Photo: Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

Alex Ovechkin is a win away from his first Stanley Cup Final

Game 7 between the Capitals and Lightning is Wednesday in Tampa Bay

May 23, 2018 - 4:58 pm

Joe DiBiase reporting

After 13 seasons, 1,003 regular season games, over 600 goals, over 100 playoff games, and countless failures in the playoffs, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are one win away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Capitals and the Lightning play Game 7 on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Tampa Bay. 

The series has gone back and forth with Washington winning the first two games on the road, only to see Tampa come back to win the next three. A Braden Holtby shutout led the Capitals to a 3-0, Game 6 victory, and force a deciding Game 7 back at Amalie Arena. 

Despite all the success in the regular season, this is the first time Alex Ovechkin has seen the Conference Final round. A win on Wednesday would give him his first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. In these playoffs, Ovechkin has been a monster, scoring 11 goals and 10 assists in 18 games. He's dishing out huge hits, and has even been pretty good in his own end. Ovechkin is leading the Capitals the way many said he never would. 

Wednesday will be a career defining game for Ovechkin. If the Capitals fall to the Lightning, it only makes it more likely that Ovechkin will never lift the Stanley Cup. Closer to being the guy that couldn't win the big one. Frankly, that's a shame. It would be unfortunate to have, maybe, the greatest goal scorer of all time's career labeled in that way. 

The debate will always exist with Ovechkin. He's already 19th in NHL history with 607 goals at age 32. He's 287 goals behind Wayne Gretzky for the all-time NHL record. That's roughly 28 goals a season playing into his early 40s. Ovechkin may be the greatest goal scorer in history by the time he hangs up his skates, but there will always be a stigma with him if he doesn't win a Stanley Cup. He's as close as ever. 

You can listen to Game 7 between the Capitals and Lightning on WGR with coverage starting at 7:45 p.m.

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