Capitals, Lightning Clash Thrice in Two Weeks; Don't Like Each Other Now

Published on 31-Mar-2019 by J Square Humboldt

NHL    NHL Daily Update

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Capitals, Lightning Clash Thrice in Two Weeks; Don't Like Each Other Now

Creating a season schedule in pro sports leagues are as much an art as they are an algorithm.

MLB and the NFL have fewer headaches because their stadiums rarely have conflicts with other events such as concerts, trade shows, and the like.

The NHL and NBA aren't so fortunate. Their arenas are always being maximized, and last minute conflicts do happen. It often complicates things.


This season in the NHL, for whatever reason, sadism became part of the equation.

How else can the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals and already anointed Prez Trophy winner Tampa Bay Lightning be tossed together three times in two weeks less than one month from the playoffs?


This was kinda like a best-of-three playoff atmosphere where the 'Ning could basically serve notice but the Caps still had a division to clinch:

  • Sat 16 Mar ... Tampa Bay won, 6-3, at home;
  • Wed 20 Mar ... Tampa Bay won, 5-4, in OT in DC; and by now,
  • Sat 30 Mar ... Washington was getting a tad testy.

For the Caps, that usually means Tom Wilson takes center stage somewhere in the proceedings. All he needed was a willing opponent, whereupon Erik Černák picked up the gauntlet and prompty got dropped:


The Lightning can rationalize that Černák was the moral victor all they want. That was Wilson at his fistiest best.

Fortunately, the Slovak version of Dolph Lundgren escaped with only a bitta dental work required:


It's not often that an Alexander Ovechkin landmark takes a back seat to anything, but this one did:

The Crushin' Russian's 50th goal of the season helped the Caps to a 6-3 decision they were so ready to ring up:


This marked the eighth time in his career that Ovie's reached the 50-goal level.

It's far from a sure thing these two clubs will clash in the Eastern Conference finals like they did when they gave everyone their money's worth last spring, and fights are much rarer in the playoffs.

If one arises, though, odds are we've just seen a preview of it.