The Capitals rallied late in the third to tie it up, but a bad line change in overtime due them in and the Lightning head back to Florida with a 2-0 series lead. The Caps dominated most of the game, but couldn’t get it down. The good news is they started a lot stronger than last game but couldn’t find the back of the net. They out shot the Lightning 11-6 in the first period, but had three power plays with no luck. With less than a minute left in the first, the Lightning took the lead when Vincent Lecavalier beat Michal Neuvirth high glove side on the power play. The Lightning were undefeated coming into the game when scoring the first goal of the game in the playoffs and they stole all the momentum for the Caps.
In the second the Caps totally dominated. They out shot the Lightning 16-3, but again had three power plays and couldn’t put one in, but at even strength they were the better team all night. Nicklas Backstrom shot it hard at the net and it took a funny bounce where Brooks Laich hit in and by Dwayne Roloson to tie it up with a little more than five minutes remaining in the second. The Caps were 0-6 on the power play going into the third and the Lighting were 1 for 4, again special teams playing a huge part in the game.
In the third the Lightning were the stronger team and a little over seven minutes into the third Martin St. Louis tried to center the puck in front of the net and it went off Mike Green’s skate and by Neuvirth to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead. It is the second game in a row the Lightning have scored a goal off a Caps defenseman’s leg. It wasn’t looking for the Caps…until they pulled Neuvirth and with 1:07 left in the third Alex Ovechkin put in the rebound when Jason Arnott went to the net and tied it up. The Caps were out shot 11-5 in the third, but had all the momentum going to overtime. The Caps were 2-0 in overtime in these playoffs heading into this one.
In overtime it was all Caps, they just missed a few great chances, but a bad line change left Lecavalier wide open in front of Michal Neuvirth who put it high and in to give the Lightning a 3-2 win and a 2-0 series advantage as they head for two in Tampa. The last time the Caps were in this situation was in 2009 when they lost their first two home games and beat the Rangers 4-3 in the series. The Lightning are 5-0 when scoring the first goal in these playoffs and have won 5 in a row.
The Caps special teams continue to struggle as they went 0-6 on the power play, 0-11 so far in the series, and 4 for 5 on the penalty kill. The Lightning have stopped 45 of 46 penalties in these playoffs. Michal Neuvirth stopped 20 in the loss. The Caps out shot the Lightning 37-23 in the game and Lightning Head Coach Guy Boucher said they got away with one tonight. Capitals forward Brooks Laich said after the game, “It’s a tough loss, but give them credit. They capitalized on their opportunities and on our mistakes. Down 2-0, but we’ve been in this position before and we’ve come back…we’re going to regroup and come back on Tuesday.”
The Caps will have an optional practice tomorrow at 11am at Kettler Capitals Iceplex then head down to Florida for games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday. Check out what Bruce Boudreau, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Knuble, Brooks Laich, Jeff Shultz, Boyd Gordon, Matt Bradley and Lightning’s Head Coach Guy Boucher.
2nd 14:52 Laich (1), Backstrom (2), Erskine (1)
3rd 18:52 Ovechkin (4), Arnott (3)
Bruce Boudreau Postgame Audio
Alex Ovechkin Postgame Audio
Mike Knuble Postgame Audio
Brooks Laich Postgame Audio
Nicklas Backstrom Postgame Audio
Matt Bradley Postgame Audio
Jeff Schultz Postgame Audio
Boyd Gordon Postgame Audio
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.