Alex Ovechkin finally has a place in the Stanley Cup Finals. After years of toil and disappointment, the Great 8 will finally take the biggest stage after the Capitals completed a game 7 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Ovechkin Fires Capitals In Front
After losing three games in a row to trail the series 3-2, the Capitals have dug deep and found a way to win. Game 7 was no different. The Lightning out shot, and outhit the Capitals in game 7, complete reversals of games 4 and 5. Unfortunatley for them the results was also reversed. Ovechkin struck early, just 1:02 into the first period. A powerful rocket high to the stick side of Andrei Vasilevskiy. The goal put history on their side, as the team scoring first in game 7 wins nearly 75% of the time.
“The first goal was very important. After that you could see we have all the momentum on our side. Holts was unstoppable today. He was special. Everybody was all in. Everybody was sacrificing their bodies. I think we all deserve the win.”
Holtby Takes Charge
The Lightning came out strong after that with fast, physical play and outshot the Caps through the first period. However this time, unlike in games 3, 4 and 5, Braden Holtby was not to be beaten. He pulled off some unbelievable saves on one on ones, breakaways and shots from the point. He also got great help from his defence as they gobbled up the rebounds and gave the Lightning very little in terms of secondary shooting.
Vasilevskiy has seemed almost unbeatable for much of this series, but Caps goalies Braden Holtby came good at the right time. He held the Lightning without a goal for the last 2 full games, both must-wins for the Capitals. The team that led the league in goals in the regular season were blanked for the final 159 minutes of the series.
With 2 goals from Andre Burakovsky in the second period the Caps pulled out to a comfortable 3-0 lead. The whole time the Lightning kept coming and never gave an inch. In the end the form of Braden Holtby proved too much for them. With the Lightning goalie pulled in the fourth, Nicklas Backstrom added a fourth and the series was over.
The Vegas Golden Knights were sitting at home awaiting the winner of this series. In truth they will probably prefer to play the Capitals, whose style is very similar to the Jets, whom they just beat in 5 games. But this Caps team believes this is finally their year. It promises to be an intriguing finals, featuring a not seen before matchup.