Capitals show no emotional letdown, take care of Lightning in Game 1

12 May, 2018, 20:51 | Author: Ellis Copeland
  • Mike Harrington: All eyes on Ovechkin in Caps' first trip to East final since '98 win over Sabres

But the energy was missing, and so was the intensity. With AP Photos.Alex Ovechkin had a power-play goal and an assist in his Eastern Conference finals debut, leading the Washington Capitals to a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Braden Holtby stopped 19 shots and Michal Kempny, Jay Beagle and Lars Eller also scored for the Caps, who are alive beyond the second round of the playoffs for the first time in Ovechkin's 13-year career. Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman can take over a game at either end of the ice, Anton Stralman continues to provide a steadying force on the blueline and a former weakness for the Lightning now appears to be one of their strengths.

Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed four goals and was pulled after two periods. That would allow for two full days of rest for the Western Conference victor and a media day for both teams.

"We used that to our advantage in the second", said Carlson, as the Capitals scored twice in the opening 6:42 of the second period to take a commanding 4-0 lead. "We're going to have to have an even better game". The Capitals scored on a pair of power-play chances and finished 2 for 4.

It happened again in the opener against the Capitals.

What stands to put the Lightning over the top and back into the Stanley Cup final for the second time in four years, however, is the defense corps. "That's the way we have to look at it", Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

The Capitals dominated in improving to 6-1 on the road this postseason, with Kempny giving them an early 1-0 lead. He provided a screen on the first goal, scored the second on an absolute rocket, and then picked up an assist on the fourth. It took all of two seconds from puck drop to celebration.

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The Lightning was whistled for too many men on the ice.

It looked like the Bolts tied the game with 7.1 seconds left.

Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals celebrates a goal.

It was a stunning turn of events.

Washington was two for four on the powerplay tonight and seemed to be firing on all cylinders for the first two periods.

"We were six men by a mile, so I don't think anyone was too fired up with the goal", said Lightning forward Steven Stamkos, "but any time you give up a goal at the end of the period it gives momentum to the other team". As if stopping Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov with any consistency isn't hard enough, the play of Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and J.T. Miller through the first two rounds of the post-season gives reason to believe the entire Lightning top-six will give even the best of defensive units fits.

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