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Added Terry Rozier,

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COLUMBUS Chukwuma Okorafor Color Rush Jersey , Ohio — The Washington Capitals played their way right back into their first-round playoff series with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but it took a lot of extra effort to do so.

The Capitals’ 3-2 victory on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena on a goal by Lars Eller at 8:09 of the second overtime narrowed their deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference engagement.

With Game 4 scheduled for Thursday night at Nationwide, the Capitals find themselves with an opportunity to get even and regain home-ice advantage before the series heads back to Washington on Saturday. That scenario is certainly better than being down 3-0 and facing elimination on the opponents’ home ice.

No team in NHL history had lost the first three games of a playoff series in overtime.

“When you’re down 2-0, it’s almost like two do-or-die games,” Capitals forward Tom Wilson said. “If you don’t win the do-or-die Game 3, you’re probably up against the wall. We kind of looked at it as a do-or-die, must win — and we got the win. So now we can look to the next one.”

Eller’s goal — his first in the playoffs — ended a stellar goaltending duel between Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky and Washington’s Braden Holtby before a record crowd.

“It’s going to be a battle again in Game 4,” Eller said. “But it’s very fair we have one win after these three games. It’s been close every game.

“We don’t look far (ahead). All we talk about is the next shift, next period, small adjustments. We don’t look very far ahead. You’ve got to keep your eye on the ball, and on the next shift. That’s the mentality.”

Extra periods have become a habit for the Capitals, not only in this series but in the playoffs in general. The double-overtime affair was the 13th multiple-goal game in franchise history Kyle Gibson Minnesota Twins Jersey , and Washington has a 4-9 record in those.

Last year, the Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs played five overtime games in the first round before Washington came back from a 2-1 deficit to prevailed in six.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz surely would like to break the overtime habit, but Tuesday’s result was certainly better than the first two outcomes.

“We just want to win. If it takes eight periods, we just want to win,” he said. “We won one game today. We didn’t get what we wanted at home, and so our focus has to be on one game.

“To get fat and happy after a win … we’re still in a hole. We need a lot of desperation, we need a lot of commitment, we need a lot of focus. We need to get this tied up. That’s our only focus right now.”

The Blue Jackets still lead the series, but they’ve barely led in any of the first three games. They’ve faced deficits in each and rallied to win the first two before the puck finally failed to bounce their way in Game 3.

“This is what playoff hockey is,” Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said. “It’s not always going to go your way. But we’ve put ourselves in a real good spot by going in there (in Washington) and stealing two. They’re, I’m sure, fully planning on doing that to us. But we’re going to do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen.”

One thing the Blue Jackets want to avoid is penalties Cheap Baker Mayfield Jersey , which the Capitals’ potent power play has taken advantage of in each game. On Tuesday, a five-on-three at the end of the second period led to a go-ahead goal by Washington’s John Carlson.

The Blue Jackets came back to tie in the third period on a goal by forward Artemi Panarin.

“I think we’re comfortable in that (trailing),” Blue Jackets John Tortorella said. “We don’t want to be there, but I don’t think it affects how we play. Sometimes it’s tougher to have the lead. I felt in that third period, (the Capitals) were on their heels, in trying to protect that lead.”

Could there be a fourth overtime game in the offing?

“We just go forward, trying not to be (disappointed), just keep working, just keep playing,” Panarin said. “Anything can happen.”

BOSTON — It has been six years since LeBron James walked onto the TD Garden parquet and willed the Miami Heat to a elimination-avoiding victory over the Boston Celtics.

After scoring 46 points in another elimination-game special for the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Friday night, James returns to the scene of his 2012 magic and tries to do it again in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday night.

“We have one game to be able to compete for a championship, what more can you ask for?” James said Friday night after his seventh 40-point game in 17 outings in this postseason.

This will not be an easy task for James and his buddies Kerryon Johnson Color Rush Jersey , who will try to hand the Celtics their only loss in 11 postseason home games. The task also got tougher Saturday when it was announced that Kevin Love, who left Game 6 after banging heads with Boston’s Jayson Tatum, is in the league’s concussion protocol and is out for Game 7.

Just like their opening-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Celtics have won three at home and lost three on the road in this series. They have one road win in the playoffs but are 10-0 at home, where their crowd and perhaps even the banners that hang high above the parquet have helped.

The Celtics have never lost a series they’ve led 2-0 — making it 36 and 37 straight with this year’s first two rounds.

Thirty-eight?

“It’s about just winning the game now,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart, who has done his share of mixing it up with James in this series. “It’s not going to be pretty. You got to be able to get down and get dirty. You can’t go out and try to look pretty. You have to be ready for a dogfight.

“We got to be ready to come up with our nose bloodied, we got to be ready to come out with our mouth bloodied, we have to come out ready to fight.”

James, seeking his eighth straight trip to the Finals, comes in averaging 34.9 in Game 7s — including his 45 to help eliminate the Indiana Pacers in this year’s first round. In his career, he has averaged 34 per game in going 13-9 in elimination games. In Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern final http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.co ... sen-jersey , he went for 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists to keep the Miami Heat alive before they won Game 7 back home.

“Best player in the game,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after Friday’s game. “Special night tonight and special night in Game 4 … I can’t say enough good things about him.”

Added Terry Rozier, who has often found himself outmanned in a switching situation that left him on James: “We know LeBron is different than a lot of other guys, but we’ve got to get the job done.”

In this series, James has averaged 39 points per game at home, 27.7 per in the three games in Boston.

Before Friday night’s game, Cleveland coach Ty Lue told his team (and others), “Three, three, three,” meaning their season had either three hours Francisco Liriano Jersey , three days or three weeks remaining. They were able to take care of the first part — and did it basically without Love, with former Celtics player Jeff Green filling in and having a strong game.

Love is averaging 13.9 points and 10.0 rebounds this postseason.

Tatum was checked out by doctors Saturday and Stevens said there was “nothing there to be concerned about” with his star rookie.

“As we talked about all year, tomorrow night is not going to be perfect. … You just have to have perfect intentions,” Stevens said Saturday.

Said James, who could be playing his final game in his second stint with the Cavaliers: “Just go out and trust what you’ve built on all year. I don’t put too much added pressure on myself. I just go out and play my game. It’s a Game 7. It’s something you wish you had when you’re done playing, but more than that, it’s just basketball for me.

“I know what I’m capable of doing, and I’m going to trust everything I put into it.”

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