Capitals: Another monster road win in Tampa

The Washington Capitals sure had a knack for winning on the road two springs ago.

After a 4-2 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Washington Capitals dominated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 to the tune of a 6-2 win.

It was a game that saw Washington trail early after allowing two power play goals but thanks to a 5-0 run it proved to be the difference.

28 seconds into the game Tom Wilson deflected in a loose shot from downtown by Matt Niskanen for his third goal of the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov had the secondary assist.

After Wilson was called for goaltender interference at 6:48, Brayden Point tied the game at 7:08 for the power play goal. The Lightning got another one after T.J. Oshie was called for high sticking at 8:26 and then Steven Stamkos struck. It was 2-1 Bolts after the first period.

The Caps surge began early on in the second period. Devante Smith-Pelly finishing off a two-on-one rush down the ice with Alex Chiasson for his third goal of the spring. John Carlson was credited with the secondary assist.

At 18:58, Jakub Vrana set up a nice feed along the boards to a charging Lars Eller in front of the net where he banged the puck in for his fifth goal of the playoffs and give the Caps the lead right back.

Remember the Caps were also without Nicklas Backstrom in this game as he was recovering from a hand injury when he blocked a shot in Game 5 of the Pittsburgh Penguins series. It caused Eller to have to step up more and shoulder the load with both the top six and bottom six.

Eller told Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post at the time:

“I embrace when there’s more on the line and the stakes are higher. I always like that, and I think that it brings out the best in me. Now with Nick out, I’ve just been playing more minutes. The role is not that much different; I think it’s just I’m out there more.”

Just 10 seconds before the second intermission frustration began to boil in the sunshine state. Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy was called for tripping, putting Washington back on the power play. Seven seconds later, a sharp angle shot from Kuznetsov gave the Caps a 4-2 lead for his eighth goal of the postseason.

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In the third, the Caps added two more. Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin rushed down the ice for a 2-on-1 with the captain finishing it off at 3:34. Eller had the secondary assist and it was Ovechkin’s 10th goal of the playoffs.

Finally, Brett Connolly finished off a cross-ice feed from Eller to make it 6-2 and send the Bolts fans home with another defeat.

Coming back to D.C. for the first time in 20 years in a Conference Final in any of the four major sports was a big achievement for the city and at the time created a lot of buzz.