This one is going the distance.
The Washington Capitals staved off elimination on Monday with a 3-0 Game 6 win to force a Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Andrei Vasilevskiy looked unbeatable for much of the game, but T.J. Oshie finally got one past the Lightning netminder on the Caps' first power play since the second period of Game 4. Devante Smith-Pelly finished them off with a third-period tally to extend the lead to 2-0.
Game 7 will be on Wednesday with a spot in the Stanley Cup Final on the line.
Here are the three stars of Game 6.
1. T.J. Oshie: Oshie scored the goal that saved Washington's season.
The Caps were doing everything right, but they just could not get one past Vasilevskiy. Finally, Oshie struck on the power play with a one-timer from the high-slot that just managed to beat Vasilevskiy.
Oshie also added an empty-netter to ice the game away.
We will never know how close frustration came to really wearing down Washington, but it probably came closer than you think. Just seconds before Oshie's goal, John Carlson rang a blistering slap shot off the inside of the post. It was so close, the horn went off briefly, but play continued. Had Washington not been able to finish off the power play, would they have recovered or would Vasilevskiy officially have Halaked them?
2. Andrei Vasilevskiy: Don't let the score fool you, Vasilevskiy was absolutely brilliant. He really stood out in the first period when he denied great chances again and again to keep the score locked at 0-0. You knew he was on his game when he made a blocker save on Alex Ovechkin from the slot. His best save, however, was reserved for Evgeny Kuznetsov. Vasilevskiy desperately extended the arm on the ice just in time to deny Kuznetsov.
Vasilevskity made a total of 32 saves in the losing effort.
3. Braden Holtby: Though he was not tested as much as his counterpart, Holtby was equally as brilliant in his 24 save performance for his fifth career playoff shutout.
The Lightning made a real push in the second and third period and some key saves by Holtby ensured the Caps did not give up the first goal or the game-tying one. The most critical save came on Anthony Cirelli in the second period with the game still tied at 0-0. A Lightning 2-on-1 resulted with Cirelli coming in all alone on Holtby, but the Caps' netminder just managed to extend the toe for the save.
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