ARLINGTON Authentic Taylor Hall Jersey , Va. (AP) Like tourists flocking to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom, the Pittsburgh Penguins making a trip to Washington in the playoffs has become a rite of spring.The Penguins and Capitals will face off in the second round for the third consecutive year with the core groups changed only slightly from past battles. Back-to-back Stanley Cup-champion Pittsburgh still has playoff MVPs Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and Washington still has stars Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom trying to make the Eastern Conference final for the first time.We faced each other for a lot of games, and we should know each other right now inside out, Backstrom said. Thats just how it is. Its usually tight series and one-goal games. Were excited about this one.Its hard not to get the Groundhog Day feeling about these teams meeting for the fourth time in the past 10 years. The Penguins won the previous three series despite not having home-ice advantage, twice winning Game 7 in Washington on the way to capturing the Stanley Cup.But this year is different in many ways, most notably on the Pittsburgh injury front. Malkin and winger Carl Hagelin will miss Game 1 on Thursday night in Washington. Coach Mike Sullivan said Malkin will travel, making him a possibility to play in Game 2 this weekend after missing the end of the Philadelphia series with an apparent lower-body injury.I think guys have to step up in different roles maybe, Crosby said. I dont think anybody has to put too much pressure on themselves. Collectively we can find ways and those are guys who arent easy to replace, but thats what were faced with.A year after the last series between these two division rivals, gone from the Penguins are forwards Nick Bonino, Chris Kunitz and Matt Cullen Womens Will Butcher Jersey , defensemen Trevor Daley, Ian Cole and Ron Hainsey and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Gone from the Capitals are forwards Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson and Daniel Winnik and defensemen Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk.They have different personnel, we have different personnel, said Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, whos back after missing the 2017 playoffs because of neck surgery. The series is going to play out differently. The game is going to be won differently. You dont know how it is going to go.Pittsburgh, trying for a rare championship threepeat, has won nine of 10 all-time series against Washington, many of which predate current players and coaches. But Capitals coach Barry Trotz said its fitting his team must again go through its nemesis to advance.Asked why this year the outcome will be different, Ovechkin said: I dont know. One day, it have to happen. If we want to get success http://www.officialislanders.com/authen … ech-jersey , we have to beat Pittsburgh and move forward.SID VS. OVICrosby has won 44 of the 70 previous games against Ovechkin in the NHL regular season and playoffs, world junior championships, world championships, World Cup and Olympics. There may not be another dueling hat tricks game like the one in the 2009 playoffs, but Crosby and Ovechkin are red hot going into their latest showdown. Crosby is tied at 13 points with linemate Jake Guentzel for the scoring lead in the playoffs, and Ovechkins five power-play goals helped Washington beat Columbus in six.This year I think hes playing his best, but its good to see, Backstrom said of Ovechkin. Hopefully everyone can raise our level here in the second round.POWER PLAYERSThe Penguins relied heavily on their top-ranked power play unit to land a 12th straight playoff berth the longest active streak in the NHL but their title bid will rely heavily on a penalty kill thats been uneven at best. Pittsburgh was a middling 17th during the regular season (80 percent) but killed 90.5 percent of Philadelphias power plays in the opening round. Washington scored just once with the man advantage in four regular season meetings with the Penguins, who kept Ovechkin in check.You have to reduce his time, Letang said. You dont want him to have all kinds of time to really use that puck.MURRAYS METTLEPenguins goaltender Matt Murray won the Cup twice as a rookie by NHL standards after backstopping the Penguins to titles in 2016 and 2017. He missed all of Pittsburghs playoff series against Washington, however, while recovering from a lower-body injury. The 23-year-old has been up and down against Washington in his brief career and is coming off a Philadelphia series in which he flip-flopped between great (two shutouts) and not-so great (allowing four-or-more goals twice). Still Anders Lee Jersey , Murray has never lost a playoff series hes played in, and even after giving up four quick goals in the first 21 minutes of Game 6 against Philadelphia, he limited the Flyers to just one the rest of the way to give his teammates time to rally.HOLTBY DIALED INCapitals goaltender Braden Holtby allowed six goals on 35 shots through the first two games of the Penguins series last year before getting his game back together. He has only allowed 10 on 137 shots in four-plus games since replacing Philipp Grubauer this time around and looks like a goalie who can match Murray save for save.AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed. COLUMBUS, Ohio Two teams trying to find their footing in the first month of the season meet Thursday night when the Philadelphia Flyers face the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.The Flyers (3-3-0) blew a three-goal lead on Tuesday but survived for their first home win of the young season with a 6-5 shootout victory over the Florida Panthers.The Blue Jackets (3-2-0) have not played since they were roughed up at Tampa Bay in an 8-2 loss to the Lightning on Saturday.Article continues below ...The teams No. 1 goaltenders didnt have their best games the last time out.Philadelphias Brian Elliott was in goal when the Flyers surrendered the big lead against the Panthers, but coach Dave Hakstol remains confident in the teams Elliott even though he pulled him from that game in the third period with a 5-4 lead.We have a plan going forward, Hakstol said. Moose is our No. 1 guy, plain and simple. (Tuesday) nights a tough game for a goaltender to play. Was it his very best, no. When I took him out, he just got scored on on a breakaway that we gave up in a two-goal hockey game. So, theres a lot of things that went into that.Columbus Sergei Bobrovsky has been in goal for both of the Blue Jackets losses, including the debacle at Tampa Bay. The eight goals were the most he has allowed in his NHL career.But Bobrovsky has owned his former team, posting a 10-3-1 career record against the Flyers that includes two shutouts Andrew Ladd Jersey , a 1.91 goals-against average and an .933 save percentage.Hes unreal. He plays amazing against us every time, Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. I think hes the hardest goalie to score on. Hes athletic. He makes saves and your jaw drops (because) you wouldnt expect him to make them.A big problem for the Blue Jackets in the blowout loss was their special teams. The Lightning converted 4 of 7 power play chances after going 0 of 8 in their first two games.Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets were unable to capitalize with their own power play (0 of 5). They had a four-minute power play early in the second period and managed only two shots on goal.Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella is trying to figure out the right combinations on his forward lines and special teams. The top line of Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Cam Atkinson is not the problem, having accounted for 14 points and six of the Blue Jackets 16 goals in five games.Its a constant monitoring, I guess, of where were at, Tortorella said, according to The Columbus Dispatch. I know people always go, Hes changing his lines. It happens to all coaches. But then, when youre not changing your lines to try to get some offense Anthony Beauvillier Jersey , (people say) Why didnt he change his lines? Its just something I have to watch closely, especially so early in the year.In addition to trying to get more contributions from centers Alexander Wennberg, Riley Nash and Lukas Sedlak, Tortorella hopes to give his fourth line of Oliver Bjorkstrand, Sonny Milano and Sedlak more playing time.I just simply have to get (them) in more offensive situations without taking it away from other people, too, Tortorella said. Its a hard thing to do because Im still concerned about just our overall flow of the offensive game. So thats what Im juggling.The Flyers hit the road looking to play more consistently than they did their last time out. Jakub Voracek and Jordan Weal scored the goals in the shootout that allowed Philadelphia to avoid an embarrassing cave-in loss to Florida.Weal also had a goal in regulation and an assist as the Flyers bounced back from a 1-0 home loss to Vegas on Saturday.He built on what he did Saturday afternoon, Hakstol said of Weal. (Tuesday) night, he and his linemates went out and played the exact same way as they did Saturday afternoon and they were able to chip in some key offensive numbers for us.