Published: Sun, May 13, 2018
Sport | By Floyd Cook

Lightning lacks energy and intensity in loss to Capitals in Game 1

Lightning lacks energy and intensity in loss to Capitals in Game 1

Game two of the series is Sunday night in Tampa. And the Lightning would never recover, losing 4-2 at Amalie Arena.

Washington now leads Tampa 1-0 in the series.

The Lightning wanted to play Friday the way they played in the final four games against the Bruins.

With 7.1 seconds left in the first period, the Capitals were given a power play, an offensive zone faceoff at the right circle. By the end of 40 minutes, the Caps were up 4-0. The Washington Capitals are averaging 3.1 goals per game and are scoring on 22.5 percent of their power play opportunities. Even that's a bit misleading as over half the Tampa Bay shots came when they were down 4-0 in the third. "But anytime you give up a goal at the end of the period, it gives momentum to the other team". Only two garbage time goals by Tampa kept the game from getting completely out of hand.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz said discipline was going to be a major factor in this series.

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There were a couple encouraging aspects of the Game 1 loss for the Lightning, though you have to look hard to find them. Instead of making simple plays and getting pucks on net, they looked for the ideal shots. Because, as we saw in the last series, the Lightning likely aren't going to play this terribly again. Eller has even filled well on the top unit in place of Nicklas Backstrom, who has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury.

Washington dethroned the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins in six games to advance to the final four.

"That's a pretty good recipe to win", Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said of the Capitals' play. Yet the final 10 seconds of the first period provided an early turning point. If Eller can continue to win his battles, the Capitals might be able to pull off the upset even without Backstrom. Just look at their second goal. With ten seconds remaining in the first period, Ryan McDonagh sprang Nikita Kucherov with a breakaway pass. Kucherov fought off Dmitry Orlov and flipped the puck past Braden Holtby to tie the game at one. The Capitals have been very solid on the road in the postseason, but the Bolts have been a very good 34-14 here at home for the year, including 5-2 in the postseason. But this year, they did.

Jay Beagle - The Capitals checking centre struggled in terms of puck possession (7 for, 11 against, 38.9 CF%,), but also scored Washington's third goal, his first goal since the first game of the playoffs.

Taking the loss in game one was Andrei Vasilevskiy, who allowed four goals on 25 shot attempts to fall to 8-3 with a 2.43 GAA and a.920 save percentage in the postseason this year and 12-8 with a 2.63 GAA and a.920 save percentage in the postseason in his career.

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