Reporting Sky Kerstein
The Caps came into a must win situation and fell short falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 and most importantly falling 0-3 in the series. Stupid mistakes and bad turnovers continue to kill the Capitals and with game four being tomorrow in Tampa it doesn’t look good. The Caps fortunes looked like they turned a corner early when they put one in on the power play only to be taken away due to too many men on the ice. Bruce Boudreau said later Alexander Semin wasn’t supposed to come on and did. For the third straight game the Lightning scored first. Sean Bergenheim continues his hot playoffs notching his fifth right in front of the net and gave the Lightning a 1-0 advantage going to the second even though the Caps out shot them 13-8.
Only 59 seconds into the second period Alex Ovechkin had a breakaway, got stuffed by Dwayne Roloson but threw it too the net and Mike Knuble pushed it on for a dirty goal and tied the game at 1. Later in the period a slap shot from the point by John Carlson through traffic beat Roloson and gave the Caps the lead. But they only held it for less than four minutes because Vincent Lecavalier beat Neuvirth right in front of the net to tie it at two. The Caps were 0-13 on the power play, but two late hooking penalties on Tampa gave the Caps a 5 on 3 and Alex Ovechkin put in an Alex Semin rebound to give the Caps a 3-2 lead to the third. The Caps were 41-0-3 when scoring three or more goals in a game this season and things were looking good.
For the third straight game though the Lightning were the better team in the third. They totally dominated play and out shot the Caps 15-5 in the period. First Steve Stamkos beat Neuvirth with a bullet high stick side and then 24 seconds later a puck went off of Ryan Malone’s skate and in to give the Lightning a 4-3 lead they wouldn’t let go. Boudreau later said it looked like Malone interfered with John Carlson and it shouldn’t of been a goal. The Caps find themselves now in an 0-3 deficit and in the history of the NHL only three teams have come back to win a series being down 0-3. The last time it happened was last year when Philadelphia came back and beat Boston.
Michal Neuvirth had a terrific third period and kept the Caps in it despite getting very little help from the rest of his team. Neuvirth stopped 26 shots and now has a 2.03 GAA and is 4-4 in his playoff career. Bruce Boudreau was complimentary of his young goaltender afterwards, “I thought a couple of those goal he should have had. At the same time, when they had the lead, he kept us in the game. I think we as a group lost our composure and had giveaways. He was there to keep us involved in the game.”
The Caps will have an optional skate tomorrow morning and then game four is tomorrow night. If they win then they go back to Washington for game five, if they lose then it will end another disappointing season. Check out what Bruce Boudreau, Alex Ovechkin, Michal Neuvirth, Jason Arnott, Mike Knuble and Karl Alzner had to say following the loss.
2nd 0:59 Knuble (2), Ovechkin (4)
2nd 7:58 Carlson (1), Chimera (2), Johansson (4)
2nd 17:27 PP Ovechkin (5), Semin (2), Green (5)
Bruce Boudreau Postgame Audio
Alex Ovechkin Postgame Audio
Michal Neuvirth Postgame Audio
Jason Arnott Postgame Audio
Mike Knuble Postgame Audio
Karl Alzner Postgame Audio
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.