To say that the 2010-11 season for the Washington Capitals was tumultuous is an understatement. The Caps went through the best of times and the worst of times, but when it counted, the Tampa Bay Lightning ended their season in a flash.
Paced by Sean Bergenheim's two goals in the second period, the Lightning defeated the Capitals 5-3 in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series and swept them out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Caps found themselves down early when Ryan Malone knocked the puck past Michal Neuvirth with his skate, but Marco Sturm tied the game at 1-1 with a power play goal late in the first period. In the second, Bergenheim struck twice in a span of about eight minutes to give the Lightning the lead for good. John Erskine scored just over a minute after Bergenheim's second tally to cut the lead to 3-2, but that was as close as the Caps got.
Marc-Andre Bergeron's snipe from the point on the power play gave Tampa Bay a 4-2 lead. Martin St. Louis iced the game late in the third period when he used John Carlson as a screen and ripped a wrist shot past Neuvirth. Carlson atoned for his sin by cutting the lead to 5-3 a minute later with Neuvirth pulled. The Caps had a 6-on-4 opportunity with Steven Stamkos in the penalty box for tripping, but did not convert, ending their season in disappointing fashion.
The sweep at the hands of the Lightning was the first against the Caps since the 1997-98 Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings. For the second straight season, the top-seeded Caps have nothing to show for their regular season success and have a long summer ahead of them.