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Stanley Cup Daily 5/22: Flipping the Script

The Capitals aren’t supposed to be the ones winning an elimination game on their home ice. But no one told them that, and the result is a Game 7.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals Amber Searls-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.

Monday’s Recap

Tampa Bay Lightning v Washington Capitals - Game Six Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Washington Capitals 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 0 (Series tied 3-3)

There are no greater words in sports than “Game 7.” And following Monday night’s 3-0 Game 6 win by the Washington Capitals, we will all now be treated to those two glorious words once again on Wednesday night in Tampa.

Braden Holtby finally joined the goaltending fight as his superlative performance gave the Capitals time to find their offensive legs and eventually put away the Tampa Bay Lightning in the third period. In stopping all 24 shots sent his way, Holtby recorded his first shutout of the playoffs (and of the season as a whole) and raised his playoff save percentage to .919.

Offense was tough to come by in the early going in Washington on Monday. With no goals in the first period, but more terrific work from Andrei Vasilevskiy to keep the score sheet clean, the Caps and their fans headed into the second period anxious and wondering if they would rue the missed opportunities in the first. The second period featured more of the same, with Holtby getting in on the act stopping an Anthony Cirelli backhand with a toe save around the midway point of the contest.

Finally, after receiving their first power play since Game 4, the Capitals converted with a nifty pass to T.J. Oshie in the slot who cranked a one-timer past Vasilevskiy for what ended up being the game-winner. The Caps continued to buzz, but Vasilevskiy was once again stellar in net.

After several minutes of the Lightning controlling the play to begin the third period, the Capitals finally earned their insurance goal at 10:02 of the third period as Chandler Stephenson beat out an icing call, and with help from Jay Beagle, Stephenson was able to find a streaking Devante Smith-Pelly in front to snap it past Vasilevskiy for the 2-0advantage. The Capitals were able to ride that lead inside the final minute when T.J. Oshie deposited his second goal into the empty net to provide the final margin.

The Caps again outshot the Lightning, this time 34-24, but Washington was also the more physical and desperate team on the ice for the entire evening. In order to make their first trip back to the Stanley Cup Final since 1998, they will have to summon a very similar effort in Game 7 in Tampa. Most importantly, however, they must hope that the same decisive and solid Holtby stands between the pipes on Wednesday. If that player arrives again, it should certainly be a memorable Game 7.