Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Caps blank Lightning, return to finals after 20 years

Caps blank Lightning, return to finals after 20 years

Jon Cooper searched for adequate words to describe the feeling of coming within one victory of playing for the Stanley Cup.

Against Pittsburgh, the whole series looked like a grind at times for the defending Champs and the same with Tampa Bay.

The Washington Capitals are heading to the Stanley Cup final.

"It's fun. I'm more happy for that group than I am personally", Trotz said.

"We have a good mix of players", said Washington's Nicklas Backstrom.

"We're here to win as team, no matter who gets the credit", said Holtby, the fifth goalie to deliver a Game 7 shutout to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Final.

This is the second time Washington has made the Stanley Cup finals, last time being in 1998 as the Detroit Redwings would go on to win the series 4-0 but we won't talk about that. A couple of shots clanged off the post, Yanni Gourde was unable to get his stick on a loose puck in front on an empty net and the game gradually slipped away.

"If anybody sits and says it was an unsuccessful season, I have to question that".

With that in mind, we present a stroll down memory lane and a look back at each of Washington's four wins in Game 7.

The Washington Capitals star is headed to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in his 13-year career, eager to put more distance between the Eastern Conference champions and a lingering perception of Ovechkin and the Caps as playoff underachievers.

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"Now it's just solving that piece of the puzzle", the coach added, "getting over the top". This was the most talented, deepest and most experienced roster that Yzerman had built in his eight years as GM.

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, a Vezina Trophy finalist in his first full season as a starter, is just 23 years old.

"It's just a very disappointing", said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.

"What were we missing?"

Both of those deciding games were on the road. "Probably thought you're going to be on vacation somewhere". They were opportunistic and scored, and they advanced.

According to Natural Stat Trick, the Lightning out-attempted the Caps at five-on-five 53-50 with this lineup, but the Caps outshot the Lightning 34-24 and had more high-danger chances 14-10. "I don't think you guys (reporters) felt like you were going to be here".

"There's a process and there's no definitive timeline for it".

"Last year all of those (other Washington) teams made the playoffs and then it was like, hey we got to do the same too, and we dropped the ball", Washington running back Chris Thompson said. "It's not a failure".

As each National Hockey League team is eliminated from playoff contention - either mathematically or by losing in the postseason - we'll take a look at why its quest for the Stanley Cup fell short in 2017-18, along with three keys to its offseason and a way-too-early prediction for what 2018-19 will hold.

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