Capitals look to create new Game 7 memories in Eastern Conference Final

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Entering the Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018, very few people thought the Washington Capitals would make it to the Eastern Conference Final.

Game 7 is tonight right here in the sunshine state.

Whichever team does fall short on Wednesday will be starting their vacation one stop short of playing for the ultimate prize.

The second game on February 4, Vegas would defeat Washington 4-3 in DC. The Capitals are 7-2 on the road this post-season.

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have been here before.The Capitals lost "Mr". The Game 7 triumph came almost a year to the date after the Easter Epic - a quadruple OT defeat to the New York Islanders in Game 7 of the 1987 Patrick Division Semifinals. The Capitals had been 4-11 in their history in Game 7s, including 3-7 in the Ovechkin era. Home teams are 21-12 in those games.

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"What a game. What an experience".

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper, to reporters after his team fell to the Capitals.

"You can't expect to win at this time of year when you can't score", said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who had four goals and two assists in the series, but no even-strength points.

Washington took Game 6 at home, posting a 3-0 victory in which they dominated every facet of the game.

The Capitals, who have never won a Stanley Cup, got off to a great start in Game 7, when Ovechkin buried a Evgeny Kuznetsov feed just 1 minute, 2 seconds into the game.

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He's been a huge part of the Caps' previous two clinching games. Game 1 in Las Vegas against the Golden Knights is Monday night. Joel Ward's overtime goal lifted Washington to a Game 7 win over the Bruins in 2012 before the Rangers ended the Capitals' season in a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden in the following round.

For the third time in the past four years, the Lightning will play Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, and the script has pretty much played out the same way.

This postseason has bucked the trend of playoffs past, as these Capitals have continued to come through when it matters most.

Two games after being a healthy scratch for Game 5, Burakovsky became the 17th player to score a goal for Washington in the playoffs this year - four shy of the National Hockey League record - when he beat Andrei Vasilevskiy on a breakaway at 8:59 of the second period.

One concern for the Capitals was the condition of defenseman Brooks Orpik, who was helped off the ice in the second period after a hard hit into the end boards from Tampa Bay center Cedric Paquette. The disparity in the teams' Game 7 records is primarily a result of defense and goaltending; the Lightning has allowed 0.714 goals per Game 7, while the Capitals have allowed 2.73 goals per Game 7. The Lightning outshot the Capitals (29-23) for the first time in the series.

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