So after playing such a solid defensive game for six games, the Washington Capitals just lost their way. At the worst possible time. Washington was routed by the Rangers 5-0 in Game 7 and will hit the links early next week.
The Capitals dug themselves a deep hole in the first two frames, and scoring four goals to beat Henrik Lundqvist was going to be one hell of a task.
They made it even harder on themselves. Ryan Callahan scored just 13 seconds into the third period, and the Capitals fans began heading for the exits.
And then Mats Zuccarello went all video game on Braden Holtby.
The few Caps fans who remained began chanting Robert Griffin III's name. Ouch.
The rest of the period was a mere formality. The Rangers will advance to play the Boston Bruins in the second round.
Will Game 7 continue the defensive nature of the series?
Not exactly. The game was much more wide open, as the Capitals laid 35 shots on Henrik Lundqvist but weren't able to get anything by him. Meanwhile, the Capitals were all over the place in their own zone. They were unorganized and left men unmarked around the goal constantly. There's a reason they gave up five goals, and it's not just Braden Holtby's off night.
Will the physicality at the end of Game 6 carry over?
Yes, but it backfired for Washington. They made a point to try and bruise the Rangers, but New York was unaffected. The two teams combined for 80 hits, and you've gotta wonder how weary the Rangers will be heading into their series with the Bruins.
How much impact will special teams have on the game?
Not much at all. As is typical for a Game 7, the refs let the two teams play for the most part. And even when penalties were called, both teams killed them off effectively. Even-strength play decided this game.