The Lightning was shocked in game one as they were down 4-0 after the second period and ended up losing game one by a score of 4-2.
Goaltender Braden Holtby made 19 stops for Washington, facing a meagre two shots in the first period from the lacklustre Lightning team. Trotz's optimism that the Swedish pivot will be ready to return at some point during the Eastern Conference finals doesn't bode well for his availability for Game 2, but his status for that contest should be confirmed prior to puck drop Sunday evening. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been above average during the postseason as they come in ranked 6th in goals allowed giving up 2.64 gpg, while also ranking 4th in shots allowed (30.5 spg) and 13th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 28.6% of their chances. Washington capitalized on two of their four power-plays.
It was a lackluster first period for the Lightning, which had not played since clinching their semifinal series with Boston on Sunday. "They want to see plays, they want to see goals and good saves".
Washington did a great job dictating pace through the first 40 minutes. Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Chambers gave hope "Lightning" comeback, but the visitors did not allow the escalation of the situation.
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The Washington right winger had a pair of assists in a 4-2 Game One win at Tampa Bay, and has six points (2 G, 4 A) in the past five games.
The Capitals finished 2-of-4 on the power play against the Lightning. The offense and power play are humming. The Capitals simply own the Lighting going back the last few years, and they've also won five of the last nine meetings against them when an underdog.
Without Backstrom, the Capitals turned to third-line center Lars Eller to fill in.
The key for Vegas in the West final is to take advantage of its home games and rely on Fleury's experience from his time in Pittsburgh.
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Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the favorites to win the Vezina Trophy this season, but the Capitals overwhelmed him in Game 1. C Cédric Paquette blocked a shot on the right knee late in the second period, but stayed in the game. If Eller can continue to win his battles, the Capitals might be able to pull off the upset even without Backstrom. With another 2nd round Stanley Cup Playoff matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals, the rivalry was tenser than ever as 3 years worth of emotions and pain had been built up between these two for years, but now it was time to fight it out again for another year. Tampa Bay's xGA/60 at 5-on-5 in these playoffs is just 1.52 goals per regulation time. Captain Alex Ovechkin added a goal with six seconds left in the period - shortly after Tampa had its potential game-tying goal waved off for too many men on the ice. It's a full turnover from the final four teams previous year: Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Nashville and Anaheim.
The first step to victory in the seventh minute made Michal Kempny that with the transfer of Evgeni Kuznetsov scored his debut goal in the play-offs.
Need more proof? The Caps are finally getting bounces to go their way. The Capitals were relentless going after the puck and it paid off big time for them.
"Washington" and "Tampa" began to challenge the ticket to the Stanley Cup finals.
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