The Caps 'took a pound of flesh' and left their mark in Tampa

Chris Lingebach
April 03, 2019 - 9:02 pm
The Caps 'took a pound of flesh' and left their mark in Tampa

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals went into Tampa on Saturday and "took a pound of flesh," stripping the Lightning of advantage they sorely hoped to develop before the playoffs.

"I had a great feeling about that game because they won everything in that game and they pummeled them," Alan May told The Sports Junkies on The Morning Skate, presented by D.C. Lottery.

The Lightning have been trying to build up 21-year-old defenseman Erik Cernak as their answer to Tom Wilson. Tampa fans had taken up the cause, too, many believing Wilson was 'scared' to fight Cernak.

That'll be a tough sell, now.

Related: Every team 'wishes they had a Tom Wilson'

After the Caps and Lightning met for the first time back in March, May advised against fans reading too much into the Caps' 6-3 loss, noting it looked like Washington "went in there wanting to see what Tampa was all about and if Tampa's doing some things different than they did last year." The Caps would drop their rematch 5-4 in overtime at Capital One four days later.

On their return trip Saturday, the Caps "went into Tampa minus Kempny, minus Connolly" and came away with a dominant 6-3 win, setting a physical tone in their final regular-season meeting that won't be forgotten should they meet again in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"They were so much more physical, they took to the task, they beat them soundly," May said of the Caps' win. "(The Lightning) can make all the excuses they want, that they already have the Presidents' Trophy wrapped up, they're first-place overall, but you know what? The Caps went in there and they took a pound of flesh. They had everyone hitting, they had guys fighting, and those things spoke volumes.

"And Tampa's trying to make the guy that Tom Wilson took down, though, they're trying to make it sound like, 'Oh, we're not scared.' Well, that kid's gonna be scared. That's what happens when you lose fights and get your teeth knocked in, and Wilson basically shamed him into a fight. He made sure he got him away from the pile where the refs couldn't do something about it, and shamed him into that fight and then pounded him."

To May's point, check out this headline from the Tampa Bay Times on Sunday: Watch: Erik Cernak-Tom Wilson fight shows Lightning tough enough

Cernak, to May's other point, literally got his tooth knocked in.

"As long as that's in hockey," May said, "that's one of the tactics that you use to physically intimidate another team.

"I thought everything they did, the way the big gunners played – it was Ovechkin, Backstrom and Oshie, first and foremost, that did their part offensively – but everyone was in on that win," added May. "I had a great feeling about that. You can't overlook the first two rounds, but if they go against Tampa again, it's a little bit different than what it was two weeks ago when they played Tampa."

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