Apr 29, 2011, 10:41 PM EDT
With stars like Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos on each side, the marquee matchups dominated much of the talk going into tonight’s Game 1. While Stamkos ended up notching the game-winner, it turned out that Tampa Bay’s lesser known players came up big, too.
The Lightning carried their first round momentum into this contest, winning their fourth playoff game in a row and boosting their away record to 4-0 in the postseason. The Capitals weren’t outright atrocious, but a dull output might be equally troubling.
Tampa Bay 4, Washington 2; Lightning lead series 1-0
Sean Bergenheim continues to provide some much-appreciated depth scoring for the Lightning. He scored a goal about two minutes into the game, which brings his goal-scoring streak to three games and his overall points streak to five (four goals and one assist).
The Capitals were one of the best teams in the NHL at bouncing back from early deficits, so it wasn’t that surprising when Alexander Semin tied it up less than two minutes later. Things got that much worse for the Lightning when speedy sniper Simon Gagne needed help getting off the ice after a hard, but legal hit by Scott Hannan. It seems like Gagne is “OK” but he didn’t return during Game 1 and his status will be re-evaluated on Saturday.
Brooks Laich appeared to give the Capitals 2-1 a lead, but as you can see from the video, he clearly kicked the puck in. The game ended up tied 1-1 heading into the first intermission.
The Capitals didn’t take long to make that 2-1 lead a reality as Eric Fehr finished off a nice face-off play by burying a one-timer after a nice setup by Jason Chimera. The Capitals managed to hold that lead for much of the second period, but a few mistakes caused them to lose their final lead of the game.
Tampa Bay takes advantage of Washington’s mistakes
Steve Downie continues his metamorphosis from a player who only delivered little but dirty hits to a poor man’s Corey Perry in Tampa Bay. He’s still an agitating force, but you must respect his offensive ability. Downie tied the game up at 2-2 and his one-goal, one-assist Game 1 makes him the team’s leading postseason scorer with nine points.
Chimera took an ill-timed penalty late in the second period, opening the door for Stamkos to jam home a rebound with about 30 seconds left in the middle frame. That ended up being the game-winner for Tampa Bay.
The Lightning defense holds strong
Guy Boucher’s 1-3-1 scheme and his team’s overall defense improved as the game went on. The Lightning allowed 14 shots on goal in the first period, nine in the second and only five while protecting that one-goal lead in the third. Perhaps all the discussion of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ putrid first round PP obscured just how efficient the Bolts’ PK was, as they kept the Capitals’ man advantage off the board in all five opportunities.
Dominic Moore capped a great high-effort game by scoring an empty-net goal while out-hustling Alex Ovechkin, who made Moore earn that tally by dropping him shortly thereafter.
Boucher pointed out all the pressure on the Capitals going into Game 1. The Bolts can feel even looser in Game 2 after taking at least one contest on the road. Tampa Bay wasn’t perfect – Brett Clark was particularly bad, turning the puck over on Semin’s goal – but they should be pleased with themselves right now.
The Capitals seemed flat in this game, perhaps due to the dangerous combination of too much time off and too much praise for a gritty first round performance. The Rangers series tested their willingness to fight, but the Lightning will make Washington prove that they can really play lock-down defense.
Every round of the playoffs force teams to prove themselves once more, so we’ll learn a lot about the East’s top seed by how they respond in Game 2.
May 30, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT
He had surgery prior to his trade from Winnipeg in February.
May 30, 2015, 9:45 AM EDT
He is currently an assistant coach in Nashville.
May 30, 2015, 1:08 AM EDT
Hard to blame the goalie in this one.
May 30, 2015, 12:17 AM EDT
“I don’t know if we’re so young and dumb and don’t know any better…”
May 29, 2015, 11:31 PM EDT
Might explain what occurred in the first period.
May 29, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT
Tampa Bay awaits the winner of the Blackhawks-Ducks series.
May 29, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT
Is it enough?
May 29, 2015, 9:53 PM EDT
Game 7 goes Saturday.
May 29, 2015, 8:54 PM EDT
Something to keep an eye on.
May 29, 2015, 8:21 PM EDT
Rangers also make one change to the lineup.
May 29, 2015, 7:20 PM EDT
The winner, as you know, goes to the Stanley Cup Final.
May 29, 2015, 6:39 PM EDT
“I’ve met with Nick several times and he knows he made a terrible mistake.”
May 29, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT
And it looks like Tomas Fleischmann might replace Emerson Etem, again.
May 29, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT
People like ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.
May 29, 2015, 3:49 PM EDT
Appeared in just 33 games this season.
May 29, 2015, 3:16 PM EDT
“I don’t feel any tingling or soreness.”
May 29, 2015, 2:18 PM EDT
NHL Central Scouting thinks slightly more of the B.C. defender.
May 29, 2015, 1:47 PM EDT
Spent the past five seasons in the KHL.
May 29, 2015, 1:34 PM EDT
That’s former NHL defenseman and current AHL Binghamton bench boss Luke Richardson.
May 29, 2015, 12:51 PM EDT
This according to his club team, Avangard Omsk.
- Sabres’ Kane (shoulder) ‘ahead of schedule’ with recovery 0
- Lightning ‘answer the challenge’ in Game 7 to reach Stanley Cup Final 25
- Vigneault: McDonagh was playing with a broken foot 16
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers 69
- The Ducks got Kesler for a game like Saturday’s 32
- Duchene slams Russian players for storming off after Canada’s 2015 WHC win 56
- DeBoer predicts ‘big bounce-back’ in San Jose 14
- Sabres name Bylsma head coach 46
- Lundqvist on Game 7: ‘You’re definitely nervous, but it comes down to teamwork’ 18
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue 56
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ (77)
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers (69)
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks (66)
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue (56)
- Duchene slams Russian players for storming off after Canada’s 2015 WHC win (56)