After an offseason of having to shed much of their roster due to salary cap constraints, no one expected much of the Capitals this season, but the team stayed true to Ovechkin's prediction and are now going to their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years. "Everybody was all in and it's a good result".
In some ways, his run to the promised land is as unlikely as Vegas'.
The 32-year-old has been all business since the playoffs began.
Facing elimination at home, the Washington Capitals looked determined to hit everything that moved in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final. There are absolutely things that the Lightning could have and perhaps should have done better, but the headline here is that the Washington Capitals have reached that next level they have been trying to reach for a decade.
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, had an easy go of it in the first two rounds, dropping only one game in each series in dispatching the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins.
"You don't want to be a one-trick pony in this league", Trotz said. "They played like their lives were on the line, and we played like we had another chance and that's unfortunate, but we've got to change the script now in Game 7".
"It doesn't matter who scores", Ovechkin has said repeatedly during these playoffs. To get this far, they had to not only outlast the Lightning but survive longtime playoff nemesis Pittsburgh, which has won the last two championships. Besides that, and a power-play for Washington early in the first period, the two teams spent the entire game at even strength, a factor that definitely worked to Washington's advantage.
He's been a huge part of the Caps' previous two clinching games. Devante Smith-Pelly had three hits, including one on Dan Girardi that felled both the Lightning defenceman and the Capital that had been pursuing him.
Backstrom added an empty-netter, but it was over well before then. In the post-lockout era, Ovechkin is tied for ninth in Game 7 points with six, he's second in ice time with more than 200 minutes and no player has made netminders make more stops. "We have to give them some credit".
The Washington Capitals haven't actually won anything yet. Cheers greeted Ovechkin touching the Prince of Wales Trophy and then the flash of the Stanley Cup Final schedule before the series against former general manager George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights begins.
Tyler Johnson had team-worst possession stats (41.4 CF%) while Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman and Nikita Kucherov were each on the ice for four more goals against than for during 5-on-5 play. They are 4-5 at home in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and 7-2 on the road. Marc-Andre Fleury would make 26 saves, earning his first shutout of the season. The Capitals will travel to Vegas to take on the Golden Knights. "They work together really well".
"You don't even have to say so much, you just have to look at each other", Backstrom said. "Now this group is excited and we're ready to go".
The Capitals are a four-line machine this postseason when it comes to playing an exceptional 200ft game, another resemblance to the Penguins in the spring of 2016.
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