The Capitals fell to the Tampa Lightning in front of a capacity crowd at Verizon Center 4-2 in game one of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. For the first time in the playoffs this season the Capitals gave up a first period goal when Sean Bergenheim put in a rebound to give the Lightning an early 1-0 advantage just 2:12 into the contest. The Lightning looked like a team that’s been playing and the Caps looked a lot like a team that hasn’t played in nearly a week. But less than two minutes later Alexander Semin put a slap shot on net that squeaked by Dwayne Roloson and tied it all up.
The Caps got all the momentum and control of the game back. They outshot the Lightning 14-2 after the Lightning had the first seven shots on goal but couldn’t get one by Roloson the rest of the period. The third line though came through when Jason Chimera from behind the net found Eric Fehr going to the net and Fehr shot it over Roloson and in to make it 2-1 Caps. The Caps controlled the game until about five minutes left in the period and then the Lightning started swarming. First Steve Downie kind of just backhanded a rebound towards the net that deflected off Scott Hannan’s stick and in to tie it up and then three minutes later on the power play Eric Brewer threw it on net and Seven Stamkos put in the rebound for the lead. In a blink of an eye the Lightning were up 3-2 going to the third.
In the third the Lightning’s 1-3-1 trap defense totally stifled the Caps offense. Tampa added an empty netter late, but the Caps only had five shots on goal in the period, even though they had two power plays in the period and lost their first home game of the playoffs and home ice advantage in the series. It was also the first time this season they lost in regulation when Alexander Semin has scored a goal. Nicklas Backstrom continues his poor play with no goals and only an assist in six playoff games this season.
Michal Neuvirth kept the Caps in it with some great saves stopping 20 shots on the night, but lost his second career playoff game. The Caps are now 14-2-1 when Jason Arnott is in the line up and both regulation losses have happened in these playoffs. Alex Ovechkin has only 2 shots on goal, but had seven shots blocked led by Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund and Eric Brewer. Dwayne Roloson stopped 26 for the Lightning who have won four games in a row. The Lightning are also 4-0 when scoring first so far in the playoffs.
The Caps will practice at 11am at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Saturday and game two will be at 7pm on Sunday from Verizon Center. Check out what Bruce Boudreau, Alex Ovechkin, Eric Fehr, Boyd Gordon, Jason Chimera, Scott Hannan, Brooks Laich, Marco Sturm, Michal Neuvirth and Lightning Head Coach Guy Boucher had to say after the game.
1st 4:08 Semin (4), Sturm (2)
2nd 1:51 Fehr (1), Chimera (1), Johansson (3)
Bruce Boudreau Postgame Audio
Alex Ovechkin Postgame Audio
Eric Fehr Postgame Audio
Boyd Gordon Postgame Audio
Jason Chimera Postgame Audio
Scott Hannan Postgame Audio
Brooks Laich Postgame Audio
Marco Sturm Postgame Audio
Michal Neuvirth Postgame Audio
Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach Guy Boucher
Sky Kerstein is 106.7 The FAN’s Capitals Beat Reporter and co-host of “Morning Skate” every Sunday from 9am-10am on 106.7 The FAN. Also you can find video recaps of every Caps game and post-game interviews on www.1067thefandc.com. You can get in touch with Sky on Facebook or via Twitter at www.twitter.com/SkyKerstein.