Opportunistic Caps Topple Bolts In Decisive Game 7

Game 7s leave no room for error. Whoever wins is likely the team that takes advantage of the few opportunities that they get. The Lightning looked like the better team for the majority of the evening on Thursday. But, it was Washington who took advantage of the opportunities that they were given. Alex Ovechkin scored 62 seconds into the game and Andre Burakovsky added 2 goals in the 2nd period after defensive blunders to lead the way for the Capitals. The loss ends what has been an absolute dream season for Tampa Bay just one victory short of the Stanley Cup Finals just one year after missing the playoffs. The Capitals 4-0 victory gives Alexander Ovechkin the chance to play for his 1st Stanley Cup against the Vegas Golden Knights. 

The Lightning got off to a great start at home in game 5, but got the opposite of what they needed to begin game 7. The captain for Washington, Alex Ovechkin scored just over a minute into the game to give his team the lead and put the pressure on Tampa Bay early. That goal didn’t deter the Lightning. Tampa Bay shifted the momentum and began to put the pressure on Washington almost immediately after. Alex Killorn probably had the best chance of tying it up for the Bolts after a great pass from Victor Hedman, but Braden Holtby was able to make the save. Things started to get chippy in the 2nd half of the period. A crazy scrum in front of Vasilevskiy led to Tom Wilson and Braydon Coburn both getting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. As soon as Wilson and Coburn got out of their respective boxes they dropped the gloves and finished what they started 2 minutes earlier. 

The Lightning came out buzzing in the 2nd period. Victor Hedman was the catalyst for Tampa Bay. He hit the post early on and then got the puck behind Holtby, but Yanni Gourde wasn’t able to put it into the net. That came back to bite the Lightning as the Capitals were able to take advantage of a golden opportunity. Dan Girardi couldn’t handle the puck after it went off of his chest and Andre Burakovsky was there to take advantage. He put it past Vasy to double the Washington lead and give them some breathing room. Burakovsky’s heroics continued. He added even more breathing room in the final moments of the frame to give Washington a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation. 

The Lightning got a chance to get back into the game early in the 3rd period when Matt Niskanen got sent off for high sticking. Tampa Bay once again couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity to cut into the lead. Tampa Bay just couldn’t get any sustained pressure going and it became clearer and clearer that it was just Washington’s night. Nicklas Backstrom's empty netter with less than 4 minutes remaining ended any hopes of a miracle.

Both conference champions will now get a little more rest before the final round gets going. Game 1 of the Battle For Lord Stanley’s Cup will be on Memorial Day. Every game of the finals is slated for an 8 o’clock puck drop. Vegas will be the team with home ice during the finals having had a higher point total than the Capitals in the regular season. 



1. WSH - Ovechkin - (Kuznetsov, Wilson) - 1:02


1. WSH - Burakovsky - (Unassisted) - 8:59

2. WSH - Burakovsky - (Carlson) - 16:31


1. WSH - Backstrom - (Unassisted) - 16:17



1. TBL - Point - (Holding) - 1:59

2. TBL - Coburn - (Unsportsmanlike Conduct) - 12:59

3. WSH - Wilson - (Unsportsmanlike Conduct) - 12:59

4. WSH - Wilson - (Fighting) - 15:09

5. TBL - Coburn - (Fighting) - 15:09




1. WSH - Niskanen - (High Sticking) - 3:23


Tampa Bay - 29

Washington- 23

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