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.
Apr 21, 2014, 2:19 AM EDT
This has happened a few times in these playoffs.
Apr 21, 2014, 1:56 AM EDT
Apr 21, 2014, 1:28 AM EDT
This one could’ve gotten uglier than it did.
Apr 21, 2014, 12:47 AM EDT
Took this game over in the second period.
Apr 21, 2014, 12:20 AM EDT
Patrick Roy: “We’re going to be very smart about when he’s going to come back.”
Apr 20, 2014, 11:44 PM EDT
Apr 20, 2014, 11:28 PM EDT
Was shaken up after taking a knee to the head.
Apr 20, 2014, 10:52 PM EDT
Just another game between these two California rivals.
Apr 20, 2014, 10:34 PM EDT
Jon Cooper straddles the line between snarky and careful.
Apr 20, 2014, 10:09 PM EDT
Tough breaks for Tampa Bay.
Apr 20, 2014, 9:28 PM EDT
Remarkable … and risky?
Apr 20, 2014, 9:05 PM EDT
Kings hope to avoid two straight years of 0-2 first-round deficits.
Apr 20, 2014, 8:59 PM EDT
Tampa Bay’s captain managed to return later in the game.
Apr 20, 2014, 8:27 PM EDT
Classy gesture after 16 seasons with the Predators.
Apr 20, 2014, 7:32 PM EDT
Not exactly an ideal start for Anders Lindback.
Apr 20, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT
He stopped 31 out of 33 in Sunday’s win vs. the Rangers.
Apr 20, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
Can the Bolts get back in this series?
Apr 20, 2014, 5:54 PM EDT
Milan Lucic scored a goal a game after that spearing incident.
Apr 20, 2014, 4:58 PM EDT
They are playing on opposite sides in the Detroit-Boston series.
Apr 20, 2014, 4:03 PM EDT
They’re down 2-0 to Montreal going into Game 3 tonight.
- Kings’ Dustin Brown: ‘We got our [expletives] kicked’ 0
- Feeding frenzy: Sharks devour Kings to take 2-0 series lead 16
- Canadiens push Lightning to brink of elimination with 3-2 win 22
- WATCH LIVE: Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks (Game 2) 0
- Bruins handle Red Wings 4-1, tie series 1-1 37
- Flyers overcome two-goal deficit to finally win at MSG 59
- NHL suspends Seabrook three games for charging into Backes 90
- MacKinnon, Avs shine against Wild, take 2-0 series lead 25
- Video: Roenick says MacKinnon is more dominant at 18 than Crosby was 28
- Blue Jackets gain first-ever playoff win, tie series with Penguins 1-1 49
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (148)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (116)
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh (113)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (100)
- That’s a raise: Flyers sign MacDonald to six-year, $30 million extension (91)