – while compiling a 2.04 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and six shutouts. That is the second-highest save percentage and fifth-best GAA in NHL postseason history among goaltenders with at least 50 outings.Washington coach Barry Trotz said it took losing the No. 1 role to Philipp Grubauer late in the regular season and the start of the postseason for Holtby to rediscover the foundation of his game he developed in Saskatchewan.”Just like all great goaltenders, you go through some dry spells in your game where you lose your way a little bit and your foundation,” Trotz said. ”We had a conversation and he was very respectful. He understood that he wasn’t going to start in the playoffs. And he said, `If I get a chance to go back in, I’m gonna be really good for you.’ And he was.”His unbelievable stick save on Alex Tuch to lock up a win in Game 2 will ring forever in Caps history.”I think any big play is going to be a turning point,” Holtby said humbly. ”It was a big play in the game www.bluejacketsshoponline.com , but the credit really goes to our guys because we didn’t get complacent. We knew we could do something special and we did.”With Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Holtby leading the charge, Washington wasn’t about to blow another 3-1 lead, an unwelcome feature of its postseason past. Prior to this season, the Capitals had lost five series when leading 3-1, the most in the NHL.After losing Game 1, the Capitals won four straight to win the Cup, outscoring the Golden Knights 16-8 along the way. For the series, Kuznetsov scored one goal and assisted on seven others, including Jakub Vrana’s goal that opened the scoring for the Capitals in Game 5.”Kuz is a great player, he’s a really, really talented player,” Vrana said. ”He can be the difference every game. He’s just unbelievable.”While Trotz acknowledged Ovechkin’s play and how much he’s meant to the franchise Columbus Blue Jackets T-Shirts Womens , he said Kuznetsov single-handedly took over games for the Capitals and proved to be just as valuable during their championship run.So much so, he wasn’t sure who was going to be named MVP of the Final.”That was a toss-up for me, I thought they were neck and neck if you ask me who gets the Conn Smythe, I thought that’s gonna be a tough choice,” Trotz said. ”You probably have to split that in half for me.”Trotz said Kuznetsov is just scratching the surface, and the rest of the league is starting to find just how good he is.Kuznetsov, who finished the regular season with 27 goals and 56 assists, scored 12 goals and had 20 assists in the postseason. He was instrumental in Washington’s 6-2 demolition of the Golden Knights in Game 4, when he registered four assists to tie a single-game Stanley Cup Final record.”Since Day 1 of training camp, we really play for each other, we work for each other and we really try to help the young guys, older guys – it doesn’t matter,” Kuznetsov said. ”We just play for your partner and we compete every day.”—More Stanley Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/StanleyCupFinals OTTAWA Columbus Blue Jackets Hoodies Womens , Ontario (AP) — In the midst of a so-so sophomore season, the Golden Knights finally scored in bunches.William Carrier put Vegas ahead for good after Ottawa rallied from a three-goal deficit, and the Golden Knights beat the Senators 5-3 on Thursday night.Vegas, which reached the Stanley Cup final in its inaugural season but has hovered around .500 so far in this campaign, scored more than three goals in regulation for the first time since Oct. 16, a span of nine games.“We played a real good game,” coach Gerald Gallant said. “The puck finally went in the net for us so that was a real key for us to get five goals. We’re happy with that.”Jonathan Marchessault, Shea Theodore, Nick Holden and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare also scored for the Golden Knights. Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves.Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel and Thomas Chabot scored for the Senators, who fell behind 3-0 late in the second period before coming back to tie it in the third. Craig Anderson stopped 37 shots.Trailing 3-1 to start the third, Ottawa scored twice in just over a minute to make it 3-3. Dzingel scored at 6:57, and Chabot converted into a wide-open net as Fleury was caught sprawling.Vegas regained the lead about a minute later as Carrier won a battle along the boards Columbus Blue Jackets Hats Womens , stepped around Mark Borowiecki and beat Anderson stick side.Bellemare got the final goal into a wide-open net after Anderson got tangled with Carrier. The Senators challenged unsuccessfully for goaltender interference, a call that infuriated coach Guy Boucher, who said he isn’t sure what constitutes interference anymore.“I don’t know anymore,” Boucher said. “All of us together, we just don’t know anymore. I’ll let them decide and that’s it. I can’t make it, whether it’s our game or somebody else’s game. I guess that’s why I’m not paid for those decisions.”The goal with 8 minutes remaining was deflating for the Senators.“It’s human nature,” Boucher said. “I was 100 percent sure it was going to be goaltender interference, so it’s just mind-boggling so by the time you get rid of the frustration and all that it’s two goals. If it’s one goal, it might have been different.”Vegas dominated much of the second period and took a 3-0 lead late when Holden jumped into the play and lifted the puck over Anderson’s right shoulder. It was the well-traveled defenseman’s first goal for Vegas.Ottawa finally solved Fleury 29 seconds later when the goalie poke-checked Chabot and the puck went right to Duchene. Mike Stone picked up an assist, extending his point streak to five games.“I thought we did some really good things,” Duchene said. “Obviously when you tie it 3-3 in the third, it can go either way. We had the momentum, so tough way to lose.”Duchene’s goal came after Borowiecki accepted a challenge from Ryan Reaves to drop the gloves.“There’s been a couple high hits on our team the last couple weeks Custom Columbus Blue Jackets Jerseys ,” Reaves said. “Everybody knows that if you’re going to do that, you’re going to have to answer the bell. Good on him for answering the bell, not a lot of guys will do that, but good on him.”The Knights got two power-play goals in the first period. Marchessault opened the scoring 15 minutes in, and with 20 seconds remaining, Theodore fired a puck from just inside the blue line through traffic and past Anderson.NOTES: Senators rookie Brady Tkachuk returned after missing the previous nine games with a torn ligament in his left leg. He was held without a point for the first time since his debut. … Ottawa LW Max McCormick was a healthy scratch. … Vegas was without LW Erik Haula, who was injured Tuesday against Toronto.UP NEXTGolden Knights: At Montreal on Saturday in the third of their four-game trip.Senators: Visit Tampa Bay on Saturday night in the first of back-to-back games in Florida.

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