TAMPA, Fla. | Just like that, it’s over. A Capitals season that began with Stanley Cup expectations that were present as recently as the past week ended with a 5-3 loss to the Lightning on Wednesday night at St. Pete Times Forum and a series sweep.
“I don’t really know what to say. We got swept,” veteran forward Matt Bradley said. “I thought we played well, but I think throughout the whole series they were the hungrier team, and they did little things to win the games and they won all of them.”
Each and every game the Caps could have won. But little mistakes and a lack of production from stars added up to yet another second-round exit, this time in stinging fashion.
Most players were left almost speechless.
“I didn’t see it going down the way it did,” veteran right wing Mike Knuble said.
Coach Bruce Boudreau, whose job could be in jeopardy, admitted the Lightning were the better team in all four games.
His players couldn’t argue with that, either. Defenseman Karl Alzner said he and his teammates would love to replay Game 4 Wednesday night and see what happens. Bounces went Tampa Bay’s way, and mistakes like bad penalties and missed opportunities cost the Caps dearly.
“They just outplayed us,” Alzner said. “They were the better team tonight, the last game and the other two games before that.”