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“Capital Defense,” “Wash” To Just Its Second NHL Final, Recording Shutouts In Games 6 And 7 Vs Tampa Bay

May 24, 2018

The Washington Capitals shut out the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second straight game, (goaltender,Braden Holtby did not allow a goal for just 33 seconds shy of 8  periods, including the loss in game 5) and advanced to their first NHL final in 20 years, with a (4-0), game 7 win in Tampa, vs the Lightning.

Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring just one minute and two seconds into the contest, while Andre Borakovsky added two second period goals.

“Wash” improved to (8-2) on the road in these playoffs and have won 6 of their last 7 road “semis” games.

The Lightning have lost 7 of their last 9 home “semis” games and lost in a home game 7, for the first time.

They were (3-0) in home #7’s, including semis (vs the Flyers) and final triumphs (vs the Flames) to win it all in 2004. However, despite fine seasons, (three “semis” appearances in 4 seasons and four in the past 8), “T.B.” is denied the big prize again.

However, their frustration pales to that of the Caps, who now are roughly 7 to 5 series underdogs, vs the first year Las Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL final, which begins in “Sin City,” on Monday night.

The series winner will “reign” as its league’s champion, making 3 of the four current major pro sports champions first time winners, if you say Super Bowl crown and not NFL crown for the Philadelphia Eagles.(Philly won NFL crowns in ’48, ’49 and 1960, but the 2017 title win was their first Super Bowl win. “Supe” play began with the 1966 season).

The baseball champion Houston Astros won their first “all the way” crown and either first year Las Vegas or 43rd completed year Washington will join them.

Additionally, for just the second time in what will be the 79th best of seven NHL final,  two teams, sans even a final series game victory, will clash. The other was 1996 when Colorado (Avalanche) swept the Florida Panthers.

The repeat champion Detroit Red Wings swept the Capitals in their only previous NHL final appearance in 1998. Again, incredibly, Las Vegas in its first season, is the final series “fave” and obviously is sans a final series win.

In 1996, the Colorado Avalanche swept the Florida Panthers, who are one of 5 other current NHL teams (there are 31 teams, the Blue Jackets, who won the first two of their first round series at “Wash,” Wild and both incarnations of the Winnipeg Jets, the current Jets, semis losers to Las Vegas and the original Jets now the Phoenix Coyotes, are the others) without a final series win.


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