Capitals strike early and often in Game 1 win over Lightning

13 May, 2018, 02:01 | Author: Greg Lawrence
  • Capitals prepared to seek 2-0 lead without Backstrom

The Tampa Bay Lightning made two crucial, if not dumb, mistakes Friday in the Capitals' 4-2 win in Game 1: they left Alex Ovechkin open twice on the power play.

Capitals: D John Carlson drew an assists on the first goal, tying the franchise mark for playoff points by a defenseman with 12.

The Caps took a 1-0 lead 7:28 into the series when Michal Kempny fired a puck from the left faceoff circle through heavy traffic in front of the net and over Vasilevskiy's left shoulder.

Well, it was either not as bad as they thought, or it was one of their worst, but what the Lightning can agree on is they have to be a heck of a lot better in this Eastern Conference final, which continues with Game 2 on Sunday night at Amalie Arena.

Head coach Barry Trotz is "optimistic" Backstrom (upper body) will be able to return at some point during the Eastern Conference finals, Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post reports.

The Capitals built a 4-0 lead thanks to two goals in each of the first two periods. The Lightning went from being tied at the end of one to trailing 2-0.

It was Ovechkin's ninth goal of the postseason and fourth on the power play. "I mean, we had it last series, kind of similar start where we didn't come out very well, and knowing the importance of winning that next game on home ice". Tampa Bay finished with 21, a playoff low and only two above the low for the entire regular-season.

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Washington did a great job dictating pace through the first 40 minutes.

Steven Stamkos, on the powerplay, and Ondrej Palat scored goals in the third period for the Lightning, who had an easier time getting to this stage of the playoffs by eliminating Boston and New Jersey in just five games each. Let Game 1 begin. Washington has to be pleased with how Game 1 went.

Certainly the Lightning boast a depth across four lines of forwards that the Capitals don't have, especially in the absence of Nicklas Backstrom, who's missed the last two games with a hand injury.

The Caps, with the game's result seemingly assured, put forth a sloppy effort in the third period, but hung on for the victory.

It was the Capitals' first appearance in the conference final since 1998, but they - not the Lightning - looked like the team playing in their third conference final in the past four years. At even-strength, Eller was on the ice for 18 shot attempts for and 13 against, giving him a 58.06 percent CorsiFor percentage. Everything is going the Capitals' way so far. Just look at their second goal.

The Capitals are making sure they take advantage of their opportunities, too.

The Golden Knights have surprised everyone this year, and they should not be underestimated.

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