Washington Capitals rue 'missed opportunity' to put away Tampa Bay Lightning

Washington Capitals rue ‘missed opportunity’ to put away Tampa Bay Lightning

WASHINGTON — With simply over eight minutes left in regulation, the Washington Capitals survived probably the most deadly energy play within the postseason.

The house 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.

Mikhail Sergachev held the puck within the zone, despatched it to Ondrej Palat, who backhanded it to Alex Killorn in the course of three Capitals defenders, who slid it previous goalie Braden Holtby.

It was six seconds after the penalty kill. It was six seconds that turned a golden likelihood for Washington in Game Four on Thursday night time at Capital One Arena to take management of this collection right into a wasted one. Instead, the Lightning evened the convention finals at 2-2 with a Four-2 win towards the Capitals.

“I can call it what it is. It’s a missed opportunity. If we get one at home, it’s a different series,” mentioned ahead Tom Wilson, after a recreation that noticed the Capitals tilt the ice with 65 shot makes an attempt to 45 for the Lightning.

“You gotta stay positive,” Wilson mentioned. “It could be more frustrating if it was the other way around: That they outplayed us and we got no looks and blah blah blah. We’re confident in our game. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and all those clich├ęs. We were pretty happy with our game, outside of a couple of bounces.”

Coach Barry Trotz believes the Capitals will struggle on as nicely.

“We’ll battle through it. This group has been resilient as hell all year. Nothing’s come easy for this team. Everybody knows 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 obtained two pucks by him. They had three straight energy performs throughout a 6-minute, 36-second stretch within the first interval, with nothing to present 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 played a little bit different, gave [Ovechkin] a lot of looks. He got some really good shots off and they made a few nice blocks,” defenseman John Carlson mentioned. “I think maybe tonight we seemed to be getting a lot of recovery plays early in power plays with draws and stuff, but kind of a little too much one-and-done after that. We’d get a chance and they ice, so that was one of the main reasons.”

They failed to benefit from Lightning penalty killers working on fumes.

“We needed the period to end there. All the penalty killing we were doing, our guys were gassed. All the mental stress, the same guys are on the ice the whole time,” Tampa coach Jon Cooper mentioned. “I think 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 failed to benefit from a Lightning workforce 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 failed to benefit from 2:34 of 6-on-5 hockey on the finish of the sport, when Washington obtained seems 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 special tone within the dressing room.

“It’s OK. It sucks we lost two in a row, but we’re going to bounce back and play hard in Game 5,” he mentioned. “Of course, it’s a missed opportunity. It is what it is, nothing we can do. We’re not going to look back. We’re just going to look forward. This group of guys has been in different situations all year and we fight through it. So it’s a huge test. We’re still going to have fun, we’re still going to enjoy it, and we’ll see what happens.”

Game 5 is Saturday night time in Tampa, the place the Capitals dominated the primary two video games of the collection, scoring 10 targets towards Vasilevskiy, who all however stole Game Four for the Lightning on the highway.

“He didn’t play great in the first two. He played well in the second two,” Wilson mentioned. “It’s our job to make him look like the goalie from the first two games. We’ll make it hard on him.”

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