TAMPA — After Alex Ovechkin's goal 62 seconds into Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final Wednesday, the next highlight was an extended fight between Lightning D Braydon Coburn and Capitals RW Tom Wilson, with a two-minute break for them to spend time in the penalty box.
The two drew unsportsmanlike conduct penalties after a skirmish around the Lightning net as G Andrei Vasilevskiy made a sprawling save with about seven minutes left in the first. After the 4-on-4 hockey ended, both came out of the penalty box and immediately dropped the gloves to fight again, a lengthy brawl that ended their period early. Both got five-minute majors for fighting with 4:51 left.
The initial fight was intense enough that Wilson had to be restrained by an official, who spun him around the ice. Coburn had pulled the jersey off Washington F Evgeny Kuznetsov and tossed it on the ice.
In the fight after they got out of the penalty box, Coburn got Wilson's helmet off first. TV closeups showed Wilson's bloody knuckles from getting punches in with Coburn's helmet still on.
The Lightning was shut out only once in the regular season — March 17 against Boston — and it wasn't shut out once in the first 15 games of the playoffs. But Washington and G Braden Holtby did it in Games 6 and 7. With the Lightning's 4-0 loss in Game 7, it finished the season with 159 minutes, 27 seconds of scoreless hockey.
Washington got two goals in the second period from LW Andre Burakovsky, who entered without a point in the playoffs. Burakovsky had dressed for only seven of 18 games going in. He beat Vasilevskiy twice on breakaway opportunities.
Game 3 had just three power plays, continuing a trend of few penalties called in the latter half of the final.
The Lightning had just five power plays in Games 4-6, converting one, and the Capitals had the same, going 1-for-5 over the three games. Compare that to the first three games of the series. Tampa Bay went 5-for-12 on power plays, Washington 3-for-10.
What makes the elimination loss doubly frustrating for the Lightning was all the scoring chances it had in the first two periods. #TBLightning #GoBolts #ALLCAPS #TBLvsWSH @TB_Times @RogerMooney50 https://t.co/kz9aPC8Nnh— TampaBayTimesSports (@TBTimes_Sports) May 24, 2018
Bucs Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy fired up the crowd before the game, and new Bucs C Ryan Jensen, who came to Tampa from Baltimore this offseason, was in attendance and supporting his new local team. … USF president Judy Genshaft was recognized during the second period as the Lightning's "Community Hero" for the game. … The Lightning had 46 hits in a very physical game, including five each from F Chris Kunitz and D Victor Hedman. Washington had 27. Alex Ovechkin had a team-high five.
Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.