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WASHINGTON (AP) It sure looked as if Alex Ovechkin was slowing down Adidas Jordan Schroeder Jersey , at least by his standards.This time a year ago, Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals were limping away from another early playoff exit. His 16 even-strength goals in the regular season tied for the lowest of his career. Injuries limited him to five goals in 13 playoff games.Then a funny thing happened. Coach Barry Trotz took time from visiting his son in Russia to meet with Ovechkin and talk about changing and evolving his game at age 32. Time doesn’t stop, not even for the greatest goal-scorer of his generation. Trotz and general manager Brian MacLellan wanted more goals, better foot speed and for their cornerstone player to take care of his body to be able to handle more time on the ice.”That’s just life: You have to change, you have to grow,” Trotz said. ”He was motivated to show everybody that he still is a great player in this league.”Ovechkin led the NHL with 49 goals in the regular season, 15 more in the playoffs as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner and showed in his 13th season he could lead his team to the Stanley Cup. Ordinarily a team would be running out the clock on the final three seasons of a 13-year deal with a player of his age, but now Ovechkin is a Stanley Cup champion and there is no telling how much more the big forward can do in his NHL career.”Was tough time Adidas Chris Kunitz Jersey , but we fight through it and we get result,” Ovechkin said. ”It’s just something special. I don’t know. I’m just very excited and I’m very happy right now.”Hours after the Russian superstar lifted the Cup on the ice in Las Vegas, President Donald Trump devoted his first tweet of the morning to Ovechkin and the Capitals.”Congratulations to the Washington Capitals on their GREAT play and winning the Stanley Cup Championship,” Trump tweeted . ”Alex Ovechkin, the team captain, was spectacular – a true Superstar! D.C. is popping, in many ways. What a time!”Ovechkin likely hadn’t gone to sleep when the tweet was delivered at 4:12 a.m. Las Vegas time and he retweeted it. Next week, Ovechkin will be the star in a parade down Constitution Avenue six months after Trump on inauguration day and this summer will take the Cup back home to Moscow.After that Adidas Brandon Manning Jersey , the next challenge starts. Ovechkin last summer adjusted his training methods in Russia, and he seemed rejuvenated when came back to the Washington area.Now he has to do it all over again with a happily shorter summer.”As you’re getting older, we’re going to have to train a little different so you become the athlete you always have been, because these young kids can absolutely fly,” Trotz said.Ovechkin looked like he was flying all season, from seven goals in his first two games to one on the power play Thursday night in the Cup clincher against the Vegas Golden Knights. But goal-scorers don’t typically keep up this pace – Ovechkin was already the oldest player to finish first in goals since Phil Esposito in 1974-75.”He was very comfortable and he was very confident,” longtime teammate Nicklas Backstrom said. ”He was really calm. Everything was really good. It’s impressive the way he scores goals and the way he worked out there. He was just a machine there in the playoffs.”Owner Ted Leonsis said recently his only regret about signing Ovechkin to a $124 million, 13-year deal is that it wasn’t longer. With three years left at a salary-cap hit over $9.5 million Adidas Cam Ward Jersey , Ovechkin has already exceeded the expectations of that monster contract with three Hart Trophies, seven Maurice ”Rocket” Richard Trophies and now the playoff success that had long eluded him.”We worked so hard through all the years and we were together,” Ovechkin said. ”It’s just like a dream.”—More Stanley Cup coverage:— SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche are making strides on the road.Carl Soderberg scored twice, J.T. Compher broke a third-period tie and Colorado beat the Florida Panthers 5-2 on Thursday night.The Avalanche won their 11th road game after winning only 15 all of last season.“It’s just the hunger and the will to succeed from our guys,” coach Jared Bednar said. “Maybe our expectations (last year) weren’t high enough on the road and I think this year we’re trying to take the next step and continue what we’ve been doing at home.”Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog also scored for the Avalanche. Philipp Grubauer stopped 33 shots.“We feel like every game we’re there,” Soderberg said. “We’re feeling it right now and want to keep it going.”Aaron Ekblad and Colton Sceviour had the goals for the Panthers. Roberto Luongo made 32 saves in his second game back from a knee injury.“They’re a good team offensively and if you make mistakes, they’re going to make you pay Adidas Matt Calvert Jersey ,” Luongo said. “We had a good first 40 minutes and for some reason we didn’t come out in the third. They popped two quick ones and that was it.”The score was tied at 2 in the third before the Avalanche scored twice in 44 seconds. Compher put Colorado ahead when he tipped in a shot by Landeskog at 6:21. Soderberg’s second goal of the game, a one-timer from the left circle, made it 4-2 at 7:05.“(We) were hounding the puck,” Bednar said. “Maybe two or three pucks they kept alive just inside the blue line in order to extend the shift. When you do that, pressuring the puck, you’re not giving them any time, you get tired down in there, and I think that’s what happened.”The Panthers challenged Soderberg’s goal for goalie interference Adidas Conor Timmins Jersey , but the call stood.“Their big line came out mid-shift (and) we got trapped in our end,” coach Bob Boughner said. “We had three chances to get it out, all three failed, back of the net. They get the one on the very next shift and it’s game over.”Landeskog added an empty-net goal with 1:34 left.Soderberg snapped a 1-all tie with his short-handed goal. He took a shot from the right circle that hit Luongo in the face mask and bounced into the net at 5:44 of the second.The Panthers tied it about a half-minute later on Ekblad’s power-play goal. Ekblad took a pass in the left circle and fired the puck past Grubauer at 6:19.Rantanen gave Colorado a 1-0 lead when he tipped in a shot from Patrik Nemeth at 10:40 of the first. Rantanen has a 10-game point streak.Sceviour tied the game 1-all after he redirected a shot in front from Bogdan Kiselevich with 2:07 left in the first.NOTES: Rantanen has 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) during his point streak and leads the NHL in assists (35) and points (47). … Nemeth played his 200th NHL game. … Panthers C Nick Bjugstad returned to the lineup after leaving the game against Boston on Tuesday in the third period. Bjugstad took a hit into the boards from Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton.UP NEXTAvalanche: Visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.Panthers: Host the New York Rangers on Saturday.

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