Tampa Bay Lightning will face Washington Capitals in Eastern Conference Final

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 09: Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) is defended by Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov (9) during the NHL game between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning on October 09, 2017 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. The Lightning defeated Washington 4-3. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 09: Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) is defended by Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov (9) during the NHL game between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning on October 09, 2017 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. The Lightning defeated Washington 4-3. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Tampa Bay Lightning finally knows who their opponent will be in the Eastern Conference Final.

Tampa Bay Lightning fans are still living in a state of bliss today. The Lightning is a little over 24 hours removed from delivering a soul-crushing 3-1 licking to the Boston Bruins and advancing to the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in four years.

The only question remaining is which team the Lightning would face in the next phase of their journey. Thankfully, the Lightning didn’t have to wait very long to find out. After delivering a 2-1 overtime defeat to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, the Lightning will face the Washington Capitals.

Things worked out pretty well for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the regular season against the Washington Capitals. The Bolts emerged victoriously in all but one of the three meetings between these two teams The first of these two meetings was back on October 9, 2017, at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.

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It would take an extra frame for the victor to be decided, but when all was said and done, it would be the Tampa Bay Lightning who would walk away with the two points. This brings us to the second meeting between these two teams this season.

This time, the Capitals would be looking for a little redemption; especially in front of their hometown fans. Now-former Lightning forward Vladislav Namestnikov would strike first, but after a game-tying goal from captain Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals would go on to score two more unanswered goals and defeat the Bolts 3-1.

The Lightning wouldn’t stay down for long, though. Lightning forward Brayden Point would deliver a two-goal night, including the game-winning goal, to defeat the Capitals 4-2 in their final meeting of the regular season on February 20 at the Capital One Arena in DC.

There’s no denying the Lightning has a certain edge coming into their series against the Capitals, but the successes of the regular season go out the window once the postseason kicks into gear. This is a whole new level of hockey, one of which some of the younger Bolts players are experiencing for the first time.

The good news here is, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman has done a spectacular job of putting together and cultivating a tremendous developmental system and these young players who are getting their first taste of Stanley Cup hockey are more than prepared for the challenge.

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The Lightning has been excellent throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but their journey is far from over. The Bolts are just eight wins away from reclaiming their place at the top of the National Hockey League and raising Lord Stanley’s Cup high above their heads. Before they can do this, they’ll have to get through the Capitals.