Capitals: Staving off elimination

Washington Capitals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Washington Capitals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Washington Capitals came back to D.C. up two games to none on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

But coming back home things didn’t go well for the Washington Capitals. They fell in both games by identical 4-2 scores despite Nicklas Backstrom coming back from injury in Game 4.

Okay, interesting, but they sure know how to win on the road, right?

Things didn’t go their way in Game 5, dropping a close 3-2 game in Tampa before coming back to Washington. What was once a two-game to none lead became a 3-2 series lead for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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“No one expected 4-0, right?” said Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov in an article from The Washington Post (subscription required) by Isabelle Khurshudyan.

“We all know it’s going to be a tough series. We just have to relax a little bit and stay positive. It’s still fun.”

Who doesn’t like fun and if the Caps were going to go down on that fateful Monday night, they were going to do that by having fun and just playing their game. Thankfully, it was their best game of the whole season.

The first period was scoreless. Braydon Coburn was called for hooking for the third penalty of the night and it T.J. Oshie struck on the power play to put the home team up 1-0.

On the right face-off circle, Backstrom set up a quick strike to Oshie right up the middle and he let er rip for his sixth goal of the playoffs at 15:12.

1-0 lead heading into the third period was good but the Caps needed some insurance goals to ensure a Game 7 would happen. Chandler Stephenson puck battled with a defender and won. He fed the puck back along the boards to Jay Beagle. Beagle passed the puck right back to him and a charging Devante Smith-Pelly came through to make it 2-0 at 10:02. That was DSP’s fourth goal of the spring.

Oshie sealed it with an empty netter and that was all she wrote with the Caps cruising to a 3-0 win. It was Braden Holtby‘s best start of the season by far at that point. He stopped all 24 Lightning shots he faced.

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3-3 heading into the most important Game 7 in the Alex Ovechkin era. Would the Caps bounce back from other brutal Game 7 defeats in the past or would they find a way to leave Tampa with a win and punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final? Find out next Thursday.