After the Capitals finally "exorcised the demons" and advanced past Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins, they moved on to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in franchise history since 1998.
Capitals fans waited for 20-years to see their team advance past the second round and the Caps were not going to make the wait for a Cup any longer.
Saturday, April 4, NBC Sports Washington will be airing Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Capitals and Lightning. Here's how to tune in.
When: Saturday, April 4, 10:30 a.m.
- NBC Sports Washington (channel finder)
- Any of our 24/7 authenticated streaming platforms
10:30 a.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Washington at Tampa Bay [Game 1]
1:30 p.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Washington at Tampa Bay [Game 2]
4:30 p.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Tampa Bay at Washington [Game 6]
7:00 p.m.: NHL 20: Capitals @ Panthers
8:00 p.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Washington at Tampa Bay [Game 7]
What happened in the 2018 Eastern Conference Final, Capitals vs. Lightning?
Coming off a high from beating the Penguins to advance to the ECF, the Capitals came out strong, Michal Kempny netting the first goal of the game to put the Caps up 1-0 over the Lightning eight minutes into the first period. With seconds to go, the Lightning took the puck down the ice and scored off of a wild play, but the goal was called back thanks to a too many men on the ice penalty. The Caps took the power play and with only seven seconds left in the first, Alex Ovechkin scored right off the face off to put the Caps up 2-0 heading into the second. Just under three minutes into the second period, Jay Beagle got a lucky bounce putting the Caps up 3 goals over the Lightning. A few minutes later, the Caps got their fourth and final goal of the game, Lars Eller getting the rebound off of an Ovi shot. The Lightning finally got something going in the third period, scoring two goals but it wasn't enough to beat the hot Caps.
The Caps kept their hot streak going into Game 2, this time laying it on with a 6-2 victory. The Caps got on the board first once again, with a shot from Matt Niskanen tipping off the stick of Tom Wilson and past Andrei Vasilevskiy who didn't stand a chance. But minutes later, Brayden Point put the Lightning on the board during a power play, tying the game at 1. The Lightning got on the board again to take the 2-1 lead thanks to another Caps penalty. But little did the Bolts know that would be their final two goals of the game. Early in the second period, a snipe from Devante Smith-Pelly tied the game at 2. With a minute to go in the second, Lars Eller broke the tie to put the Caps up 3-2 and with a mere two seconds left, Evgeny Kuznetsov put the Caps up 4-2 heading into the third. Two more goals followed from Alex Ovechkin and Brett Connolly to beat the Lightning 6-2.
After losing THREE straight games in a row, the Caps headed into a do-or-die Game 6 on the brink of elimination. In the first period, Vasilevskiy stood on his head for the Lightning, denying the Caps on multiple chances with superb goaltending. Finally, T.J. Oshie put the Caps on the board in the second period with a beautiful, one-timer snipe off of a Nicklas Backstrom assist. The Caps got their second goal of the game in the third period thanks to a great hustle by Jay Beagle and Chandler Stephenson to avoid the icing call and a pass to Smith-Pelly in front of the net who made it 2-0 Caps. With just under a minute to play, Nicklas Backstrom got his second assist of the game, passing to Oshie who got his second goal of the game with the empty-netter to secure the 3-0 win and force a decisive Game 7.
It all came down to a decisive Game 7. After losing three straight, the Caps forced Game 7 in Tampa with a 3-0 Game 6 win in Washington. Just 1:02 into the first period, Alex Ovechkin got the Caps on the board. In the second, Andre Burakovsky extended the Caps' lead to 2 and then AGAIN minutes later to make it 3-0. Tampa pulled the goalie with a couple of minutes to go in the third and Nicklas Backstrom capitalized on the opportunity, scoring the fourth and final goal for the Caps to defeat the Lightning 4-0 and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 20-years. Braden Holtby secured two shutouts in row for Games 6 and 7, a feat only accomplished by four other goalies in NHL history.
Make sure to tune in Saturday, April 4 to watch the Caps beat the Lightning en route to their first-ever Stanley Cup Championship.
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