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Stanley Cup Daily 5/23: Narratives Colliding

Either the Capitals pull out a win that their history suggests they won’t, or we’re here tomorrow saying “same old Caps.” No pressure.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-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.

Wednesday’s Preview

Tampa Bay Lightning v Washington Capitals - Game Six Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning (Series tied 3-3)

8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  1. This One’s for the Whole Shootin’ Match: Nothing gets the juices flowing quite like a Game 7. For both the Washington Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning, their entire season is now distilled down into 60 minutes (or more, please, let there be OT!) of hockey. The winner advances to the Stanley Cup Final, the loser gets to begin licking their wounds. In order to deal with that sort of finality, the most important thing for each team is to understand the circumstance, harness that increased level of energy into greater focus. If one team is struggling with that, it may be apparent very early. To guard against destructive mistakes, these games can often take on a more conservative feel early in the contests, but every now and then, one team shows up ready to go and begins to dictate the action from the beginning. If one team is able to do that today, they will earn a massive leg up in this pivotal game.
  2. Power Play Opportunities More Precious: As the series has drawn deeper, the chances on the power play have become fewer and further between. Game 5 featured only one penalty (on Washington), and Game 6 offered three penalties total. Fighting through rough play will certainly be important, as you cannot expect to draw many calls, but if and when these teams do get their chance on the power play, the potent attacks must make it pay off, as Washington was able to do in their one opportunity in Game 6, because they may not receive a better scoring opportunity than those chances.
  3. Unlikely Hero, or The Usual Suspects? NHL history is littered with Game 7 heroics from all walks of life. Often times, it is one of the least expected men on the ice that make the most impactful play. Will it be a Jay Beagle or a Yanni Gourde that forever burns his name into his team’s history with a big goal tonight? Or will it be one of the stars, an Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Steven Stamkos, or Nikita Kucherov that fashions what could perhaps be their greatest moment in their NHL careers? While each skater knows there is great opportunity that awaits them this evening, the men between the pipes - Andrei Vasilevskiy and Braden Holtby - ultimately hold the keys to victory in their hands. Which goalie might rise to the occasion one again in this series to lead their team to the Stanley Cup Final? I don’t have a lot of answers for what will happen, but it is sure gonna be fun to watch it play out.