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Stanley Cup Daily 5/20: Tale As Old As Time

The Caps and Jets are down to their final chances, and Winnipeg’s season could end today.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Each day during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Canes Country recaps the night before, previews the games for that night, and gives you game times and broadcast information.

Saturday’s Recap

Washington Capitals v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Five Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning 3, Washington Capitals 2 (TBL leads series 3-2)

With a lightning-quick start, and another tremendous performance in net from Andrei Vasilevskiy, the Tampa Bay Lightning pushed the Washington Capitals to the brink of elimination by winning their third consecutive game in this best of seven Eastern Conference Final.

Cedric Paquette got the home crowd energized by starting the scoring just 19 seconds into action. Paquette snapped a shot past Braden Holtby after a couple of terrific plays from Ryan Callahan forced the puck back into the offensive zone and ultimately to Paquette in front. Near the midway point of the first period, the Lightning extended their lead as Ondrej Palat yanked a wrister past Holtby from the high slot after a turnover (one of many in the early going) from Dmitry Orlov.

For the first time in the series, the Lightning controlled the action (though they still managed to be outshot 30-22) and continued to pour the pressure on in the second period as they extended their lead to 3-0 on the first shift of the second period on a goal by Callahan. At that point, the Capitals finally joined the fight. Behind a goal from Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Caps pulled within two goals.

From there the Capitals were able to begin to build an offensive game, but the sturdy play from Vasilevskiy, combined with some help from his posts were just enough to hold off the Caps. With less than two minutes remaining Alex Ovechkin was able to rifle a one-timer past Vasilevskiy to pull the Caps within a goal. In the remaining 95 seconds, the Caps kept the pressure on, but the Bolts were able to hold on for dear life and push the series back to D.C. with the Caps now facing elimination.

Washington must find a way to breakthrough on Vasilevskiy while also asking for more from Holtby to at least attempt to match up with the hot Lightning netminder. If not, the Capitals will taste the same fate they have experienced over the past decade, just a few weeks later than usual. - Andy House

Sunday’s Preview

Winnipeg Jets v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Four Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Vegas Golden Knights at Winnipeg Jets (VGK leads series 3-1)

3:00 p.m. ET, NBC

  1. Closing Time: Who could have ever predicted that Vegas would be this far? The Golden Knights are just one win away from the Stanley Cup Final and can close out the series in Game 5. According to Sporting News, the odds of Vegas winning the Cup started at 150-1 and got as high as 500-1. If any of our readers happened to place money, I’ll gladly accept donations.
  2. A Critical Mistake: Connor Hellebuyck has played great in a series in which he is down 3-1, but a critical mistake in Game 4 may have just cost the Jets the series. He failed to catch and freeze a long dump-in shot by the Golden Knights and the rebound generated a goal just seconds later. At that point, the Jets had scored just 43 seconds earlier and had the momentum swing their way, but that goal totally changed the complexion of the game - and maybe of the series.
  3. Rally Around Reilly: Reilly Smith had a strong Game 4, recording the game-winning goal on a rising shot that beat Hellebuyck up high. He’s been phenomenal, as has the rest of the first line. He has two goals and 14 assists in the postseason. He could be a factor in Game 5 if the Golden Knights are to close out the series today. - Justin Lape