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Conference Final

Burakovsky redeems himself in Capitals' Game 7 win against Lightning

Scores first two goals of postseason to atone for playoff struggles

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- Washington Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky felt like his time was coming and didn't mind sharing it with teammate Nicklas Backstrom.

"He just told me before the game that he had a good feeling about tonight," Backstrom said. "And, yeah, he was right. That was a good feeling."

Burakovsky, who has fought through injury and self-doubt for much of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, scored his first two goals of the postseason to help send the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final at Amalie Arena on Wednesday.

 

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The Capitals will play the Vegas Golden Knights in the Cup Final. Game 1 is at Vegas on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

The timing couldn't have been better for Burakovsky, who missed 10 playoff games with an upper-body injury and admitted his confidence had been shaken after being scratched in Game 5 of the conference final.

"I mean, this is definitely something you've been dreaming of," Burakovsky said. "To score two goals and have a huge impact in a Game 7 ... obviously just playing in Game 7 is big. It was a fun night."

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm7: Burakovsky forces turnover to score

The first goal came when Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi had the puck caught in his jersey and it bounced right on the stick of Burakovsky, who had a clear path to the net. He beat Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to the far post for a 2-0 lead at 8:59 of the second period.

"At first I thought the puck went down in the corner, and then I saw [Girardi] was, like, holding his hand across his chest," Burakovsky said. "I guess he had the puck there, and as soon as he dropped it I just tried to get a stick on it and he kind of went out of position. I didn't have the best angle but I was just trying to put it far side and it worked pretty good."

Burakovsky caught the Lightning on a line change and got behind the defense on a breakaway to go five-hole on Vasilevskiy to make it 3-0 at 16:31.

At that point, Burakovsky said he felt good about the Capitals' chances to hang on to the lead and he felt relieved to contribute after a trying postseason.

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm7: Burakovsky nets second of period

"When you get hard on yourself that's kind of when you try to force things," Burakovsky said. "So it's always good for me to do something good out there and get my confidence up so I'm feeling good about myself.

"Right away, after I scored that [first] goal, I was a lot more secure with the puck. I think every time I got it I made a good play or just made a simple play."

Backstrom appreciated Burakovsky's contributions and the time in which they came.

"It's amazing," Backstrom said. "That's what you need. I feel like maybe [the Lightning] was pressuring the most during the second and we got two quick ones there by Andre and that's huge. That's what you need. You need it from everybody and tonight was Andre's time."

Video: Discussing Burakovsky's two goals in Game 7

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