It doesn’t get much better than a Game 7 with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final up for grabs. The Washington Capitals played one of their best games of the year to force a Game 7. It was do-or-die and the Capitals certainly did in Game 6. Alexander Ovechkin has been great throughout the playoffs and this series in particular. He and his teammates really brought it to the Lightning in a game they had to win.
It was one of the most physical games we’ve seen from the Caps who looked motivated as ever. The feeling of blowing a two-game series lead after leaving Tampa Bay had to leave a sour taste in their mouths. After losing Game 1 and 2 against the Blue Jackets at home in the first-round, the consensus amongst everyone was choke. They must have taken it to heart, as the Capitals didn’t lose another game in the series.
Now, here we are again. Following blowing a two-game lead, the word choke was thrown around on radio, television, and social media. The Capitals harnessed the criticism and turned it into quite the performance in Game 6. The most noticeable difference between the Lightning and Capitals was the physicality.
When the Caps want to play physical hockey, they are fully capable of playing that brand of hockey. In that sense, the Bolts are not going to match that. On the road, though, will the Caps have the same kind of jolt? It’s a Game 7, if they don’t, then why are they even flying to Florida. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Lightning Game 7 pick.
Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 7 Pick
The Lightning looked like they did not expect that kind of effort from the Capitals. The Caps got a complete team effort, including Braden Holtby who earned the shutout as he stopped 24 shots. It wasn’t just the top-line and superstars that had a good game for the Capitals in Game 6. Credit to Jay Beagle and the back line who were giving their all as well. Beagle got a helper and was thorn in Tampa’s side all night long. This very well could be his last hurrah and his effort was clear in Game 6. You can find a scrappy guy like Beagle on just about every Stanley Cup winning roster.
Game 6 made for the sixth game of the series that the Capitals have outshot the Lightning in this series. The Caps have topped the 30 shot mark with an average of 34.8 shots per game. Conversely, the Lightning have hit the net an average of 24.1 times. They’ve eclipsed 30 shots only once in the Eastern Conference Final. The only game I wasn’t really happy with the Capitals play was in Game 3.
They were clearly getting outworked and deserved to lose. However, the Caps could have easily won every other game in this series. I am aware of the horrid history of the Capitals in Game 7’s. But we also haven’t seen Ovechkin playing this hungry, either. Despite playing on the road in Game 7, I think the Capitals have some value in Game 7. I’m going to ride with the team who has been the better team in the series and has the better odds in this winner-take-all matchup.