The Washington Capitals will look to finish off the Tampa Bay Lightning and advance their first Stanley Cup Final since 1998 on Wednesday, but Tampa Bay has the home ice edge in Game Seven of their NHL Eastern Conference Final series, and they also have a hot goaltender in Andrei Vasilevskiy who has allowed just nine goals in the last four games of the series against the Caps, as the teams meet in the win-or-go-home game set to live stream from Tampa.
The Lightning have played in two Stanley Cup Finals since their first season in 1993-1993, winning the Cup in 2004 then losing in 2015.
After Washington dominated the first two games of the series, winning 4-2 and then 6-2 in the Lightning's own building, appearing to take full command in the best-of-seven, Vasilevskiy clamped down and his teammates found a scoring touch, taking three straight games before the Capitals rallied behind goalie Braden Holtby's first shutout of the season — regular season or playoffs — to win 3-0 and force the one-game showdown in Tampa.
Holtby saved 24 shots in the Game Six victory and though Vasilevskiy stopped 28 of 30, the Lightning offense failed to find a spark. But under the pressure of Game Seven, the team whose goaltender turns in the better showing looks likely to skate off with the win.
To find out how to watch a live stream of the Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game Seven, see the streaming information at the bottom of this article. The puck drops at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time at 19,000-seat Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, on Wednesday, May 23. That start time will be 5 p.m. in the Pacific Time Zone.
For the Capitals' 13-year veteran and longtime captain Alex Ovechkin, who has spent his entire career in Washington, this Game Seven has an additional, special meaning. In his career, the Capitals have never even been to the conference finals before this season, and of course, never in the Stanley Cup Finals.
"This is probably biggest game in my life, this team, organization probably," the 32-year-old Moscow, Russia, native said on Tuesday. "I've never been in this position before. I'm excited. We're all excited.... We all want to be in this position and move forward."
In the Capitals' lone Stanley Cup Finals appearance, in 1998, they were handily swept by the Detroit Red Wings.
Washington finished first in the Metropolitan Division, but their 105 points were eight fewer than the Atlantic-winning Lightning. The Lightning won two of the three meetings with the Capitals in the regular season.
But in four games neither the Capitals nor the Lightning won a single game against the Vegas Golden Knights, who are looking to defy odds of more than 1,700 to one to win the Stanley Cup in their first season as an expansion team.
Watch a preview of the Capitals vs. Lightning Game Seven in the video below.To watch a live stream of the Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference Final Game Seven, go to NBC Sports Live Extra at this link, or download the NBC Sports Live Extra app for mobile devices, and on set-top devices such as the Roku and Apple TV. The NBC Sports streaming service requires cable or satellite service subscriber login credentials.
However, there is a way for hockey fans to watch the decisive Washington vs. Tampa Bay playoff showdown stream live for free without a cable subscription. Fans should sign up for a free trial of an "over the top" streaming TV package, such as Sling TV at this link, or YouTube TV at this link. Both services require credit card information and subscription fees — but each offers a seven-day free trial, and if the subscription is cancelled prior to the expiration of that weeklong period, fans can watch the Capitals vs. Lightning Game Seven live stream for free.