Stanley Cup Playoffs Head-To-Head: Nikita Kucherov and Alex Ovechkin collide in ECF

Washington’s Tom Wilson heads to the penalty box during Game 3 against Pittsburgh

Updates with new lead, quotes. What bothered him more was how Washington was able to do what it wanted immediately on the ensuing power play that sent the Capitals on their way to a 4-2 victory Friday at Amalie Arena. "This feels like more of a team than any team I've ever been with at the National Hockey League level".

The Caps were up 1-0 when Tampa Bay appeared to score.

"We had a really good start".

Similarly, defenceman Christian Djoos sat out Washington's first two games but played in the other 10. It's effort. Everybody was paying the price. Nikita Kucherov made a nice move to beat Holtby, but the goal was disallowed as Tampa Bay was caught with too many men on the ice.

The matchup: The Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals are meeting in the playoffs for just the third time. He is already one of the best in the game at stopping breakaways and open opportunities, and he owes that to incredible awareness. However, we all know the playoffs come down to a hot goalie. Winnipeg is the final hope for Canada's first Cup celebration since Montreal in 1993 and is in the conference finals for the first time in franchise history. The Bolts will have to repeat the script from their second-round series against the Boston Bruins, in which they lost Game 1, to draw even against the Capitals, or else this could be a surprisingly short series.

So instead of the game being tied 1-1, Washington took a 2-0 lead into the intermission on Ovechkin's powerplay goal and then jumped out to a 3-0 cushion when Beagle scored, only 2:40 into the second period.

That being said, they are going to have to get past Tampa Bay, and that won't be easy.

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Why The Capitals Win There aren't many teams that can keep up with the Lightning shot-for-shot, goal-for-goal, but the Capitals have proven over the course of the post-season that they are most certainly one. At nearly every turn in the first two periods, the Capitals had an answer for the Bolts.

When the Washington Capitals dispatched the Pittsburgh Penguins in game six of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it was pretty easy to forget for a second that the team was only halfway to its ultimate goal.

"We're not really looked at as that physical team, but we know we have it in us", Cooper said. "In hindsight, we were in this same position in the last round and found a way to respond". We've been in this situation before, unfortunately.

The champion Penguins have been vanquished, D.C is back in the Final Four for the first time in 20 years, and Ovechkin has claimed his rightful place among the all-time hockey greats. "We have to do the same here". Yet the final 10 seconds of the first period provided an early turning point. But for one night, as Caps' announcer John Walton exclaimed following Kuznetsov's goal Monday night: "The demons have been exorcised". The teams are meeting in the playoffs for just the third time, first since 2011. As of Friday morning, 51 percent of public bets are coming in on host Tampa Bay.

The Lightning, for 50 minutes a night, have Victor Hedman or Ryan McDonagh out on the ice.

Trotz can't control upper-body injuries to Nicklas Backstrom and Andre Burakovsky or a three-game suspension handed out to winger Tom Wilson, only the decisions he makes in replacing them. The Capitals have been proving people wrong all postseason and they're not bowing out easily after finally reaching this summit, not with a. The Caps have outscored opponents 14-3 in the opening period this postseason.

Tampa is too stacked and talented and it is hard to envision them not being in the finals.

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