The Lightning then tallied a somewhat controversial tying goal, as Nikita Kucherov grabbed Bruins rookie defenceman Charlie McAvoy, sending the Boston defenceman to the ice, but the puck turned over to Tampa Bay; with no call, one pass later, Steven Stamkos one-timed the tying goal past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.
Even if the Bruins somehow overcame a 3-1 series deficit for the first time in their franchise's 94-year history, there was no chance that they were going to even compete with the Capitals or Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals.
"It's tough. I'm still not fully over it", McAvoy said. I think you get into these situations and you want to win. "He's a great example for young kids and someone to look up to". Only two clubs have won three series in their first postseason appearance: The 1926 Montreal Maroons who won the Stanley Cup and the 1996 Florida Panthers, who lost the Cup final to Colorado in their third season.
But after each subsequent Lightning win, prices for their next home game (Sunday's game 5) climbed.
"That's the great part about competition", Maurice said. Since then, the team has made a point of finishing checks and limiting its opponent's time and space.
After just about every National Hockey League team gets eliminated from the postseason, the final media availability session for the players tends to reveal the high number of injuries that the team was dealing with during their playoff run. "It's nice to see". They beat the New Jersey Devils and the Boston Bruins each in five games. With the Capitals holding a 3-1 series lead, McDonagh scored the game-winning goal 10 minutes into overtime, rejuvenating the series and keeping the Rangers' slim hopes alive.
"We added two really good hockey players", Lightning Coach Jon Cooper said. "We're going to need rely on our depth as well and stay disciplined". This brings us to the second meeting between these two teams this season. "Washington is very similar in that regard". It will also be an Atlantic Division minefield in the playoffs moving forward with Tampa, Toronto, and Boston all boasting young, talented playoff-level squads that should be battling each other for the next 10 years.
The Capitals have also struggled on the PK as they have given up nine goals Which leads the league in postseason play.
"That has to be in our mind and we have to play as a group, not play individually".
That equation doesn't work if you're exhausted and prone to mistakes, but the Lightning have been pretty good at quelling their own giveaways so far, while also putting up the best possession numbers of any team in the post-season.
Capitals center Jay Beagle said he wished the feeling could last just a little longer. "The guys that are going well, you use, and the other guys wait for another opportunity".
"It's unfortunate that he goes that low to do that, but doesn't take us off our game", Callahan said. The Capitals aren't as deep or talented as in years past, but they're in the East final for the first time since 1998, when McPhee was in his first season as their GM.
The Bruins were not the only team to deal with injuries in the playoffs, though, and writing this off as the sole reason why they came up short in the second round would be some prime excuse-making that belittles a Tampa Bay wagon they ran into.
The Lightning, meanwhile, have their own demons after losing in the final in 2015 and failing to get out of the third round two years ago.
"Obviously we haven't played these guys in meaningful games like this for a while", Stamkos said. "We talked right after the game for a couple of minutes about a team win and we talked a few minutes about how we're only halfway".