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The Pittsburgh Penguins are reeling

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WASHINGTON — as they prepare to renew their rivalry with the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.Pittsburgh (6-4-3) limps into the nation’s capital having lost four straight (0-3-1) and being outscored 18-6 in the process.Matt Murray stopped 23 of 27 shots before being pulled in the third period as the Penguins endured a 5-1 home loss to the New Jersey Devils Shayne Gostisbehere Jersey , who had lost three straight themselves, on Monday night. The Penguins’ goal came from defenseman Jamie Oleksiak in the first period.Article continues below ...“Obviously, we’re concerned,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told NHL.com. “We don’t want to lose four games in a row. In this particular point in the season, it’s so early in the season, it’s more about the process than anything. Right now, I think we’re chasing the game.”On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Sullivan’s search for answers led him to split up the power-play pairing of Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby in practice.One power-play unit included Olli Maatta, Malkin, Phil Kessel, Bryan Rust and Patric Hornqvist. The other had Kris Letang, Jack Johnson, Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Dominik Simon, with Crosby in a new position Andrej Sustr Jersey Womens , manning the left-half wall.“Sometimes just like a line combination, if it gets a little stale and goes through some struggles, then sometimes just by splitting it up gives them a fresh look,” Sullivan told the Post-Gazette. “It could possibly spark something.”The Penguins have scored just twice in their last 19 power-play chances.“Our execution hasn’t really been there as a whole consistently,” Crosby told the Post-Gazette. “We’ve been guilty of maybe forcing plays or struggling in different areas. Whatever it is, we haven’t been consistent.”The Capitals (also 6-4-3) did some line tinkering before Monday night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers and it paid off.Washington coach Todd Reirden dropped Jakub Vrana from the first line to a fourth line with Travis Boyd — making his season debut — and Devante Smith-Pelly. The trio accounted for two goals on their first two shifts in a 4-2 home win over the Oilers.“I think we needed that win, and we knew they have a pretty good team,” Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin told the Washington Post. “Obviously, I think tonight the (Boyd) line set the tone. Two shifts, two goals. It’s pretty big.”Ovechkin added his 11th goal of the season and T.J. Oshie his seventh. Pheonix Copley stopped 31 shots for his second win of the season.The Capitals will be trying to win consecutive games for the first time this season when they skate against the Penguins.“You’re always looking for consistency and at times here we’ve found it for stretches, for good stretches, and right now we’re not really finding that consistency.” Oshie said. “So we’ll look to do that in our game and it starts with the start Wednesday night.”The Penguins won the teams’ first meeting of the season 7-6 in overtime on Oct. 4 at PPG Paints Arena. Letang and Guentzel scored twice for Pittsburgh, and Oshie scored twice for Washington.Braden Holtby is 8-9-3 with a 3.10 goals-against average and .906 save percentage against the Penguins. Murray is 5-4 with a 3.93 GAA and .875 save percentage versus Washington.Ovechkin has 34 goals and 23 assists in 53 career games against the Penguins. Crosby has 20 goals and 45 assists in 46 games versus Washington, and Malkin has 19 goals and 41 assists in 41 games. SEATTLE (AP) From his office about 1,000 miles away from T-Mobile Arena http://www.flyersshoponline.com/authenti...ick-jersey , Tod Leiweke has watched the Stanley Cup playoffs with a growing appreciation for what is taking place in Las Vegas.He was keeping an eye on the Golden Knights even before he became president of Seattle Hockey Partners LLC, the group looking to bring an expansion NHL franchise to the Pacific Northwest. Once he took charge of Seattle’s efforts , Leiweke’s interest intensified, just as Vegas began its run to the upcoming Stanley Cup Final.”They’re playing the game with great joy and they’re having fun and it’s just inspirational to watch,” Leiweke said. ”We’re absolutely loving it and living vicariously through them.”The Golden Knights’ success in their inaugural season has been unprecedented as Vegas prepares for Game 1 on Monday night against the Washington Capitals. It’s also seemed to have heightened the expectations for the next wave of NHL expansion.Seattle is on deck. If the NHL awards the city a franchise, it could be on the ice as early as the 2020 season. It would require a $650 million expansion fee and a renovated arena. There’s also talk of future growth, with Houston mentioned regularly as a possible destination for the league.NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has met with new Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who is certainly more open to acquiring an NHL franchise for Houston than former owner Les Alexander. Seattle is certainly further ahead in the process by showing interest, but Houston has the arena and a potential owner already in place for the near future.For now all the focus is on what’s happening in Seattle. And if Leiweke is feeling any additional pressure for his potential franchise given Vegas’ success on and off the ice, he’s not showing it.”Well, to tell you the truth, I guess someone could interpret it that way that there’s all of a sudden this unusual pressure on us but in fact all they’re doing is helping us,” Leiweke said. ”They’re showing us how successful this league could be, the brilliance of the game, they’re showing us what happens when a team comes together and plays inspired hockey. We don’t at all see it as anything other than just a great thing for the National Hockey League. Those that come before us will set the table for us. When I think about what they’ve done my endorphins go off and I have such admiration and we’re truly inspired by it.”The indications about six weeks ago http://www.flyersshoponline.com/authenti...cny-jersey , when Leiweke was hired, led those involved in the expansion process to believe some type of conditional approval would be granted by the NHL Board of Governors during their June meeting, to be followed by full approval in September. The staggered approach was to make certain construction on the arena would begin in late October as scheduled.That has changed. Bettman told The Associated Press this week that the Seattle expansion won’t be formally addressed next month.”What we have said to the people – David Bonderman’s group – is we’re on your timetable. There’s information that needs to be gathered after information is submitted. We have to finish doing our due diligence and our homework. We need to have the timetable understanding as to when the building’s going to get done. We can move as fast or as slowly as you want. There’s no rush,” Bettman told the AP. ”We’re in the middle of the process. They’re doing their homework, and they’re proceeding on two fronts because they’ve got to renovate a building and they’ve got to pursue the team and they’re doing both very nicely. They’re working with the city, they hired Tod Leiweke.”Is it going to be on the June agenda? No. After that, could it be September? Could it be the annual meeting in December? It’s possible.”Leiweke was hoping to have a true rooting interest in the finals, but the Tampa Bay Lightning were ousted in the Eastern Conference finals by the Capitals. Leiweke was the CEO of the Lightning from 2010-15 and was part of the group that turned around the organization, both with its on-ice success and in the stands, rejuvenating a fan base that had slumped following Tampa Bay’s title run in 2004.The experience in Tampa Bay gave Leiweke an understanding of what it’ll take for Seattle to have a successful franchise. And while it may not be on par with what Vegas is accomplishing, Leiweke sees no reason why Seattle won’t have a chance to be a contender from the start.”I won’t be foolish enough to say we’re going to make it to the Stanley Cup (Final) in our first year but I believe that we can absolutely build a team that is long-term competitive here,” Leiweke said. ”So when we think about this we don’t say look, we’re resetting a goal and our goal is to make the Stanley Cup in year one. But our goal is to replicate a good part of what they’ve done by building an incredibly competitive program where those players are proud to pull on that sweater.”—AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.—More Stanley Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/StanleyCupFinals
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