We asked the Times' Lightning coverage team what's the statistic to watch in tonight's Game 7 of the Lightning-Capitals series (8 p.m., NBC Sports Network). Here's their answers. Share yours in the comments section below:
Martin Fennelly, columnist: Hits. The Caps pounded the Lightning in Game 6. I think they outhit Tampa Bay 39-19. More than shots, the Lightning physical response tonight will speak to their level of engagement. If it's not high, then forget it.
Roger Mooney, staff writer: Shots on goal. Those one-timers from the circle by Steven Stamkos or the blueline from Victor Hedman look great when the hit they net. Problem is, they're getting blocked or missing the net completely. The Lightning has to make Braden Holtby work tonight. The Lightning had less than 10 shots on goal during the final two periods in Game 5 and 24 total in Game 6. Hedman said the Lightning need at least 10 per period. More, if possible. It is simple hockey match: the more shots on net the more chances for a goal.
Greg Auman, staff writer: Lightning penalty kill. Perhaps the team's most glaring weakness. In the three straight wins against the Capitals, Tampa Bay went 7-for-7 in killing off Washington power plays; in the Caps' three wins, they've scored four power play goals in eight chances. Eliminate that threat, that's a big step toward a Lightning win.
Frank Pastor, web editor: Goals: The team that scores the most wins. Seriously. Forget about history, momentum, emotion and all the rest. The team that comes out and plays the better game will win. Nothing else matters. Nothing.