Stanley Cup playoffs: Capitals beat Lightning, advance to finals

By Alex Butler  |  May 24, 2018 at 9:36 AM
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May 24 (UPI) -- Andre Burakovsky scored twice, helping the Washington Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning and advance to the Stanley Cup finals.

The Capitals wrapped up the Eastern Conference finals with a 4-0 victory in Game 7 Wednesday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. Washington now battles the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup finals, starting on Monday.

"It was definitely a nervous third period," Burakovsky told reporters. "We didn't give up. We didn't stop playing at all in the third period. I think we just stuck with the game, still trying to outwork them in every battle. Even when there was 30 seconds left we still went after them. That's the spirit we had this whole series."

Alex Ovechkin netted the first goal of the shutout victory. The Capitals left wing received a pass just 1:02 into regulation. He finished the Evgeny Kuznetsov feed by drilling a one-timer past Lightning net minder Andrei Vasilevskiy for a 1-0 advantage.

Then came the Burakovsky barrage. The Capitals left wing got his first goal after stealing the puck from Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi. He pulled the puck to his right before slipping a shot under Vasilevskiy's right arm for the goal 8:59 into the second period.

He scored again about eight minutes later. Burakovsky got that score on a breakaway. He received a long feed from John Carlson, before ripping a wrist shot through Vasilevskiy's five hole.

Nicklas Backstrom got the final score of the night for the road squad. He scored that goal on an open net with 3:43 remaining.

"Once we got into the third period and they got through the first five minutes, I knew we were in great shape," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "Because we were checking well and we had life on the bench. Our leaders were fantastic today."

The Golden Knights host the Capitals in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals at 8 p.m. Monday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

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