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Eastern Conference Final | Lightning vs. Capitals

game recap

Capitals score six in win against Lightning in Game 2

Kuznetsov has goal, two assists for Washington, which is two victories from Stanley Cup Final

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

TAMPA -- The Washington Capitals are two wins from the Stanley Cup Final after a 6-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final at Amalie Arena on Sunday.

The Capitals took a 2-0 lead on the road in a best-of-7 series for the third time in their history. Game 3 is at Washington on Tuesday.

 

[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Lightning highlights | Complete Lightning vs. Capitals series coverage]

 

"It's huge, but it's not over yet," Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said. "We're going to come back home and do our thing and take another one. It's going to be hard. They have tremendous players over there and we just have to play the same way and don't give them anything."

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm2: Ovechkin buries Kuznetsov's setup

Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller each had a goal and two assists, Ovechkin and Tom Wilson each had a goal and an assist, and Braden Holtby made 33 saves for Washington, which is 7-1 on the road in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, tying its record for most road wins in one postseason. 

Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos scored, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves for Tampa Bay, which lost two games in a row for the first time this postseason. 

"If there is one thing I can sit here and say about these two games, it's we just played tentative and a little bit slow," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We didn't get 113 points by playing that way. We didn't win the first two rounds by playing that way. These first two games, that's the way we've played."

Washington's Devante Smith-Pelly tied it 2-2 at 2:50 of the second period on a one-timer off a pass from Alex Chiasson on a 2-on-1. 

"That was a big, big goal for our group, and after that, I think it really changed," Capitals forward Brett Connolly said. "Everything changed, and we just kept pushing and pushing, and then we got it to 6-2."

Eller gave Washington a 3-2 lead at 18:58, scoring from in front on a redirection of Jakub Vrana's pass out of the right corner.

Kuznetsov made it 4-2 with a power-play goal at 19:57, less than seven seconds after Vasilevskiy was called for a tripping penalty. He sent a pass along the right goal line through the crease, where it deflected off Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh's stick into the net.

It's the second straight game the Capitals scored a power-play goal late in a period to take a two-goal lead (Ovechkin scored at 19:54 of the first period in Game 1 to give Washington a 2-0 lead).

"You'd think we'd learn from our mistake in Game 1, but they get one and that's really a killer going down 4-2 instead of 3-2," Stamkos said. "It's little details of the game at this time of the year, and they've executed and we haven't."

Ovechkin extended the lead to 5-2 at 3:34 of the third period on a one-timer off a pass from Kuznetsov. Connolly made it 6-2 at 12:57, beating Vasilevskiy blocker side from the top of the left circle.

"I said it this morning, everyone is stepping up," Ovechkin said. "We played hard. We played smart and you can see all the four lines did their job. We didn't force it. We just did our job."

Wilson gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 28 seconds into the game, redirecting Matt Niskanen's shot from the right point. 

Point tied it 1-1 at 7:08 with a power-play goal. Stamkos gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead on a one-timer on the power play at 10:22.

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm2: Smith-Pelly finishes Chiasson's feed

 

Goal of the game

Eller's goal at 18:58 of the second period.

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm2: Eller redirects home Vrana's pass

 

Save of the game

Holtby's save on Stamkos at 17:24 of the second period.

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm2: Holtby absorbs Stamkos' one-timer

 

Highlight of the game

Kuznetsov's goal at 19:57 of the second period.

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm2: Kuznetsov pots PPG late in the 2nd

 

They said it

"I feel like we spend much more time together on the road and it shows up in our game. But overall for us, it doesn't matter where we play, who we play against. It's our game." -- Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov

 

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm2: Kuznetsov on Game 2 win, line's success

 

"They look like they're frustrated a little but over there. We've got to keep playing hard, keep playing fast and stay on them. But it's a long series. They've got a great team and a lot of guys over there who are gamers. They're not going to quit, so we've got to keep going." -- Capitals forward Brett Connolly

 

"Sometimes adversity is gut-check time and let's see who we really are. We haven't had to really deal with that so far in the playoffs, now we are so we'll see what type of team we are." -- Lightning captain Steven Stamkos

 

Need to know

John Carlson had two assists. His 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) are the most by a defenseman in the playoffs in Capitals history. Carlson (2016), Kevin Hatcher (1988), Scott Stevens (1988) each had 12. … Washington also won seven road playoff games in 1998, when it went to the Stanley Cup Final. … The Capitals are 0-2 in series after winning the first two games on the road. They lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins (1996) and Lightning (2003) in six games in the Eastern Quarterfinals. ... The Lightning hadn't lost two games in a row at home since the 2015 Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers (Games 4 and 6). They won that series in seven games. …Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman had an assist to extend his point streak to seven games (eight assists), passing Martin St. Louis (2004) for the longest postseason streak in Lightning history. ... Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom (right-hand injury) missed his third consecutive game. 

 

What's next

Game 3 of Eastern Conference Final at Capital One Arena on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)

 

Video: Capitals surge past Lightning to grab 2-0 series lead

 

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