Surging Capitals cruise past Lightning in Game 1

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"I thought a lot of their opportunities we just handed to them, and a lot of our opportunities were stomped out just by our not sticking to our plan of what's worked".

Washington scored four unanswered in Game 1 on Tampa Bay's Vezina Trophy candidate Andrei Vasilevskiy as he was pulled before the start of the third period.

Not only did the Capitals earn a 6-2 victory in Game 2, they sucked the energy out of Amalie Arena for a second straight outing.

"We didn't panic", Ovechkin said.

It's still undecided what will happen from this point, but the Capitals, at the very least, are playing strong enough to believe they can win it all.

Kempny opened the scoring just 7:28 into the game for his first goal of the postseason. They slayed the defending champion Penguins, finally made it to the Conference Final after 20 years, and dominated the best team in the East on the road to take a 2-0 series lead.


"It's all about the power plays", Kuznetsov said.

"We are going to need to rely on our depth as well and stay disciplined".

Ovechkin is also looking for his first trip to the Stanley Cup Final, a platform Kucherov has already performed on. "We've got the guys that are in the playoffs for the first time, guys have been through this, and we're capable of handling that". They had a lot of quality chances.

The Capitals, however, kept plugging away and the game swung on the two-goal stretch in the second.

Little has gone right against the Capitals. This team is on a mission, and they aren't pulling any punches en route to their ultimate goal. "And it's cost us", Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said.

"We dissected the game a little bit", Cooper said. We've got the experience. "We played hard, we played smart and you can see all the four lines did their job". The power-play goal came with Stamkos knocking in the puck from the back side.


Smith-Pelly's one-timer finishing an odd-man rush made it 2-2 at 2:30 of the second period. They overcame a blown officiating call that led to a Lightning power-play goal in Game 2.

Tampa benefited from a three-goal outburst in the second period. Braden Holtby stopped 33 of 35 shots to improve to 10-3 this post-season. He's been outstanding during the postseason, especially in the last three games. These past couple of games we haven't defended with the same sense of urgency and really hanging our goalie out to dry.

It's been just over a week since the Caps ousted the Penguins from the playoffs in Pittsburgh, and on Tuesday night they will return home to play an Eastern Conference final game in the District for the first time in two decades, hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the series. Forwards Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie, combined for six points in the frame. Instead, they vowed to play harder in front of the young goaltender, who finished with 31 saves in Game 2. Devante Smith-Pelly and Brett Connolly scored the Capitals' other goals.

Stamkos and Hedman assisted on Point's goal at 7:08 of the first.

Now, if you felt like listing off reasons the Lightning didn't win either of the first two games, you'd obvious highlight the whole "giving up 10 goals in two games" thing as the bigger problem. After Game 2, there was more recognition about how sharply the Capitals are playing. "That's something we've talked about going against Boston with how good their power play is and we saw first hand that if we are going to take penalties, teams are going to make us pay", Stamkos added. "It's gut-check time. Let's see who we really are".


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