For the first time since 1998, the Washington Capitals are heading to the Stanley Cup Final after a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 on Wednesday night. Fittingly, it was their captain who got the party started with a vintage Ovi blast to open the scoring just over a minute into the opening frame of the biggest NHL game of his career.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 24, 2018
Ovechkin entered the deciding game with a 3-7 record in Game 7’s during his NHL career, with just six points over those 10 contests. He was the third-highest scoring player in league history not to reach a Cup final, and suited up 1120 times for the Caps before finally reaching the elusive dance. Ovechkin now ranks just behind Mark Scheifele for the playoff lead in goals with 12 and sits just behind teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov in points while leading in shots.
A lesser known hero emerged for Washington too, as Andre Burakovsky picked the right time to score his first and second goals of the postseason to give the Capitals the insurance they needed to finish the job.
Andre Burakovsky picked the right time to wake up in these playoffs pic.twitter.com/8Cwsfcz4Ui
— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) May 24, 2018
The win sets up a meeting with the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, a club run by former general manager George McPhee who still has his finger prints all over the Capitals’ current roster. The juicy matchup will see either Vegas secure a Stanley Cup championship in it’s first year of existence, or Ovechkin finally get that ring he’s been chasing his whole career.