for his voice.It was hoarse from days and nights of celebrating the Washington Capitals‘ Stanley Cup triumph and fans now had gathered on the National Mall after the championship parade. Oshie had enough left to start a chant among the tens of thousands of fans: “Back-to-back! Back-to-back!”With a full voice and the shortest summer of his career behind him Aaron Ekblad Jersey , Oshie hasn’t changed his tune that the Capitals can repeat.“If we continue with our style of play and everyone chips in like we did, I think we have a really good chance,” Oshie said. “I know the odds are against us, we had a short summer, everyone else has a couple more months of training on them. But we still have all the pieces.”Even though the Pittsburgh Penguins went back-to-back in 2016 and 2017, the odds are against Washington repeating despite bringing back an almost identical roster from last year’s run. What the Capitals showed teams gunning for the Cup in 2019 is how a championship window is never closed as long you make the playoffs. The Penguins , Boston and Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference, and the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues in the West, take note: Previous postseason success and failure is little indication of what’ll happen next.“They don’t give up after a lot of tough years,” Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko said of the Caps. “They work on their game, play hard and finally reach their goal. This is really good example for us. I think that’s what we need to try to do.”The race to the playoffs begins with the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights not favored to make it back to the Cup Final, Sidney Crosby ready to take back the trophy he has hoisted three times, Connor McDavid looking to lift the Oilers back into contention and an influx of talent in the West again threatening to make this spring another heavyweight rumble.San Jose added two-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson, St. Louis traded for center Ryan O’Reilly and Minnesota changed general managers to take another run at an elusive title. Tampa Bay kept its deep core together Aleksander Barkov Jersey , Boston is hoping for better health and Pittsburgh is loading up for another shot with Crosby eager to one-up career rival Alex Ovechkin again.“He’s very determined this year,” said Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, who like Crosby is a native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. “With the Penguins, it’s Stanley Cup or nothing for them. … They have a great team. But Sid’s their leader. Sid’s the best player in the world and he’s ready, for sure.”The Capitals’ run through the playoffs mirrored the Penguins’ three championships over the past decade in that they were built on stellar goaltending and center depth. Like Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and a host of third-line centers, Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom and Lars Eller showed they could match up against anyone and control games at home and on the road.“They were pretty deep, obviously, in the middle — or anywhere, really,” Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. “Obviously the center position I think is something that has a lot of impact in different ways in the game.”The Blues can now go down the middle with O’Reilly, Brayden Schenn and Tyler Bozak Evgenii Dadonov Jersey Kids , and the Maple Leafs’ signing of John Tavares gives them a 1-2-3 punch of the former Islanders captain, Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri.Matthews, Kadri and the Maple Leafs pushed Washington to six games before losing in the first round in 2017 but now have the horses to contend with anyone in the league. With Cup expectations hovering over the center of the hockey universe, the Capitals’ years of playoff roadblocks and eventually breaking through make for another important lesson for the Maple Leafs.“That’s really how hard it is,” Matthews said. “It’s not easy. It’s not just a walk in the park. Just because we added John Tavares doesn’t mean it’s going to be a walk in the park for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs. We still got to get there and no matter who you’re playing, it’s going to be a battle.”One battle the Capitals now face is trying to avoid any kind of Stanley Cup hangover, which either manifests as a slow start or a rough patch once the adrenaline wears off this fall. Jonathan Toews, who led the Blackhawks to the Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015 said: “It’s not really my problem. That’s up to them to figure out.”Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who went through the Capitals to help the Penguins win it all in 2009, 2016 and 2017, also isn’t in the business of giving Washington advice, but he remembers it being an uphill climb.“Every time I went to the Final, next (season) the first couple months were a little rough http://www.officialhockeypanthersshop.com/authentic-adidas-james-reimer-jersey ,” Fleury said. “It’s just trying to forget about the past as quickly as possible. … The parity’s so good around the league that the playoff race is very intense down the stretch, so you need those points early in the season to help you out.”Parity is reality in a league that has featured a turnover of seven of 16 playoff teams each of the past two years. Getting in really is half the battle for everyone, and especially the Capitals with the mental challenge of gearing back up after winning it all.“The guys go through such a grind to win a championship, and they know how much they’ve exerted,” said Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour, who was captain of the Hurricanes when they won the Cup in 2006 and missed the playoffs in 2007. “The physical part is not the issue. It’s mentally getting ready to battle it up again and rev it up. … If you can figure that out, then I think you have a chance to win a few Cups in a row.” PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Buffalo Sabres might be for real. The Pittsburgh Penguins might be in real trouble.The proof came over the final 30 minutes of Buffalo’s rousing 5-4 overtime victory on Monday night. The Sabres reeled off the final four goals, the last on a shot from the right circle by Jake Eichel that squirted past Casey DeSmith 45 seconds into the extra period to give Buffalo its sixth straight win.“It’s just unbelievable the resiliency the past two weeks,” Sabres head coach Phil Housley said.Buffalo beat the Penguins for just the second team in the last 11 meetings by hanging in there after Pittsburgh took a 4-1 lead. Momentum shifted early in the second period when the Sabres killed a 5-on-3 power play to keep the deficit at three. Zach Bogosian kick started the comeback with a one-timer 10:39 into the second and the young Sabres took off from there.Tage Thompson, Casey Nelson and Casey Mittlestadt which has won six straight for the first time since the 2009-10 season. Carter Hutton withstood an early flurry from Pittsburgh and finished with 36 saves.“We just stayed the course and we didn’t bend,” Housley said. “And obviously Carter Hutton made some huge saves at the right time.”Tanner Pearson had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, his first points with Pittsburgh since being acquired in a trade with Los Angeles last week. Phil Kessel picked up his 10th for the Penguins and Jake Guentzel and Derick Brassard also scored.DeSmith made 35 stops but spent most of the final 30 minutes under heavy duress from the Sabres. Pittsburgh has won just once in its last 10 games.“We’re well aware of the position that we’re in,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. “We’ve got a proud group. I do think we’re getting better in a lot of areas. We’re not getting the results.”The Penguins woke up Monday tied with Florida for last place in the Eastern Conference thanks to the franchise’s longest extended funk since Sidney Crosby’s rookie season in 2005-06. Crosby missed his third straight game with an undisclosed upper-body injury but cautioned that it was far too early for Pittsburgh to panic.And for the first 30 minutes, the Penguins did what they’ve done to Buffalo so regularly during Crosby’s tenure: they dominated.Brassard gave Pittsburgh the lead 8:46 into the first when he beat Hutton to the stick side on a 2-on-1 for his second goal of the season. The Sabres tied it less than three minutes later on a sequence that seemed to sum up Pittsburgh’s bumpy start. Dominik Simon tripped while attempting to clear the puck near the blue line Youth Jamie McGinn Jersey , allowing Buffalo to keep it in. Sam Reinhart whipped a cross-ice pass to Thompson, who fired a one-timer that beat DeSmith cleanly.Pittsburgh responded when Kessel tapped in a pretty feed from Pearson with 3:45 left in the first. Guentzel put in his own rebound 1:24 into the second and Pearson followed with his first goal in 32 games as the Penguins pushed their lead to 4-1.Yet little has come easy for Pittsburgh during the opening quarter of the season and the improved Sabres kept chipping away.Eichel forced a turnover behind the Pittsburgh net that started a sequence that ended with Bogosian ripping a one-timer by DeSmith from the right circle. Nelson drew Buffalo within a goal with 84 seconds left in the second when Nelson’s shot from the point smacked off Pittsburgh defenseman Jack Johnson and into the net.The Sabres continued to push, and when Mittelstadt beat DeSmith to draw even just past the midway point of the third, Buffalo had all the momentum it would need while improving to 5-6-1 when trailing after two periods this season.“It’s something else,” Hutton said. “Obviously, it’s something we don’t want to get in the habit of, but it seems to be a habit. Just resiliency here. We never stop working.”NOTES: Both teams went 0 for 3 on the power play. … Penguins placed C Matt Cullen on injured reserve Monday with a lower-body injury. Sullivan said Cullen is out “longer term.” … Pittsburgh D Kris Letang became the second defenseman in team history to play in 700 games, joining Brooks Orpik (703). … The Penguins brought back Hall of Famer Craig Patrick to serve as a pro scout. Patrick spent 17 years as Pittsburgh’s general manager from 1989-2006, helping the franchise win consecutive Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992. … Buffalo F Jason Pominville played in his 681st game with the Sabres, tying Rick Martin for ninth-most in franchise history.UP NEXTSabres: Welcomes Philadelphia on Wednesday night.Penguins: Host Dallas on Wednesday night.