Eastern Conference Final Preview: Tampa Bay vs. Washington

Eastern Conference Final Preview: Tampa Bay vs. Washington

Eastern Conference Final Preview: Tampa Bay vs. Washington

For me, there has always been a team or a team with a player that I didn't exactly care for but with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights, there are a lot of storylines to love in the final four.

Instead of it being a tie game, the Capitals were given a power play and made the most of the opportunity, with Ovechkin blasting in a one-timer with just six seconds left in the period. With four goals and 10 points after two the first two rounds, he was Tampa Bay's second-leading scorer after two rounds. The crowd was suddenly deflated, but the worst of it was still ahead.

Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals celebrates a goal. But Karlsson has one big selling point in his Conn case: that overtime goal in their Game 3 at San Jose.

"The other two guys are looking for the puck so someone has to go in and get it for them and then make plays to them", said Cooper. "Obviously we wanted to go after them in the first period".

Czech defenceman Michal Kempny, with the first of the game and his first of the postseason, and Lars Eller, of Denmark, also scored for Washington, a team playing their first National Hockey League semi-final series in two decades.

Jay Beagle extended the Caps' lead 2:40 into the second period when Dmitry Orlov picked the puck up along the boards and Brett Connolly shot it from the slot.

After a Washington giveaway, Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov was sprung for a breakaway, in which he beat Holtby with a gorgeous deke.

With Hedman and McDonagh, I think the Lightning have the edge on defence, but it's not enough to stop Washington now that they've gotten past the Pens.

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The Capitals' Michal Kempny started the scoring 7:28 into the first period. The over-under, or total number of goals Vegas thinks will be scored, is six. On the flip side, both teams are having a hard time on the penalty kill, especially Tampa Bay (WSH: 79.1%, TBL: 74.2%). But Beagle was right there for the rebound, and he put it through the five-hole to give the Caps a three-goal cushion.

It was 4-0 four minutes later, when Lars Eller scored on the power play. All five Caps skaters touched the puck; it went from Kuznetsov on the right half wall to John Carlson at center point to Ovechkin in his office.

T.J. Oshie won the faceoff to the left of Vasilevskiy. This is not the first time these two teams have met in the playoffs, but it may be one of the most exciting.

Tampa Bay is in the Eastern Conference final for the third time in four years, and Washington has made the playoffs 10 out of the past 11 seasons. Las Vegas is averaging about 33.3 shots per game (SH/GP), so it's going to be critical that the Jets play good team defence to limit the amount of changes the Golden Knights get. "That's basically what it was".

Tampa Bay entered the playoffs as the best 5-on-5 team in hockey.

Holtby has the numbers, with a.929 even-strength save percentage in backstopping the Capitals to their first conference final in 20 years.

They won't be able to keep up with the Jets scoring wise, but they can win games if they manage to limit the Jets to under two goals per game. Not to mention that the series features two of the best goalies from this year's playoffs thus far in Fleury and Hellebuyck. Yeah, that's what I thought. I picked them to advance against an offensively anemic Los Angeles team and again against a Sharks team that I didn't think could skate at the pace Vegas plays for an entire series.

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