The Eastern Conference finals couldn’t have been a more seesaw pitched-battle between two top-flight teams. The Capitals started the series as a slight underdog, but erased any such notion, ripping off two straight wins on Tampa’s home ice. Suddenly, destiny seemed to be in Washington’s hands as they would head home to possibly finish the Lighting off in four. Fans were pulling out their brooms.

The optimism quickly faded, as the Lightning came storming back, winning both games on the Capitals home-ice to tie the series at two. The Lightning continued the winning streak, taking the first home-ice win of the series in game 5.

With the momentum swinging the Lightning’s way, the Capitals responded with their first home-ice win, dominating Tampa Bay with a 3-0 win to tie the series at 3.

The Capitals catch lightning in a bottle

The Capitals could not afford a slow start on hostile ice in the decisive game 7 and team captain, Alex Ovechkin, made sure his team struck first, scoring only a minute into the game. Coach Barry Trotz was feeling good as his star player was on an unstoppable mission. On the opening goal, Evgeny Kuznetsov played a pass to Ovechkin who one-timed it past Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

An unlikely hero of the night for Washington was young Washington winger, Andre Burakovsky, who had been spending time on the bench for inconsistent play.

He had confidence issues during the season and into the playoffs, but he skated past those issues on his way to scoring two goals to put the Capitals up 3-0 heading into the final period.

Holtby is perfection on ice

Tampa Bay was not going to go down without a fight and produced numerous dangerous scoring chances.

For the second straight game, however, Washington’s ace goaltender, Braden Holtby, was perfect, stopping anything and everything that came his way. It’s hard to win when you can’t score and Holtby made sure the Lighting were blanked.

A third period empty-net goal only added icing to the cake in the Capitals sweeping 4-0 victory on their way to the NHL Stanley Cup finals against NHL expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

It is interesting that the general manager for the Golden Knights is none other than George McPhee, former general manager for the Capitals. Add that one to the storylines to be covered for the finals.

Of course, with the victory, Capitals fans erased 20 years of playoff heartbreak, and their beloved team finally took the Eastern Conference Finals Prince of Wales trophy. Alex Ovechkin was not feeling superstitious at all when he touched the trophy, and one more best of seven series is the only thing standing in the way of Ovechkin finally breaking through for a Stanley Cup.