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  • 28 August 2019
    WASHINGTON -- One night after shuffling his lines produced an overtime loss at Columbus, coach Barry Trotz and the Washington Capitals return home to face Metropolitan Division rival Pittsburgh at the Verizon Center on Wednesday night.The Capitals (9-4-2) lost for the third time in four games, 2-1, after their apparent go-ahead goal in the third period was erased by a coachs challenge and replay review ruling that T.J. Oshie was offside.Nicklas Backstrom, on a line with Oshie and Marcus Johansson, scored Washingtons lone goal. Center Jay Beagle got the start between Alex Ovechkin and Andre Burakovsky, but Ovechkin was scoreless for the fourth straight game.I thought we played better, we created more chances, Backstrom said. Just a little unlucky we couldnt get two points there.Washington has managed just five goals in four games.Back-up netminder Philipp Grubauer made 25 saves. Braden Holtby (7-3-1, 2.16 goals-against average) gets the start Wednesday night against Penguins. He is 5-7-2 with a 2.71 goals-against average in 14 games vs. Pittsburgh.Pittsburgh (10-3-2) hasnt played since Saturdays win over Toronto. Wednesdays meeting will be the second between the teams following the Penguins 3-2 shootout win on opening night.Penguins coach Mike Sullivan has made some line changes as well, recently reuniting the trio of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel after a brief split.I thought they had a real strong game the other night. They generated a numerous amount of chances, Sullivan told the teams website. Since weve put them back together the coaching staff is very pleased with the looks that theyre getting and how theyre playing.Sullivan is also pleased with the play of Evgeni Malkin, who has 10 points in his last nine games (6 goals, 4 assists).Hes one of those players in the league that has the ability to be a difference maker, Sullivan said. Hes been very good on the power play. I think hes as dangerous a player as there is in the league off the rush. He can shoot the puck as well as pass the puck.Sidney Crosby has scored goals in seven of the nine games hes played.Tuesdays game started a stretch that will see Washington play three of four games vs. Metropolitan Division foes.Obviously when youre playing within your own division, theyre four-point games, Trotz told the teams website. Theyre extremely important, not that the other games arent. But you get an opportunity within your own division to have an effect on it.Johansson leads the Capitals with seven goals and five assists for 12 points. He is followed by Ovechkin, with seven goals and four assists. Ovechkin has 27 goals and 19 assists in 45 games against the Penguins.Crosby, meanwhile, has totaled 19 goals and 36 assists 38 games vs. Washington, while Malkin has 12 and 35 in 33 games.Sullivan said he would wait until game day to announce if his goaltender will be Matt Murray (4-0, 1.25 GAA) or Marc-Andre Fleury (6-3-2, 3.06) as the Penguins begin a three-game road trip.Penguins defenseman Derrick Pouliot practiced Tuesday for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury Oct. 20 against San Jose and will travel with the team. Marvin Jones Jr Womens Jersey . But when it comes to determining if Raymond will find a place on the Leafs roster when training camp concludes in a week, well, that decision will ultimately fall to the head coach. Barry Sanders Lions Jersey .S. 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EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Mark Dantonio closed the door of his spacious office and took a seat.Thats my go-to chair, he said, gesturing to another piece of brown, leather furniture.It might be a good week for him to switch things up at Michigan State.The Spartans (2-5, 0-4 Big Ten) have lost five straight games for the first time since 1991. No. 2 Michigan (7-0, 4-0) is up next and the rival is favored to win by more than three touchdowns Saturday at Spartan Stadium.Dantonio, though, is used to being doubted.No one thought he, or any coach, could turn a mediocre program into one of the best in college football as he did in recent years despite the nearby presence of traditional powers: Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame.Few, if anyone, predicted Michigan State could ever dominate the Wolverines as it has under Dantonio with three straight wins and seven in an eight-year stretch for the first time.And when Michigan was punting with 10 seconds left last season and a two-point lead at the Big House, the usually stoic coach was confident his players would find a way to win. They did, swarming around punter Blake ONeill after he bobbled a slightly low snap and returning the football 38 yards for a game-ending, game-winning play for the ages.A huge picture of Jalen Watts-Jacksons return hangs outside Dantonios office, just to the right of his door in a cant-miss spot for any visitor.What jumps out to Dantonio when he sees the picture or thinks about the improbable play?I guess you always have a chance, Dantonio said in an interview with The Associated Press. I would say the chance of that happening relative to the chance of us winning on Saturday, I would say we got a better chance of us winning on Saturday.If Dantonio can help his team extend its streak in the series, it would be the biggest upset in the rivalry since unranked Michigan State stunned the top-ranked Wolverines 28-27 in 1990. Back then, Michigan went for the win on a 2-point conversion with 6 seconds left and Desmond Howard couldnt control the football as he hit the turf after he appeared to get tripped by Eddie Brown.In the same corner of the same end zone 15 years later, Watts-Jackson lay with a broken hip after scoring a touchdown that validated the feeling Dantonio insisted he felt just before it happened.When I looked out there, I saw confident faces when I went out there, he said.These days, Dantonio and his players acknowledge confidence is lacking afterr following up a 36-win, three-year stretch with as many losses as they had from 2013 through 2015.ddddddddddddWhat does Dantonio see when he looks at his players faces this week?Theyve got to answer that on Saturday, he said quietly.Dantonio often has to answer Jim Harbaugh-related questions, but insisted Michigans coach does not consume his thoughts or provide an obstacle he cant overcome in recruiting.Im consumed by too many things. I cant control that, Dantonio said. What I can control, to some extent, is what is going on here. I think hes a great coach.The feeling is mutual.Hes done a great job, Harbaugh said. One of the best college football coaching jobs in the history of the game.Thats not a stretch.After Michigan State was a national power in the mid-1960s under Duffy Daugherty, the Spartans went to only one Rose Bowl and won eight games or more in consecutive seasons just once before Dantonio was hired to replace the fired John L. Smith for the 2007 season.Dantonio took the program back to the Rose Bowl three years ago -- for the first time since the 1987 season -- won a school-record 13 games two years ago and became the first Big Ten coach to have at least 11 victories five times in a six-year span. He won 12 games and a school-record third Big Ten title last year.Coach Dantonio is one of the greatest coaches in the country and has proven that over the last nine years, athletic director Mark Hollis said this week.Dantonios accomplishments and support hes getting, however, are not helping him rest easy. His offense is sputtering with a freshman quarterback behind a banged-up offensive line. His injury-depleted defense is looking overmatched, which is unusual. His mind races, trying to process problems and come up with solutions, day and night and he cant stop it even when his head hits the pillow.It doesnt get turned off. Thats a problem, Dantonio said. Ive always slept really good. Lately, not so good. I talk to my wife and we talk about things. We make sure I laugh. We pray. I dont read too much right now. I should say I should probably read to get my mind off things.---Online: AP college football website: and Larry Lage at and follow his work at ' ' '