Reporting Sky Kerstein
The Capitals playoff woes continue after getting swept in four games by their division rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Caps had five days off before game one and they struggled the entire series to get into a rhythm. They led a few times, but most importantly they were always coming back. In the four games, Tampa scored first in each game and are 7-0 in the playoffs when scoring first. The Caps also struggled on the power play going 2 for 19 in the series while the Lightning went 4 for 18 on the power play in the series and they got their power play flying early tonight.
A little over 12 minutes in Ryan Malone deflected a Vincent Lecavalier pass off his skate and by Michal Neuvirth for an early lead. Marco Sturm came back a little less than six minutes later when Jason Arnott fired it at the net and Sturm kind of pushed it in with his body. It was 1-1 going to the second even though the Caps out shot the Lightning 12-11.
In the second is when the Caps hopes started to fade. Sean Bergenheim, whose been dominant in the playoffs, netted two even strength Lightning goals to give the Lightning a 3-1 lead, until John Erskine just threw it at the net and Dwayne Roloson misplayed it to make it a 3-2 Lightning advantage heading to the third. The Lightning dominated play in the period and outshot the Caps 17-10.
The third period were all Lightning, first Marc-Andre Burgeron and then Martin St. Louis pretty much clinched it for the Lightning. John Carlson had a late goal with Neuvirth pulled but the Caps fell 5-3 and get swept. Under Bruce Boudreau the Capitals have never advanced passed the second round and there will be a lot of questions about his future. Michal Neuvirth in his first NHL playoffs went 4-5 with a 2.34 GAA and .912 Save pct. The Caps are the 161st team to lose when down 3-0 in a series. Before the last two games the Caps didn’t lose a game in 60 minutes of play when scoring 3 goals or more, now they end their season 41-2-3 in that category. The Caps out shot the Lightning 133-114 in the series and this was the first game the Lightning out shot their opponent all playoffs.
The next few days a lot of changes might occur but guys who don’t look like they will be back are Jason Arnott, Marco Sturm and Scott Hannan. Nicklas Backstrom had two assists and no goals in nine playoff games, Alex Ovechkin had five goals and five assists and Alexander Semin ended up with four goals and two assists. Bruce Boudreau is 189-79-39 in the regular season, but just 17-20 in the playoffs.
Check out what Bruce Boudreau, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Knuble, Jason Arnott, Karl Alzner and John Carlson had to say following the game.
1st 18:30 PP Sturm (1), Arnott (4), Ovechkin (5)
2nd 13:40 Erskine (1)
3rd 17:54 Carlson (2), Laich (6), Arnott (5)
Bruce Boudreau Postgame Audio
Alex Ovechkin Postgame Audio
Nicklas Backstrom Postgame Audio
Jason Arnott Postgame Audio
Mike Knuble Postgame Audio
Karl Alzner Postgame Audio
John Carlson 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.