Alex Ovechkin was held without a goal for the sixth straight game.

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Caps winger Tom Wilson moved up to the team’s top trio with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom last game, and those three guys are likely to see some time against Tampa Bay’s top six tonight.

Coach Barry Trotz was concerned as Ovechkin clutched at his left knee and put no weight on his left leg after the borderline hip check from Nazem Kadri before limping down the tunnel late in the first period. But Ovechkin returned to start the second and could laugh it off after the Capitals beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in Game 5 Friday night to take a 3-2 series lead.

He surpasses Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals this week and has dual-eligible category cog Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars in his sights at the one-quarter mark. Gaudreau is doing his damage alongside usual center Sean Monahan and has put forward Micheal Ferland (LW/RW, 20 percent owned) on the cusp of the top 100 forwards. Gaudreau has a 10-game point streak with seven multipoint games in the span.

“Watching film on them, they’re as electric and dynamic as it gets right now in the NHL,” says Wilson. “We’re going to have a big job, not only at five-on-five, but special teams where they’re good as well.

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The Russian Hockey Federation also said Ovechkin, who had five goals and three assists in 13 playoff games, would not be able to play at the world championships in Europe because of the injury.

“They have five dynamic guys on the power play, and everybody thinks it’s just Ovechkin, but if you cover him, then you’ve got Oshie and Backstrom, Kuznetsov and [defenseman John] Carlson to worry about, so it’s a very difficult lineup to handle,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said Friday before the team headed off to the nation’s capital. “The best thing is not to take any penalties.”

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, a shoo-in for Team Canada if the NHL was going, respects what Ovechkin said but doesn’t believe he would be willing to go to South Korea if there were no official deal.

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The Capitals are their usual soap opera. Backstrom and Ovechkin started the season on different lines and remained there until this week, when coach Barry Trotz reunited them. They produced a goal in the win over the Ottawa Senators. Ovechkin has 14 goals and seven assists on the season; Backstrom has struggled to three goals and 13 assists, with his helper on Ovechkin’s goal on Wednesday night his fourth assist in 14 games.

By the end of the Pittsburgh series, coach Barry Trotz had moved him down to the third line, and Ovechkin finished the playoffs with five goals and three assists in 13 games as he battled knee and hamstring injuries.

Adidas Capitals #8 Alex Ovechkin Red Home Authentic Women's Stitched NHL Jersey
Adidas Capitals #8 Alex Ovechkin Red Home Authentic Women’s Stitched NHL Jersey

In the statement, Ovechkin thanked Capitals owner Ted Leonsis for his support. Leonsis had gone on record saying he would allow Ovechkin and other top players to go to the Olympics if they wanted to, even if it meant missing Capitals games.

Fellow Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov assisted on each of Ovechkin’s first three goals Saturday night, as Washington took a 4-0 lead into the first intermission. Ovechkin added a fourth goal, also assisted by Kuznetsov, in the second period.

Ovechkin crushed Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner on his first shift back, nhl jerseys cheap and Kadri said the Capitals’ captain “was running around a little bit when he came back, so he must have been fine.” Ovechkin took some jabs at Kadri the rest of the night but said he didn’t see the replay to judge whether the hit was dirty.

Wilson shoveled the puck to Nicklas Backstrom, who went back to Wilson just as the trio entered Tampa Bay ice. Wilson fed Alex Ovechkin on the left side, and the Caps captain cranked a one-timer past Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy with just 1:24 remaining in the period.

Ovechkin, who will turn 32 on Sunday, played for Russia in the past three Olympics. Russia has a long history of using its top players in the Olympics, well before the NHL began participating in Nagano, Japan, in 1998. The Soviet Union, and then the Unified Team, won eight of 10 Olympic gold medals from 1956 to 1992.

Phil Kessel as much as anybody, knows how he can help his team.

Phil Kessel, Stanley Cup champion, playoff warrior, and now forever more seen in a different light.

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With the Sabres leading 4-3 in the third period, Phil Kessel scored for the fourth consecutive game to tie it. Evgeni Malkin sent a cross-ice pass to Kessel, who dropped to one knee and one-timed a shot past Robin Lehner with 6:11 remaining in the period.

Kessel, as much as anybody, knows how he can help his team. He can change the course of the game when the puck is on his stick along the half-wall on the power play. He has a shot that can alter the outcome of a series in the blink of an eye, as he did with his game-winning goal in the third period against the Ottawa Senators on Monday that evened their series at one win each.

Penguins #81 Phil Kessel Gold 2017 Stadium Series Stitched NHL Jersey
Penguins #81 Phil Kessel Gold 2017 Stadium Series Stitched NHL Jersey

One has to imagine that a strong finish to the end of the regular season and a good playoff showing for the Penguins, if the Pens end up qualifying for the postseason, will see Kessel among the final four forwards named on June 1. But it’s far from a lock. The problem facing Kessel, a right-handed shot, is that the U.S. has a plethora of quality wingers hoping for a spot on this team and many of them are also right-handed shots, such as Kyle Okposo of the New York Islanders and Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators who were not among the first 16, either. Among the forwards already named Blake Wheeler, T.J. Oshie and the league’s leading scorer Patrick Kane are right-hand shots.

“He deserves a lot of the credit, starting with the Phil Kessel trade,” Lemieux said. “That was a big piece. You saw how he played in the playoffs, just an amazing competitor.” But there is also no Cup for the Penguins without the HBK line’s contributions, Bonino between Kessel and Carl Hagelin an incredible force all spring long.

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The Penguins have struggled with possession this postseason, but around the time Kessel finally broke the scoreless tie, the Penguins were controlling 64 percent of the even-strength shot attempts, according to NaturalStatTrick.com. Forwards Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin are among the League’s best in power-play points, and Schultz should continue to benefit from their company; he has three PPP in 14 games after 20 PPP in 78 games last season.

Sometimes it looks like he’s searching for an escape. Ask Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel a question, and wholesale¬†nfl jerseys¬†and often he exhales. He looks over his shoulder, maybe for an exit, maybe for a Penguins staffer to break up the scrum. Then he answers in a way that suggests he just wants to get to the next question.

To fully comprehend why it was perfectly OK that Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel was yelling at teammates, at himself, at anyone who would listen after he returned to the bench after each shift in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, you need to understand his motives.

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Both Thornton and Kessel have been the subject of trade rumors this season. Although Thornton has a full no-move clause, one that Wilson insisted he has never asked him to waive, Kessel does not have complete control over his fate. So when Phaneuf rode Kessel into the boards and the two exchanged a few whacks in Game 3, Moss got a kick out of it because he saw two guys as competitive as any he knows going at it.

Credit goes to Sullivan and the way he’s used Kessel since he took over the Penguins. He and Kessel have had many closed-door sessions debating how he wants the talented winger to play. They’ve found a level of communication that has worked for the two of them, something that wasn’t always been the case with Kessel and past coaches.

A lack of finish hasn’t only affected Crosby this season. With the exception of forwards Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin, who are tied for the team lead with seven goals each, Penguins forwards have struggled to produce even-strength chances. If Kessel continues his strong play down the stretch and the Penguins enjoy playoff success with Kessel as a contributor, perhaps he’s among the final seven named on June 1. A lack of finish hasn’t only affected Crosby this season. With the exception of forwards Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin, who are tied for the team lead with seven goals each, Penguins forwards have struggled to produce even-strength chances.

Zdeno Chara of Slovakia will help anchor Team Europe’s defense.

Orpik blocked Zdeno Chara’s slap shot from the right point with five seconds remaining.

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Chara has certainly been to his fair share of captain’s practices and training camps through his 20 years in the NHL, but he has never lost his fervor for the game and that excitement that each new season brings.

“I love the game. I love everything about it,” smiled Chara. “I love the sacrifice. I love the training. I love everything about it. It’s so magical to me that you can come to an environment that you are always professional, you have to act that way, you have to play that way, you have to be a leader – so many things are so positive, everything about it.”

As the waiting game continues on an NHL decision for next year’s Olympic Games in South Korea, three-time Olympian Zdeno Chara still harbors hope of a solution, even while clearly frustrated with where things stand.

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The Bruins have won four of their past six and eight of their past 12 games. Prior to their loss to the Blues, the Bruins had allowed two or fewer goals in five straight games, including four wins.

Having Chara out of the lineup will put the onus not just on the defensemen, but the rest of the team to keep the opposition off the scoreboard.

“I definitely want to play beyond this season,” Chara told china nhl jerseys on Tuesday. “It’s really hard to put a number on it. Some people do and some people don’t. I just obviously want to keep playing in the NHL beyond this season. I love this game too much. I have made no secrets about it. I want to stay here with the Bruins and continue to play.”

Knowing that the team needed a spark, Zdeno Chara wasted little time showing Cassidy – and his teammates – that the message was received. The captain dropped the gloves with Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson just 40 seconds into the middle period and set the tone for the remainder of the night.

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Former Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara will anchor a blue line that also includes Chara’s Boston Bruins teammate Dennis Seidenberg and veteran Swiss defender Mark Streit. Roman Josi, who has emerged as one of the NHL‘s top defensemen, was also one of five defenders announced by general manager Miroslav Satan on Wednesday. Edmonton’s Andrej Sekera was the fifth member of the blue line corps named.

Boston Bruins #33 Zdeno Chara Black Women's Old Time Heidi NHL Hoodie
Boston Bruins #33 Zdeno Chara Black Women’s Old Time Heidi NHL Hoodie

“Very hard fought game as you could see on the scoreboard,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “It was obviously for most of the game and a lot of battles, a lot of physicality. Not that many pretty plays, some breakdowns, goalies played well.

“We should really focus on how we work in hard in training camp, get to know each other, and have a good preseason, and I think everybody wants to have a good start to the season,” said Chara. “It’s so important to have the good starts and to build on good games and have some consistency.”

“Yeah, I think anyone would be,” Marchand said. “For athletes to get themselves to that level where they can have the opportunity to play in the Olympics and then for someone to take that away from you, I don’t think that’s really fair. Again, that’s a long ways away and there’s more important things right now to focus on, and that’s playing hockey.”

Chara, who played in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Olympics for his native Slovakia, certainly isn’t alone in his sentiment as players grow increasingly frustrated with the standstill. A league source told ESPN.com Monday that there aren’t any Olympic meetings currently on the docket. The league and Olympic organizers are at odds over covering costs for players, with NHL owners hesitant to break up a season.

Like Patrick, Jonathan Toews made his NHL debut against the Sharks.

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Rookie forward Alex DeBrincat will play on the first line, joining Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad, when the Chicago Blackhawks play the Nashville Predators at United Center on Friday.

Toews became captain before the 2008-09 season, his second with the Blackhawks. He had played all of 64 NHL games. No one in League history had been named captain faster.

“We’ve been playing good hockey at times, sporadically, but obviously it’s not good enough,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “We get ourselves down in games and it’s just too little too late to try and come back. Throughout our games there’s some good things here and there. We’ve just got to be way more consistent.

Find a way to keep Jonathan Toews off the scoresheet. The St. Louis Blues eliminated the Blackhawks last spring in part because Toews was held without a goal in all seven games. Toews now has a playoff goal drought of 10 games, reaching back to the 2015 Stanley Cup finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Nashville needs to keep that drought going.

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The Blackhawks have lost in the first round of the playoffs that past two years, which knocked Toews and Kane down on this list. Also, Toews’ offense has dipped. His 0.29 goals per game last season were the lowest of his career. Rinne’s backhand save with his blocker on Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews at 5:11 of the third period.

“It’s a tough loss but we played well. We can definitely build on a lot of things tonight and just bring that tomorrow. We were skating well and moving the puck, being creative offensively with speed. Couldn’t really ask for more. I guess we just needed some puck luck around the net. But we did a lot of good things.”

Team CA. #16 Jonathan Toews Red Sawyer Hooded Sweatshirt 2016 World Cup Stitched NHL Jersey
Team CA. #16 Jonathan Toews Red Sawyer Hooded Sweatshirt 2016 World Cup Stitched NHL Jersey

Toews was outplayed by Ryan Johansen and Nashville’s top line as the Predators swept the top-seeded Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs in April. Still, he rejects the notion that this season is any more important than his previous time in the league.

“It was a slow start,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “We didn’t talk about much systematically or mistakes we were making. We talked about speed and effort and changed the lines to cheap hockey jerseys give it a different look, but you’ve got to give the players the credit because they went out in the second and third period and won a hockey game.”

After Jonathan Toews blocked a Jason Demers shot, he found Kane with a stretch pass behind Coyotes forward Brad Richardson and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Kane went backhand to forehand before beating Domingue five-hole.

Kane has consistently been a point-per-game player every season since 2009, except for one blip in 2011-12. He and Toews also have identical eight-year, $84 million contracts that kicked in during the 2015-16 season. Those deals carry a $10.5 million annual cap hit through 2022-23, which lessens their combined values vs. point production compared to the rest of the duos on this list.

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Others in the summer training group with Toews and Patrick included Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic and Vegas Golden Knights forward Cody Eakin. While Patrick basked in Toews’ wisdom, Patrick’s youthful energy of Patrick did something for Toews.

While Toews’ scoring slipped last season, he finished with 37 assists, right in line with his career numbers. He helped Panik turn into a steady presence, and coach Joel Quenneville doesn’t sound a bit concerned about how Toews will perform this year.

“It’s a fun, exciting atmosphere. There’s no doubt they’re excited to play and just to go out there and not necessarily be the underdogs, but just go out there and try and make teams make plays and score and frustrate them, and they’re really keying off that and getting some energy off that.”

His businesslike manner earned Toews the nickname “Captain Serious.” But it also showed that he’s the kind of player who never takes a night off and sets the kind of example that winning teams feed off. Toews doesn’t put up the kind of offensive numbers that longtime teammate Patrick Kane does, but his defensive skills, leadership and willing to do a lot of the grunt work that turn teams into champions are a big reason the Blackhawks are enjoying the greatest decade in their history.