Capitals win Game 7, advance to Stanley Cup Final in NHL 20 behind Evgeny Kuznetsov’s hat trick

The virtual Washington Capitals have advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.

After falling in Game 6 on their home ice by blowing a two goal lead, the virtual Washington Capitals bounced back in a big way on the road in Game 7. They cruised to a 6-3 win that had hardly any blunders and just pure dominance.

The Caps scored three goals in the opening period. First Lars Eller rebounded in a shot off the blockers of Andrei Vasilevskiy for his third goal of the playoffs. It came at 13:23 and was assisted by Carl Hagelin and Ilya Kovalchuk.

At 16:38, Garnet Hathaway drove to the net and ripped in a backhanded shot off a feed from Brenden Dillon to make it 2-0 good guys.

The Caps weren’t done yet. They knew a two goal lead is not a safe lead in hockey and Evgeny Kuznetsov would triple the lead with a shot up the middle with 1.8 seconds left to make it 3-0 before the break. It was Kuznetsov’s eighth goal of the spring. The Caps outshot the Bolts in the first period 10-6.

Nikita Kucherov got the Lightning on the board at 4:28 off a feed from Kevin Shattenkirk. It gave the home side momentum for about five minutes.

At 9:14 Eller rebounded in a shot for his second goal of the night. Jakub Vrana and Dmitry Orlov had the helpers. After Alex Killorn was whistled for a hooking minor at 11:51, Kuznetsov scored his second goal of the night on a rebound goal of his own. Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin had the assists.

The Caps added to this lead despite being outshot a whooping 20-9 but Braden Holtby stood tall making save after save. He even had two huge glove saves that could’ve gone either way. It put the Caps in the driver’s seat up 5-1 entering the final period.

At 1:50 in the third, Kuznetsov completed the hat trick by unleashing a shot that went top shelf, left corner for his 10th goal of the playoffs. Ovechkin and John Carlson had the assists. It made it 6-1 and helped the Caps withstand a late push from the home team.

Despite some late goals from Erik Cernak and Kucherov, it was too little too late as the virtual Caps advanced to their second Stanley Cup Final appearance in three years. The Caps were outshot 12-6 in the third period and 38-25 overall but a great game from Holtby overall was crucial. The Holtbeast made 35 saves for a .921 save percentage.

Over on the Western Conference side of things, the Colorado Avalanche defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in six games. It sets up Philipp Grubauer and Andre Burakovsky taking on their former teammates. We’ll keep running sims game by game to see who comes out on top.