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Open Post- Game 6 Eastern Conference Final

The Tampa Bay Lightning will advance to the Stanley Cup Final with a win tonight.

A win by the Washington Capitals will force a game 7 in Tampa on Wednesday night.

Puck drops just after 8:00pm ET in Washington and is on NBCSN, , CBC, SN1 and TVAS.

As always, the comment section belongs to you.

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Bolts/Caps Before Game 6

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

For a team that many have selected as their pre-season favourite for each of the past few years, it seems almost anticlimactic. And yet, after missing the playoffs last year and losing in the conference final in 2016, no one is taking this run for granted.

“I don’t know if we’ve really sat here and said, ‘Oh, we’re just going to rush to the Stanley Cup final,’” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “If there’s anything that’s helped this team, we’ve kind of not done that. It’s so hard to win in this league, and the parity is so tight, you just can’t look too far ahead. I know when we went in 2015, all of a sudden the regular season didn’t seem near as exciting as the playoff run, and we just couldn’t wait to get back. You just find out how hard it is to win.

“That’s our ultimate goal, to get there. But I think they haven’t put the cart before the horse. There’s still a lot of work to do in this series. I think that’s why we’ve had some success.”...

For the Capitals, it’s a much different story. Few picked them to get past the two-time defending champions Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round, much less be two wins away from the Stanley Cup final. At the same time, it’s a bit of a shock that they are on the brink of elimination considering how this series began.

Washington appeared to be in the driver’s seat after winning the first two games on the road and taking a 2-0 lead. But after losing three straight, the ghosts of the franchise’s past playoff troubles have once again come out of the attic.

“This group seems to never do anything really easy,” said Washington head coach Barry Trotz, referencing not only the adversity that the Capitals faced in the first round when they came back and won after being down 2-0 to Columbus, but also years and years of playoff disappointment.

more

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Once Up 2-0 In The Series, The Washington Capitals Now Face Elimination

from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post,

The shape of this series against the Tampa Bay Lightning is such that the Capitals frittered away their breakthrough against Pittsburgh and are now in position to do something that seemed impossible after vanquishing the Penguins: add to their ignominy. The Capitals’ 3-2 loss to the Lightning on Saturday night at Amalie Arena was their third straight. That comfortable advantage? Poof. One more loss, and that’s it. No more hockey.

Before you start bemoaning that the past is the past and it’s trite and lazy to associate these Caps with those Caps, a reminder: In the past 50 years, 21 teams won the first two games on the road in either the conference or Stanley Cup finals. All 21 of those teams won the series. None needed a seventh game.

The Capitals won the first two games in Tampa. Now those same Capitals need to win Monday night at home to force a seventh game.

Such a stat would fit right in with all those old Capitals. And then these Capitals said things all those old Capitals might have said.

“Obviously, two mistakes and they score a goal,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “But give us credit. We don’t stop playing.”

more

Below, watch the game highlights.

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Pressure Is Now On The Washington Capitals

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

There are two ways of looking at how the Eastern Conference final came to be tied heading into Game 5: either the Tampa Bay Lightning stole back two games on the road or the Washington Capitals gave away an opportunity to close out a series.

For most onlookers, it’s the latter.

And so, here we are talking about choking again. Will this be another post-season where the Capitals failed to finish off an opponent on the ropes, failed to come up with the key play at the key time, and failed to advance despite being the better team? Will it be another missed opportunity for Alex Ovechkin?

From here, it’s starting to look that way. Whatever momentum the Capitals gained from winning Games 1 and 2 on the road has now swung back to the Lightning after winning Games 3 and 4. Now, it’s Washington with its backs against the ropes and once again having to face the ghosts of the franchise’s past.

continued

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Caps Frustrated And Andrei Vasilevskiy Stars

from Kristina Rutherford of Sportsnet,

As Alex Killorn cheered and skated past his Lightning teammates on the bench and got a quick succession of side-fives, the saddest organ music played in a dejected Capital One Arena where, between depressing organ notes, you could’ve heard a pin drop.

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby took his helmet off and skated over to Washington’s bench and looked up at the big screen for the replay, and he watched Killorn stuff the eventual game-winner through his legs.

For more than 21 minutes in Game 4 of this Eastern Conference Final, the Capitals held the Lightning without a shot. They registered 38 shots to Tampa Bay’s 20. Washington had chance after chance, four power-plays and they controlled play for much of this game. And still, the Capitals lost and the Lightning won and now this series is tied 2-2 and headed back to Tampa Bay for a best-of-three.

“Of course it’s a missed opportunity,” Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said, just a couple minutes after he broke his stick over the crossbar, just after that buzzer sounded, just after Anthony Cirrelli potted the empty-netter with two seconds to go to make it 4-2, Lightning.

“It is what it is,” Ovechkin said. “Nothing we can do.”

continued

from the CP at TSN,

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Home Struggles Continues For The Washington Capitals

from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post,

On the road, the Capitals are 7-1.

On home ice, the Capitals are now 3-5.

Maybe they can issue Steven Stamkos T-shirts before Game 6?

“We’re comfortable going on the road,” Capitals Coach Barry Trotz said late Thursday. “We would have loved to have gotten this one tonight. We didn’t. We’re going to go to Tampa. Our intention is to go win a game in Tampa. We’ve already done that twice.”

For now, that’s what has to amount to swagger. The reality is they came home with an opportunity, and they squandered it. I don’t want to hear how they played their game, how the puck simply didn’t find the back of the net, how they had 38 shots to just 20 for Tampa Bay.

All that’s true, but whatever. Those are the things old Washington teams used to say. And old Washington teams haven’t won the Cup.

Still, there has to be some dissection of what’s going on here.

more

Below are the game highlights of Tampa's 4-2 win over Washington.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Open Post- Game 4 Of The Eastern Conference Final

Puck drop just after 8:00pm ET in Washington as the Tampa Bay Lightning try to even the series at 2-2 against the Washington Capitals.

Watch on NBCSN, CBC, SN or TVAS.

Comment section belongs to you.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Big Win For The Tampa Bay Lightning

from Kristina Rutherford of Sportsnet,

Almost nobody who saw Victor Hedman’s first goal of these NHL playoffs live and in person cheered or applauded or waved their towel, when the towering Tampa Bay Lightning defender one-timed the puck into a near-open net in the capital on Tuesday night.

Hedman didn’t seem to mind the silence, though.

The 27-year-old Swede did a bunch of cheering himself here at Capital One Arena, while the sea of fans in red looked on, silently and sadly, and then he dropped his six-foot-six frame into a low fist pump.

Finally, a goal for Hedman in this post-season. And finally, a win for the Tampa Bay Lightning in this Eastern Conference Final.

As Hedman put it, “It’s huge.”

continued

Watch the game highlights below.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Open Post- Game 3 Of The Eastern Conference Final

The series shifts to Washington tonight and will the Tampa Bay Lightning get back into the series with a win?

Puck drop is just after 8:00pm ET and is on NBCSN, CBC, SN and TVAS.

The comment section is yours, use it to discuss the game.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Afternoon Line- Steven Stamkos

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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