WASHINGTON — With simply over eight minutes left in regulation, the Washington Capitals survived essentially the most deadly energy play within the postseason.
The dwelling crowd roared in appreciation of the Capitals’ penalty kill. For a second, the gang exhaled.
All the Tampa Bay Lightning wanted to tie up the Eastern Conference finals was that temporary second of satisfaction from their opponents.
It was six seconds after the penalty kill. It was six seconds that turned a golden probability for Washington in Game Four on Thursday night time at Capital One Arena to take management of this sequence right into a wasted one. Instead, the Lightning evened the convention finals at 2-2 with a Four-2 win in opposition to the Capitals.
“I can name it what it’s. It’s a missed alternative. If we get one at dwelling, it is a totally different sequence,” mentioned ahead Tom Wilson, after a sport that noticed the Capitals tilt the ice with 65 shot makes an attempt to 45 for the Lightning.
“You gotta keep constructive,” Wilson mentioned. “It might be extra irritating if it was the opposite means round: That they outplayed us and we bought no appears and blah blah blah. We’re assured in our sport. We knew it wasn’t going to be straightforward, and all these clichés. We had been fairly proud of our sport, exterior of a few bounces.”
Coach Barry Trotz believes the Capitals will battle on as nicely.
“We’ll battle by means of it. This group has been resilient as hell all yr. Nothing’s come straightforward for this staff. Everybody is aware of that,” Trotz mentioned.
Taking a cue from their coach, the Capitals’ dressing room was an optimistic place after Game Four, regardless of a parade of irritating squandered possibilities. They put 38 pictures on Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, and bought two pucks by him. They had three straight energy performs throughout a 6-minute, 36-second stretch within the first interval, with nothing to indicate for it.
That’s partially as a result of the Lightning made some changes on their penalty kill in an effort to neutralize Alex Ovechkin.
“Tonight they performed a little bit bit totally different, gave [Ovechkin] a whole lot of appears. He bought some actually good pictures off they usually made just a few good blocks,” defenseman John Carlson mentioned. “I feel possibly tonight we gave the impression to be getting a whole lot of restoration performs early in energy performs with attracts and stuff, however sort of a little bit an excessive amount of one-and-done after that. We’d get an opportunity they usually ice, in order that was one of many primary causes.”
They did not reap the benefits of Lightning penalty killers working on fumes.
“We wanted the interval to finish there. All the penalty killing we had been doing, our guys had been gassed. All the psychological stress, the identical guys are on the ice the entire time,” Tampa coach Jon Cooper mentioned. “I feel that affected their second [period].”
There was additionally that second-period energy play when Tyler Johnson was lacking a stick that they could not convert on. Washington’s energy play is now 1-for-10 within the final three video games.
The Capitals did not reap the benefits of a Lightning staff on the ropes, one that did not generate a shot from 9:16 of the primary interval to 10:11 of the second interval.
They did not reap the benefits of 2:34 of 6-on-5 hockey on the finish of the sport, when Washington bought appears however could not tie the rating. When Anthony Cirelli scored into the Capitals’ empty web with two seconds remaining, Ovechkin took a two-handed whack on the cross bar and shattered his stick. But after clear frustration on the ice, Ovechkin had a distinct tone within the dressing room.
“It’s OK. It sucks we misplaced two in a row, however we’ll bounce again and play arduous in Game 5,” he mentioned. “Of course, it is a missed alternative. It is what it’s, nothing we are able to do. We’re not going to look again. We’re simply going to look ahead. This group of fellows has been in several conditions all yr and we battle by means of it. So it is an enormous take a look at. We’re nonetheless going to have enjoyable, we’re nonetheless going to get pleasure from it, and we’ll see what occurs.”
Game 5 is Saturday night time in Tampa, the place the Capitals dominated the primary two video games of the sequence, scoring 10 targets in opposition to Vasilevskiy, who all however stole Game Four for the Lightning on the highway.
“He did not play nice within the first two. He performed nicely within the second two,” Wilson mentioned. “It’s our job to make him appear like the goalie from the primary two video games. We’ll make it arduous on him.”