Stanley Cup Playoffs: Capitals beat Lightning in Game 1


The Lightning went on to win four of those series, only losing the 2014 opening round series to Montreal and the 2015 Stanley Cup Final to Chicago.

That could happen here.

When the Lightning coach goes behind the bench tonight, he'll do it with confidence. But we can't keep playing with fire and dropping these Game 1s, which we've done. "The margin for error is smaller and smaller". It doesn't matter which position we are, which round it is. Trotz expected the Lightning to attack those issues Saturday during its film study and practice. I think we're playing the full 200 feet that you need to play at playoff time and you're getting the goaltending you need and you're getting the commitment and you're getting the work ethic and you're getting the discipline and detail. "But anytime you give up a goal at the end of the period, it gives momentum to the other team". Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat tallied third period goals in defeat.

Now the task at hand for Washington is to replicate the Game 1 performance Sunday and take a 2-0 series advantage back home, where it could put the series away in Games 3 and 4. "That's the way we look at it".

Washington took a 4-0 lead in the first 26:42 of the game, when the Lightning had as many shots on goal as the Capitals had goals.

"One thing to remember is that this isn't the NCAA basketball tournament", said Cooper. "And, we better have some desperation in our game". Tampa Bay respects its opponent.

The second line was up to the task, dominating Tampa in shot attempts.

"If you look at Washington past year, they lost in Game 7 to the Penguins", said Cooper. They earned their breaks. The Lighting should be the favorite here based on it nearly being a must-win, and the fact they're the deeper, better team from top to bottom.

Just two seconds later, the Capitals scored on the powerplay in front of a crowd of 19,090 at Tampa's Amalie Arena.

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"We never doubted it", said Capitals forward Jay Beagle. The way he carries himself, the way he works every day and what he brings, it's awesome honestly to watch him. "Nicky is one of those guys that you can throw him in and he's not going to miss a beat".

While Holtby has found his game, there is concern that Tampa Bay's Andrei Vasilevskiy might have temporarily lost his own. The Capitals held the Lightning to 10 shots in the first two periods. It was the first time since March 13 that he did not finish a game. "We didn't give them much", Ovechkin said.

Minutes later, the Penguins would take advantage of a face-off win from Sidney Crosby where Kris Letang would one-time one in past Braden Holtby to tie the game at 1 a piece.

The Lightning were flat and registered a paltry 21 shots, 11 of which came in the final frame when the game was already out of reach.

Backstrom has yet to play since his upper-body injury, though he has puck handled ahead of a Capitals practice. 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.

Another reason for Washington's success in this year's playoffs has been its No. 2-ranked power play, which connected for two goals in Game 1.

The last time the Tampa Bay Lightning were down a game in the postseason, they reeled off four consecutive victories.

"It's very important", said Eller. The goaltending change brought life to the Lightning as they picked up two goals in the third.