The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

Capitals force Game 7


WASHINGTON — T.J. Oshie and Devante SmithPelly scored, Braden Holtby stopped all 24 shots he faced and the Washington Capitals beat up the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0 Monday night to even the Eastern Conference final and force a deciding Game 7.

Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik led the charge, throwing their bodies around all night in Game 6. Tampa Bay got 31 saves from goaltender Andrei Vasilevski­y in another impressive showing but had no answer for Washington’s hit-everything-that-moves approach facing eliminatio­n at home.

Game 7 is Wednesday night at Tampa Bay. The winner faces the Vegas Golden Knights, who are in the Stanley Cup Final in their first season.

The Capitals outhit the Lightning 39-19 and outshot them 34-24, bruising and battering them all over the ice. Orpik separated Cedric Paquette from the puck twice on one shift, Ovechkin leveled rookie Yanni Gourde and Wilson was his usual self, dishing out a handful of crushing body checks.

With a physical tone set, the Capitals kept testing Vasilevski­y and eventually cracked him. There wasn’t much he could do on Oshie’s second-period power-play goal from the slot after a deft pass from Nicklas Backstrom gave Vasilevski­y little time to adjust for the one-timer.

Drawing a penalty made all the difference for Washington, which hadn’t had a power play since the second period of Game 4. Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn hooked Smith-Pelly to give the Capitals that opportunit­y, and their penalty kill kept Tampa Bay’s potent power play off the board for just the second time in the series.

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