Few gave the Caps a chance of beating the Tampa Bay Lightning, but after two games in Florida the Caps now own a two-game stranglehold in the 2018 Eastern Conference Final after a 6-2 Game 2 win on Sunday.
Two bad penalty calls against Washington gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period, but it was all Caps after that.
Washington scored three times in the second period to take a 4-2 lead and added two more in the third period. From there, the blowout was on.
Here are the three stars of the game.
3 Stars of Capitals vs. Lightning Game 2
1. Evgeny Kuznetsov: The most frustrating aspect of Kuznetsov’s game is his reluctance to take shots. He is always looking to setup a teammate rather than call his own number even when he is so clearly the best option.
Well, that wasn’t a problem in Game 2.
Kuznetsov had a very quick trigger finger on what was a three-point night as the Caps tried to keep Andrei Vasilevskiy on his toes. He finished with four shots on goal. An early missed shot by Kuznetsov actually turned into the game’s first goal as it hit off the boards and back to the blue line where Matt Niskanen fired it on net for a Tom Wilson deflection goal.
Kuznetsov also fired a quick pass from the corner very late in the second period that deflected off of Vasilevskiy’s stick into the net with just three seconds left on the clock.
2. Lars Eller: When you first learn to play hockey, one of the things you are always taught is to keep your stick down on the ice. That way you’re ready if the puck comes in your direction. Luckily, Eller was listening and was ready when Jakub Vrana zipped a pass to the slot.
Eller also recorded an assist on Kuznetsov’s goal. Had Vasilevskiy not deflected the puck into his own net, Eller very well could have gotten that goal as he was waiting in the crease for the pass.
3. Alex Ovechkin: There was a lot of talk about Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov coming in, but Ovechkin has overshadowed both superstars in the first two games. He was a big factor again in Game 2 with a goal, an assist, four shots on goal and five hits.
Ovechkin fired a one-timer to finish off a 2-on-1 from Kuznetsov who curled the puck around a diving Anton Stralman.
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