NHL Playoffs: Tampa Bay Lightning Sweep Washington Capitals

JC De La TorreAnalyst IIIMay 4, 2011

Sean Bergenheim celebrates a goal against the Caps in Game 4. Bergie finished with two on the night.
Sean Bergenheim celebrates a goal against the Caps in Game 4. Bergie finished with two on the night.

Who in the name of Sam Fuld is Sean Bergenheim?

Indeed, like the unknown Tampa Bay Rays outfielder who so energized the fanbase that "The Legend of Sam Fuld" became a Twitter sensation, Sean Bergenheim has stunned the hockey world by leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to a shocking four game series sweep of the the top seeded Washington Capitals.

Bergenheim, who managed 14 goals in 80 regular season games, has been simply unbelievable in the playoffs, leading the Lightning with seven goals and one assist in 11 games. He scored twice in Game 4, allowing the Lightning to stake a commanding 3-1 advantage midway through the second period.

Tampa Bay never trailed in the game and when Martin St. Louis scored on an odd man rush with 3:08 left in the third period, a 5-2 lead pretty much iced the game. It would finish 5-3.

The sweep allows Tampa Bay to finally heal up and rest. An extremely physical first round seven game series with Pittsburgh and the first two games of this series left the Lightning a little undermanned.

Despite the injuries to Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina, Tampa Bay took advantage of the Capitals lapses in concentration. They outfought Washington for loose pucks and they buried their chances when they had their opportunities.

While Bergenheim certainly deserves credit, the Lightning would not have won the series without the tremendous effort from goaltender Dwayne Roloson. Rollie the goalie wasn't as sharp as he had been earlier in the series but he still made 33 saves on 36 shots and the Caps big three—Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin were held to just one point (an assist) and 10 shots.

It's no surprise that the Capitals were serenaded with na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, good bye as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

So with Washington put out of its playoff misery, the Lightning await the winner of the Boston vs. Philadelphia series for the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bruins are up three games to none, but we all know what happened last season when the Philly and Boston met in the playoffs.

Boston won the regular season series with Tampa Bay 3-1, but did not face Dwayne Roloson in any of the four games.

Tampa Bay was 3-0-1 against the Flyers.

Of course, Washington had dominated the regular season series with Tampa Bay but it didn't do them much good in the playoffs.

If the Lightning can continue to get stellar goaltending from their ancient netminder and scoring depth from all four lines—they will be difficult for any team to beat.