Sonny Milano easily earns MVP against Lightning

The Washington Capitals kicked the Tampa Bay Lightning’s butts last night and it was glorious. If one things for sure, sunshine is sure much better than Lightning and in the Caps case, it was Sonny Milano who shined for the home team.

The two teams meet again tomorrow night, this time in Tampa Bay.

The Caps were on a five minute penalty kill early in the second period. Milano sprinted out of the penalty box. A loose puck found his stick and he was all alone with a breakaway opportunity with Lightning goaltender Anderi Vasilevskiy to beat.

He used some dekes with his stick then a forehand flip to double the Caps lead to 2-0, a lead they would not blow this time.

Milano was signed as a free agent less than a month ago and he got an opportunity into the lineup with the injury bug piling up. Then with 2:15 left in the third he added his second goal of the night.

Five minutes before Milano’s first goal, Nicolas Abue Kubel got ejected from the game with an illegal check to the head of Cal Foote. He got a hearing today from the NHL Department of Player Safety.

Darcy Kuemper, who made 28 saves and allowed just one goal in the victory, spoke on the crucial penalty kill that led to Milano’s goal:

“Whenever you can kill off a five-minute major like that, regardless of the goal — which was kind of a cherry on top coming out of the box there — it kind of changed the tide in the game and something that the whole team builds off.”

There were a lot of tensions on the ice between the two teams which will certainly carry over into Sunday night’s rematch.

Garnet Hathaway and Pat Maroon both got five minute fighting majors and 10 minute misconduct penalties from their brawl. They also got fined by the DoPS for unsportsmanlike conduct.

That wasn’t the only fight. There was a line brawl in the third period with three Caps players sitting in the sin bin.

Milano added:

“Tonight was definitely a little nasty. I’m sure it will carry over to [Sunday, when the teams meet again]. . . . Those are always fun. It’s hockey; it’s definitely physical. Definitely fun.”

You can catch tomorrow night’s game at 7 p.m. on ESPN.