As clinically as Tampa Bay eliminated New Jersey and Boston in five games apiece, Washington is rolling behind the scoring of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov and the goaltending of Braden Holtby, who has stopped 52 of 56 shots through two games. But it's not a knock on him to say that his performance in the Washington Capitals' Stanley Cup run - wait, did I just write that? - has been above and beyond what he's offered in previous postseasons.
The first two games of the series were on Tampa Bay's home ice and they entered the series with momentum and confidence, but it was the Capitals that seemed to be on a mission. They also each had an assist. We lost two at home and it's definitely not an ideal situation.
Holtby also made clutch saves when he had to.
The Capitals were given a powerplay with 10 seconds left after netminder Vasilevskiy tripped Washington's Andre Burakovsky, sending the Swedish forward hard into the end boards. Kuznetsov scored seven seconds later to make the score 4-2, the second time in the series the Caps stunned the Lightning with a power-play goal in the closing seconds of a period. "I don't know why", Kuznetsov said. We've had people step up, but he's one of the guys that has stepped up in a major way for us. Overall it doesn't matter who you play in the playoffs, you should focus on your game. "If [the Lightning is] dumping pucks there, we're getting a little bit more time than we do when we're not as sharp in the neutral zone".
Eller, filling in on the second line for Nicklas Backstrom (hand), drew praise from Washington coach Barry Trotz.
The Lightning has their backs against the wall, but can they get back on track against a Washington team that is playing really well at the moment? He's very competitive. He's got a good skill level and he's playing that way. That was a learning experience players could point to when they went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, but right now it's just an ugly deficit. You never know why it turns so drastically like that when they were so sound against the Bruins.
Ovechkin and Connolly finished the rout with third-period goals. Connolly capped the scoring at 12:57 of the final period.More news: Elon Musk says Tesla planning 'thorough reorganisation'
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"One thing about our fans and this team, I think we're just a family together", Cooper told reporters. Ever superstitious, Capitals fans are not over-confident, even with the series coming to Washington, but they couldn't have asked for any more than winning both of the first two away games. Hockey players are a bundle of superstitions and tics to begin with, but that's multiplied when things are clicking the way they are for the Capitals.
Wilson scored 28 seconds into the game, deflecting what looked like a rather routine delivery by defenseman Matt Niskanen from inside the blue line. It began ahead of Game 6 of the Penguins' series, when he took over from center Jay Beagle as the practice pacesetter.
The Lightning responded, taking the lead less than 10 1/2 minutes into the game.
Stamkos and Hedman assisted on Point's goal at 7:08 of the first.
In the second round series against the Nashville Predators, Scheifele set the record for the most road goals in a series with seven. He's been outstanding during the postseason, especially in the last three games.
Smith-Pelly's one-timer finished an odd-man rush and made the score 2-2 at 2:30 of the second period.