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Eastern Conference Final Game 7: Capitals vs. Lightning

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Alex Ovechkin scored early and Andre Burakovsky added two second-period goals to help the Washington Capitals put a decade of playoff frustration behind them with a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final Wednesday night.

Braden Holtby stopped 29 shots for his second straight shutout and the Lightning, who led the NHL in goals during the regular season, failed to score in the last 159 minutes, 27 seconds — a stretch of nearly eight periods.

Ovechkin, who had never played a team that advanced beyond the second round, scored 1:02 into the winner-take-all showdown he had described as probably the "biggest game in my life."

Nicklas Backstrom had an empty-netter to complete the rout.

Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson, left, and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev become entangled while going for the puck during the first period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday in Tampa.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman tries but can't score as he moves past Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby during the second period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Tampa.

Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby blocks a shot by the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday in Tampa.

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Washington Capitals left wing Andre Burakovsky, center, celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with teammates Dmitry Orlov, left, and Lars Eller during the second period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday in Tampa.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov, front, moves the puck away from Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi during the first period of Game 7 of the NHL hockey Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Tampa, Fla.

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin celebrates a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period of Game 7 of the NHL hockey playoffs Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Tampa, Fla.

A shot by Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin goes past Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy for a goal during the first period of Game 7 of the NHL hockey playoffs Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Tampa, Fla.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) attempts a shot as he is defended by Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the first period of Game 7 of the NHL hockey playoffs Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Tampa, Fla.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn, right, and Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson fight during the first period of Game 7 of the NHL hockey playoffs Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Tampa, Fla.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov, right, passes the puck as he is defended by Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh, left, during the first period of Game 7 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals hockey playoff series Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Tampa, Fla.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn, left, and Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) fight during the first period of Game 7 of the NHL hockey playoffs Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Tampa, Fla.

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with teammate defenseman Dmitry Orlov (9) during the first period of Game 7 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals hockey playoff series Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Tampa, Fla.

Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period of Game 7 of the NHL hockey playoffs Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Tampa, Fla.

Washington Capitals' Evgeny Kuznetsov, left, and Tom Wilson (43) fight against Tampa Bay Lightning's Braydon Coburn, second from right, and Victor Hedman, right, during the first period of Game 7 of the NHL hockey playoffs Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Tampa, Fla.