Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals overcame a major hurdle by reaching the Eastern Conference final.
Just like that, they’re in a full-on sprint toward the finish.
The Capitals scored in the opening minute of the game and twice in the last 1:02 of the second period Sunday night to pull away to a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning and a 2-0 lead in the East final.nfl authentic jerseys nike
”It’s huge but it’s not over yet,” Ovechkin said. ”We played hard and played smart. You can see all four lines doing their job.”
Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller each had a goal and two assists. Ovechkin and Tom Wilson had a goal and an assist apiece for the Caps, who took the first two games of the best-of-seven matchup on the road. Since 1974-75, teams that take a 2-0 lead in the conference final or semifinal have a series record of 39-2 (95.1 percent).
Little has gone right against the Capitals.
”For a team that’s been used to being able to make some plays, we sure haven’t made them in these two games. It’s very uncharacteristic of us. That’s the difference. They’ve made plays, we haven’t. And it’s cost us,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said.
”We’ve just played tentative and a little bit slow. We didn’t get 113 points by playing that way. We didn’t win the first two rounds by playing that way,” Cooper added. ”For some reason for two games, that’s the way we’ve played.”
Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos had early power-play goals for Tampa Bay, which rebounded after falling behind on Wilson’s goal 28 seconds into the game.
Smith-Pelly’s one-timer finished an odd-man rush and made it 2-2 at 2:30 of the second period. The Caps took control when Eller scored with 1:02 remaining and Kuznetsov – with assists from Ovechkin and Eller – delivered on a power play less than a minute later.
Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was called for tripping Andre Burakovsky with 10 seconds left in the period. Kuznetsov scored seven seconds later to make it 4-2, the second time in the series the Caps stunned the Lightning with a power-play goal in the closing seconds of a period.nfl authentic nike jerseys
Ovechkin and Connolly finished the rout with third-period goals. Braden Holtby stopped 33 of 35 shots to improve to 10-3 this postseason.