How fitting is it that Ovechkin scored the game-winner? He raised both arms and hugged whoever was next to him.
The Capitals made no apologies for taking the body and grinding out a physical 3-0 victory Monday night that tied the playoff series and set up a deciding Game 7. Ovechkin has been leading in many ways even when he hasn't been showing up on the scoresheet.
"First period of Game 5, bottle that up and do it three times".
"They kind of attack you with five guys, kind of like the last three teams we've faced", said Carlson.
"I feel like we had a good enough team to be where we were", Cooper said. Either Vegas completes the most improbable expansion season in league history or the Capitals and the oft-maligned Ovechkin finally get over the hump, even if it's with a team that is objectively not as strong as some of the clubs they've had in recent years.
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Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with his teammates Matt Niskanen #2 and Dmitry Orlov #9 after scoring a goal on Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 23, 2018 in Tampa, Florida.
"They played with that desperate hockey and we should have matched it and we didn't", winger Ryan Callahan said. "I think everybody is happy, but we still have unfinished, you know what I mean".
"It's unbelievable. I can't explain my emotions...", a flustered Ovechkin told NBCSN's Pierre McGuire.
He struggled to collect his thoughts, smiling and shaking his head. "It's about doing your job at the highest level you possibly can". Burakovsky, who did not play in Game 5, found one that eluded Vasilevskiy at 8:59.
On Wednesday, one Eastern Conference team's season will come to an end while the other will play on with a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup.
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The Golden Knights' top scorer during the playoffs has been former Lightning forward Jonathan Marchessault with 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists). The Capitals and Golden Knights are 4 wins away from shocking the hockey world.
Coach Barry Trotz said there isn't a team he'd want in a Game 7 more than this one. "I saw it first shift". Luckily, the Lightning have a sound second pairing, led by McDonagh, and the former Rangers captain is awfully familiar with Ovechkin and the Capitals from his time spent in NY. 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. Ovechkin's career has been a highlight reel of laser shots such as that one but also pained expressions in May.
Holtby's regular-season numbers (2.99 GAA, .907 save percentage) are a career worst. Stamkos third period goal at Boston sent Game 4 into overtime where Girardi won it.
"Just the way it's grown, the way it's handled adversity, handled just the whole year of roadblocks, expectations, all those things that just came about", Trotz said Tuesday. "The great players take exception to that". "You can sit here and pick apart all you want of what went wrong, it was one game".
"It's just been one nightmare after another", said Anthony Beverina, who has had season tickets in section 417 since 1997-98.
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