Now that Mike Sullivan and Barry Trotz have matched wits in a playoff series for three consecutive years Jordan Poyer Jersey , they harbor very few secrets.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals know each other inside-out from 17 postseason games since 2016. The coaches are very familiar with the dynamics of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin and just about all the other moving pieces.
”Every move that we make there’s a counter move, and every move they make there’s a little counter move,” Trotz said. ”It’s funny: A lot of them are the same things that we’ve seen at different parts in the last couple series. They just come in different order sometimes at you. There’s only maybe so many bricks that you have and they are just lined up a different way all the time.”
Sullivan moved his pieces around as Pittsburgh tied the series at 2-2, and now Trotz gets the next chance in their chess match for Game 5 on Saturday (7 p.m. EDT, NBC). After Alex Ovechkin put no shots on net for the third time in his playoff career – with Tom Wilson suspended the first of three games – it starts with finding the right mix on the top line.
Trotz tried Devante Smith-Pelly with Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, and that trio was outshot 21-9 at even strength. Maybe Smith-Pelly will be back on that line, maybe he won’t after the Capitals coaching staff pored over video to see what went wrong.
”We’re looking at that,” Trotz said. ”I think that whole line has to be better for us. They’re going to need to be productive.”
Pittsburgh’s top line of Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby and whoever else has been incredibly productive. All 10 of the Penguins’ goals in the series have come with Crosby on the ice, and Guentzel leads all players in the playoffs with 10 goals and 21 points.
”I just think he’s the best player in the game,” Sullivan said of Crosby, who played with Guentzel and Dominik Simon in Game 4. ”Sid certainly makes everybody around him better players but you’ve got to give Jake a lot of credit for the game that he’s playing.”
The Penguins got speedy winger Carl Hagelin back from injury while the Capitals lost Wilson. That’s a disadvantage for Washington, but the spotlight is still on Trotz to make the necessary adjustments as Capitals-Penguins becomes a best-of-three series.
”I think every game both teams recalibrate, if you will http://www.chiefsauthorizedshops.com...i-watts-jersey , in some areas,” Trotz said. ”There’s little changes we’ve noticed with them, and there’s some changes that we added in. Some of them worked and some of them didn’t have the effect that we wanted to. At the end of the day, it’s two guys going nose to nose, battling for position, battling for free pucks, executing on plays under pressure. Once we put a plan in place, we put the players in charge, really.”
CHESS MATCH II
In the West, Nashville coach Peter Laviolette also made a key change in the series between the NHL’s top two teams, benching Game 2 double-overtime hero Kevin Fiala in favor of veteran Scott Hartnell for more size, strength and experience against Winnipeg. That, plus replacing Alexei Emelin with Yannick Weber, allowed Nashville to better counter imposing Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien in tying the series at 2-2. Game 5 is Saturday night in Nashville (9:30 p.m. EDT, NBCSN).
Laviolette said making a change involves taking into account the opposition, building Cheap Brian Allen Jersey , a player’s experience and style of play.
”They’re never easy,” Laviolette said. ”But I thought the guys that went in the lineup last night did a really good job. Hartnell played a good game. He did what we were hoping he would do, and I thought Yannick Weber went in and played a good game.”
With the Jets held without a shot for the first 12 minutes of the third period, Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice started mixing up his lines. He swapped centers, skating Mark Scheifele with Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine with Paul Stastny between Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor. Laine scored his first goal of the series and first in the postseason since Game 2 on April 13 against Minnesota.
DERBY DAY ODDS
The betting favorite to win these two series will be whoever comes out on top in Game 5, based on history alone. The 256 previous times where it was tied at 2, the Game 5 winner went on to win the series 78.9 percent of the time. So there’s no urgency lacking.
”We’re going to need our best effort of the series probably in Game 5 to get a win,” Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen said. ”I think we’re building a belief that we can beat these guys. We know we’re going to have to play really well, but it’s possible. We think we can do it.”

AP Sports Writers Will Graves in Pittsburgh and Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed.


Note: While many NBA fans have said if LeBron James‘ supporting cast did more, the Cavs would be more competitive. BJ Armstrong, a former member of Jordan’s supporting cast, shares his perspective. Armstrong says everything new is old, everything LeBron is Jordan. His take on James and the Cavaliers:

The NBA Finals are giving me a feeling of deja vu. Everyone keeps saying all LeBron James needs is help. Maybe true but, with the greatest respect Youth Kolton Miller Jersey , he also needs to help himself.
In 1989-90 I became one of the group known as the Jordanaires, a/k/a the Bulls. From the day I arrived in Chicago, I knew what everyone else on the team did: Michael Jordan was a phenomenal talent. Yet, as the team deferred to MJ’s talent, we could not get past the hurdle of defeating the ”Bad Boys” Pistons in the conference finals. Seeing the Cavs in these Finals, I’m seeing the way we were playing then. It’s textbook isolation basketball. Back in the last century, MJ would get the ball and the rest of us on the team would all stand around while he scored. It was a sight to see, but it wasn’t team basketball. What it was was all of us enabling MJ to showcase his best individual talent.
At some point, MJ realized that, as great as he was, he alone could not beat the Pistons. That’s what the Jordan Rules were all about – employing a defensive scheme with the sole purpose of limiting hero basketball. Similarly, LeBron has to commit to the team’s system of play. So far, he’s been incredible, but he’s not been a willing participant in the team. This is where trust comes in. He has to trust the system.
It reminds me of when everyone was telling Jordan he didn’t have enough to win. His teammates just weren’t good enough – me being one of them. What was really missing was the trust to win. Once MJ found that trust, we beat the Pistons and went on to win the NBA championship many times over. In doing so, MJ discovered that his teammates WERE good enough Los Angeles Rams Jerseys Womens , because he was part of the team.

Greatness is empowered in a system where you pass the ball, not pound it. Everyone has to be committed to this system. The best player on the team has to realize that he needs the team in order to win – and I don’t mean passing the ball when he gets double-teamed. He, and everyone else, has to buy into the system. MJ passed me the ball not because he was being double-teamed, but because he trusted we were playing together as a group. Michael’s greatness was, in part, knowing how to move the pieces on the board in the triangle offense system of play. Isolation basketball will always be part of the game. But the system has to be predicated on ball movement and, more importantly, player movement.
LeBron James has proven he can lead by example. My wish for LeBron is to understand the following: He’s an exceptional leader because he leads by example. The next step on the road to Legend, which he’s already on, is to trust he’s the best player in the best system anywhere in basketball. Then his coach, the system and his teammates – the TEAM – will be good enough to win.

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