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Conference Final

Girardi blocks Ovechkin shot to help Lightning survive Game 5

Get one-goal win despite forceful final push by Capitals

by Corey Long / Correspondent

Girardi's key block on Ovechkin

WSH@TBL, Gm5: Girardi shuts Ovechkin down late

ECF, Gm5: Dan Girardi uses his body to get in the way of a critical chance from Alex Ovechkin, keeping the Lightning on top late in the 3rd

  • 00:20 •

TAMPA -- Dan Girardi saw Alex Ovechkin lining up a one-timer from the left circle with 19 seconds remaining in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final and knew what he had to do.

The Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman dropped to one knee and blocked the shot with his backside.

"It's just that thing in the game, you've got to block that shot," Girardi said. "Obviously he got loose on the first one. Knowing where it's going, it's going to [John] Carlson, I know [Ovechkin's] going to go over there, right place, right time. This time of year you've got to eat those."


[RELATED: Complete Lightning vs. Capitals series coverage]


After Girardi's block, Andrei Vasilevskiy made a sliding shoulder save on Carlson from the slot with 10 seconds remaining, and the Lightning held on for a 3-2 win against the Washington Capitals at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

Tampa Bay took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series and can advance to the Stanley Cup Final with a Game 6 win at Washington on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN1, TVAS).

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm5: Callahan, Paquette talk Game 5

Ovechkin made it 3-2 with 1:36 left in the third period on a one-timer from above the left face-off circle. Washington won the face-off and quickly pulled goalie Braden Holtby for an extra attacker to set up the frantic finish.

"You're just trying to find ways to be somewhat aggressive and look for a loose puck to jump on," Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "You need a blocked shot obviously. You need a big save. And we got a little bit of each of those.

"The backdoor save that Vasilevskiy made was tremendous and another reason that he's playing unbelievable for us back there. We had some big shot blocks too, Girardi on Ovechkin and [Victor Hedman] had one, and the forwards did a great job clearing it."

Girardi, who had a game-high four blocked shots, said the Lightning could have done a better job pressuring the Capitals in the final seconds to force them out of their structure.

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm5: Vasilevskiy stones Carlson late in 3rd

"It's a good thing we're in that position because, you know, obviously we're up in the game, but maybe we've got to find a way to maybe put a little more pressure on them when they've got the puck on the outside," Girardi said. "You give those guys some time, we're kind of compacted, which is good, but they got a lot of one-timers out there."

The Capitals attempted six shots in the final 1:36. Vasilevskiy made three saves, and Girardi, McDonagh, Hedman blocked one each.

"Some incredible blocks, obviously [Girardi's] big one against Ovi there," Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman said. "That's what you need. You need guys to step up and be in those lanes, and when a puck did find its way through, [Vasilevskiy] was there."


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