Roger Mooney's takeaways from Lightning-Capitals Game 1

Mae Harvey
May 12, 2018

"It was one of those things where, throughout the game, I think they outplayed us in all periods", Lightning forward Alex Killorn said. Keep in mind, there's no mention there of Tyler Johnson or rookie standout Yanni Gourde.

But the energy was missing, and so was the intensity.

The Washington Capitals maintained their postseason momentum and trounced the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday night at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman can take over a game at either end of the ice, Anton Stralman continues to provide a steadying force on the blueline and a former weakness for the Lightning now appears to be one of their strengths. Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed four goals on 25 shots. There have been two shots on goal, both from Capitals defensemen.

Alex Ovechkin scored 5.3 seconds into the ensuing power play to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead, in what was the turning point of the game.

The Capitals' Michal Kempny started the scoring 7:28 into the first period. However, the goal was waved off after a replay.

"The whole game wasn't good enough for where we need to be at this time of year", Lightning defenseman Ryan Callahan said. And the statement might have been to themselves more than the Lightning, who will be searching for answers heading into Game 2 on Sunday night.

It happened again in the opener against the Capitals. "That's the way we have to look at it", Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. And now they're up 1-0 in the series, a mere three wins away from the franchise's second Stanley Cup Final appearance. Tampa had 10 shots on goal through two periods, which was the fewest through the first 40 minutes they had in any game this season, in the regular season or the playoffs. The second period saw them outshoot Tampa Bay 16-8.

That tally came right after the Lightning were penalized for too many men on the ice.

To add insult to the no-goal, the Caps scored six seconds later. Evgeny Kuznetsov got to the puck and fed Ovechkin, who one-timed it into the net. If the top pairings cancel out the top-sixes, a goal from the likes of Washington's Brett Connolly or Tampa Bay's Anthony Cirelli could be huge.

It was a stunning turn of events.

Expect the Lightning to build off a positive finish in Game 2.

Michal Kempny scored his first career playoff goal to put the Caps up 1-0 then a weird sequence at the end of the first period ended with a Nikita Kucherov goal being disallowed followed by a quick goal from Alex Ovechkin with just six seconds left.

The Lightning, who began the third period with Louis Domingue replacing Vasilevskiy in net, got two quick goals.

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