Brian Engblom on Capitals’ quickness, toughness against Lightning

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FOX Sports Sun analyst Brian Engblom says the Tampa Bay Lightning were bested by the Washington Capitals' combination of size, strength and quickness after the Bolts dropped Game 7 on Wednesday night.

BRIAN ENGBLOM: We know that Washington is a big team. They're a pretty heavy team, and they played with some physical prowess, that's for sure. But they were fast. They were faster and quicker than I thought they were going to be, and I think faster and quicker than the Lightning thought. I have a feeling that maybe the Lightning were thinking we're going to be able to out quick them. We're going to play our game and we'll be able to win it that way. Well, Washington Capitals were big, they were heavy, and they were very quick on the puck, and on checking. They kept their feet moving all the time.

And the other thing too, I think their defense as a core did a heck of a job. Washington's core, underrated. You look at them on paper and you go OK, they got Carlson, Niskanen has got experience. You know, not bad, but they played and they executed really well. So the lightning couldn't get in, get their sustained forecheck, and because they were getting help from their forwards backchecking, there wasn't any room out there, especially the big guys. Stamkos and Kucherov virtually this whole series, they had no room to work with at all. The one-on-one coverage at times in the offensive zone was really big for Washington.

BOBBY TAYLOR: Engy, one of the things that I was really impressed with Washington's defense core is that, Lightning had a lot of first shots, but they were nowhere near or couldn't even get to the rebounds because of that great defensive block out. They really blocked out really well and they recovered well. As we pointed out, Holtby had a lot of rebounds. He gave out a lot of rebounds, but the defense did a great job of moving him out of the way or moving him to the side, not allowing that second or third shot by the Cap-- by the Lightning.

BRIAN ENGBLOM: Yeah, I completely agree with you, Chief. Especially in game six and seven, that was really evident. I watched Washington over that time period, and it reminded me of watching Vegas. Everybody was on the move, but they're on the move to their next check. And when they got there, they got there before the puck got to the Lightning player, so everybody was covered all the time. So yeah, when shots finally did get through, and boy it was an issue getting shots through to Holtby, wasn't it?


BRIAN ENGBLOM: And they weren't, you know, always as high quality as the Lightning wanted them to be, because there was shot blocking in the lanes. You look at the defense of the Lightning. Look at how close the forwards of Washington were so tight to them up at the blue line. They were constantly trying to move a couple of feet to get a better look at the net. Couldn't do it. So the coverage was tight everywhere. The defense, the forwards, they were looking away from the puck, and they made sure every Lightning player was covered, so when those rebounds did come out, they didn't get those second and third chances.