The public transportation system in Washington, D.C., normally only runs until 11:30 p.m. ET on weeknights, posing a potential problem for fans leaving Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night, which doesn't begin until 8 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.
This was more like the Tampa Bay team that had rolled over New Jersey and Boston in the previous two rounds, rather than the team that had been outscored 10-4 in Games 1 and 2 against Washington.
The big defenseman took it upon himself to provide it.
Vasilevskiy's first-period save was key - the Capitals have had a knack for scoring late in periods in this series. Now that Tampa Bay was in charge, you could feel the knot in the players' stomachs start to loosen.
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After Tampa Bay scored the game's first three goals, Connolly tallied for the Capitalsmidway through the second period.
Vasilevskiy had come under scrutiny after yielding six goals in the Game 2 loss, but his teammates and coaches remained committed to a goalie many view as a Vezina Trophy front-runner for the league's top goaltender. "When you get to the playoffs, really it's the team that wins".
"For us, it's all about resetting everything", defenseman Victor Hedman said Monday.
In the Western Conference Final, the Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights split the first two games of the series in Winnipeg as the series heads to Las Vegas.
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Vasilevskiy finished the regular season with a 44-17-3 record, a 2.62 goals against average and a.920 save percentage. In Game 3, the Lightning's stars shined back in a 4-2 win that turned this into a series again.
"I just thought he was in the zone tonight right from the get go", Tampa Bay Coach Jon Cooper said. He's always there, he's always there for us and tonight we did a good job in front of him.
The Capitals are feeling confident right now, but after falling behind 0-2 on home ice in the first round and roaring back to beat Columbus, they understand how fast things can swing.
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In Game 2, Washington scored in the first minute of the game with Tom Wilson getting a deflection goal, but a pair of opportune goals by the Lightning on the power play gave them a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes. This time, the Lightning prevented the momentum swings.