Washington Capitals Win Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals

Florence Fletcher
May 13, 2018

The Tampa Bay Lightning forward offered a unique reason why their subpar performance in a 4-2 loss against the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on Friday was unacceptable and why they must make amends in Game 2 at home Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Sergachev may revere Ovechkin, but his game may more closely resemble another of the Capitals' Russian players: Dmitry Orlov, an offensive defenseman.

"Man, they gave us a big boost with their energy and enthusiasm", said Matt Niskanen, a defenseman in his 11th National Hockey League season. Big Jay played on the rebound of a shot by Brett Connolly, Lars eller scored the most after the removal of Nikita Kucherov. That could be a reflection of teams having greater trust in young players arriving from junior hockey or college, or the need to stock rosters with cheap talent as a greater percentage of the salary cap is devoted to the elite. I think if you bottled up all the bad things in those first 10 games, it would be half of what we did in one game last night. They outplayed us. In hindsight we were in the same position after the last round and found a way to respond. "We just need to be way more assertive on the ice and play with that edge that we had after Game 1 last series". One of the fresh faces, Nathan Walker, assisted on a goal.

Backstrom has three goals and 10 assists in 11 games this postseason, including one overtime game victor.

During Game Five of the Capitals second round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nicklas Backstrom appeared to block a shot and injured his right hand. Played every game since, though.

"They had pretty good scoring chances last night, but I gave up four (goals)", said Vasilevskiy. I'm expecting a better peformance from the Lightning here and wouldn't be shocked if they get the victory. The Capitals have already exposed some of Tampa's costly missteps and have managed to deny the Bolts the space that they devastate opponents with.

"It was quick, it was unusual", Capitals coach Barry Trotz said.

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"We're not dwelling on the negative", Cooper said. "And then he sort of grew out of it". Cirelli has played a key defensive center role after getting into just 18 regular-season games.

The Capitals are 5-1 in their last 6 Conference Finals games, 2-5 in their last 7 Sunday games and 21-7 in their last 28 overall.

Alex Tuch, who turned 22 on Thursday, has four goals and three assists as the sole postseason rookie for the Golden Knights.

The Capitals took the Lightning out of the game by not allowing Tampa Bay to utilize its speed on the forecheck, an area the Lightning were oftentimes dominant in the first two rounds against New Jersey and Boston. The Tampa Bay Lightning were rested, with five days off, and ready to take advantage of a Capitals team that spent a lot of emotional energy in its semifinal catharsis. Now in his first playoff run, Sergachev has scored twice for the Lightning.

"I think you can feel better about a game where you don't get the result but played well", Point said. "We didn't know what to expect". This season, they've preferred shot quality over quantity.

Nor do coaches or teammates. "The crowd was kind of stunned a little bit". They've always got the smile on.

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