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 Patricia is an NFL head coach 
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Post Patricia is an NFL head coach
Nashville Predators players stood around the locker room after beating the Washington Capitals 4-3 Seahawks Will Dissly Jersey , huddled around cellphones watching and rooting for more franchise history.

Seconds after the Boston Bruins lost to the Florida Panthers in regulation on Thursday night, Mattias Ekholm yelled out, ”Yeah boys!” as teammates high-fived to celebrate the first Presidents’ Trophy in the team’s 19-year history.

A year after the Predators made an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final as the eighth seed in the Western Conference, they’ve clinched home ice throughout the playoffs as the top team in the NHL during the regular season.

The road to the Cup now runs through Nashville.

”It’s a pretty good night for us,” captain Roman Josi said. ”Obviously the big goal for every team is to win the Stanley Cup, but you can’t win the Stanley Cup right now. It was something we took a lot of pride in, and I think it’s a big accomplishment for us.”

Josi, who scored a power-play goal in the clincher, said he and fellow Predators players looked at the rafters of other buildings this season and wanted to earn more than just the one ”Western Conference Champions 2016-17” banner that currently hangs in Bridgestone Arena.

They accomplished that in Washington thanks to two goals from Craig Smith, a game-winner from Ryan Johansen and 29 saves from backup goaltender Juuse Saros, setting a franchise record with 52 wins in the process.

”It’s always just been about home ice and trying to stay in our building, give ourselves the best chance to be successful in the playoffs,” coach Peter Laviolette said. ”With that, those things happen. You end up winning a division, a conference and first place in the league.”

David Poile Authentic Kyzir White Jersey , who has been general manager since the franchise’s inception, shook hands and congratulated each player as he walked out of the locker room.

While Laviolette and his staff watched the end of the Bruins-Panthers game in the coaches’ office and players took it in on hockey operations manager Brandon Walker’s phone, Poile watched alone from the concourse on one of the prouder nights in Predators history.

”We all have goals. That was part of it,” Poile said. ”It feels real good. When we get to a week from now and we start the playoffs, we’ll be moving on to something else, but I’m very proud of our franchise. This is the first time we’ve done it and it means a lot and I’m proud of everybody, all the effort that was put in all year.”

It was almost poetic that the Predators won the Presidents’ Trophy by beating the Capitals, who won it the past two seasons and three times since 2010.

Days after the five-year anniversary of his now-infamous trade from Washington to Nashville, star winger Filip Forsberg remarked: ”We’ve seen especially here (in Washington) that the trophy doesn’t mean that much going forward. But I think just the home ice is going to be huge.”

The Metropolitan Division-champion Capitals, who have home ice through at least the first two rounds, got two goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin’s league-leading 47th of the season and 25 saves from Philipp Grubauer in the loss.

Washington could still face New Jersey, Philadelphia, Columbus or back-to-back defending Cup-champion Pittsburgh in the first round.

”I like the way we’re playing,” said coach Barry Trotz Cheap Trenton Cannon Jersey , who was in Nashville for that franchise’s first 15 seasons and has Washington in the playoffs for the fourth time in four years. ”We’re playing with lots of speed, we’re playing with lots of pace, and that was a good test.”

The Predators know there are more tests upcoming, this time as the Cup favorite that won’t fly under the radar. But after going 9-2 at home on their run to the final a year ago, they assured themselves of more playoff hockey in Music City than on the road.

”We learned what it was like to play at home in the playoffs,” defenseman Ryan Ellis said. ”To have the home ice is huge for our team.”

NOTES: Smith’s two goals gave him a career-high 25. … Johansen scored the go-ahead goal with 5:27 left. … Kuznetsov has seven goals and 11 assists in his past 10 games. … Capitals F Alex Chiasson left the game with an illness. … Ovechkin was honored before the game for playing in 1,000 NHL regular-season games. In addition to the traditional silver stick and Tiffany crystal from the team and league, Ovechkin’s teammates got him and his wife a trip to Spain, presidential suite tickets to see FC Barcelona and a Lionel Messi jersey. … Rookie Eeli Tolvanen was a healthy scratch for the Predators after playing three games in a row.

UP NEXT

Predators: Return home after three-game road trip to face the Columbus Blue Jackets in each team’s season finale Saturday.

Capitals: Host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday in a potential playoff preview.



Bob Quinn has spent two years reshaping the Detroit Lions' roster and staff, bringing in players and coaches he knew from their years together with the New England Patriots.

The Lions have won nine games in each of the past two seasons, which wasn't enough for Jim Caldwell to keep his job. Quinn believes they will be drafting from a position of strength.

"With the way the roster is today, I don't think I'm in a position to reach for any position of so-called need," Quinn insisted. "I'm not eliminating any position."

The Lions would stun everyone if they took a quarterback No. 20 overall Thursday night with many millions invested in Matthew Stafford, or a wide receiver with more than a few options on the team. They could justify bolstering coach Matt Patricia's first team at any other position, especially defensive end and offensive guard.

UP FRONT

The Lions were last in the league in rushing and have been among the NFL's worst offensively on the ground in recent years. Even if they made a bold move to trade up and select Penn State running back Saquon Barkley Youth Mike Remmers Jersey , it may not matter if the offensive line doesn't improve. There seem to be four solid blockers: tackles Taylor Decker and Ricky Wagner, guard T.J. Lang and center Graham Glasgow. The team's fifth option, Wesley Johnson, isn't likely an attractive option; the New York Jets didn't want to re-sign him.

That may all add up to Detroit drafting a guard or center in the first round.

"I have no problem taking an interior offensive lineman," Quinn said.

ON THE EDGE

Detroit desperately needs help at defensive end because Ezekiel Ansah is playing on a franchise tag, possibly in his last year with the team. Quinn plans to make picks based on what the team will need up to 18 months away.

"We kind of look that far, knowing that guys are going to be unrestricted free agents after this year, but also the following year," Quinn said. "There's a really good balance there that we have to talk about and kind of envision our needs not just for today, but in the years ahead."

The other options at defensive end such as Anthony Zettel and Kerry Hyder, who missed all of last season with an Achilles tendon injury, don't generate much excitement.

MAYBE LATER

Quinn may choose a running back in a later round, hoping to find a flyer. He did add another former Patriot, LeGarrette Blount, to the position to compete with Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick.

"If we had to go play a football game today Tarik Cohen Jersey , I think we have enough running backs to be competitive," Quinn said.

SAME PAGE

Patricia is an NFL head coach for the first time entering the draft, but he has a lot of experience with Quinn because they worked together with the Patriots for a dozen years.

"I had heard about Matt from Bob for two years before we had the chance to meet," Lions president Rod Wood said, sitting between Quinn and Patricia at a season ticket holders gathering. "I told him recently, 'I think he undersold him, and he was selling him.' The relationship is strong, the language they speak, the trust. The ability I think to build the team through kind of one long-term vision of what we're going to be about.

"This is probably the first time I've sat between them since they've been in town. They're together all the time."

HITS, MISSES AND BARGAINS

Detroit appeared to reach for tight end Eric Ebron at No. 10 overall in 2014. This offseason, the team acknowledged the mistake when it cut him. The Lions would have been better off with any of the players taking immediately after Ebron: offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Quinn landed a late-round gem last season, selecting All-Pro punt returner Jamal Agnew in the fifth round.

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Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:32 am
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