Surging Capitals cruise past Lightning in Game 1

Capitals bust rust, explode early for win in first Conference Final game since 1998

The Capitals played perhaps their best defensive game of the playoffs. "He's a great example for young kids and someone to look up to".

Livestream every single game of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs-blackout free-plus the Toronto Blue Jays, key Raptors & NBA Playoffs matchups and the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup, all in one subscription.

As a product of the disallowed goal and subsequent penalty, Washington lined up for a faceoff in Tampa's zone to the left of Andrei Vasilevskiy and executed a handsome set play. For a more comprehensive look at how each team's odds have ebbed and flowed throughout the season, check out our NHL Stanley Cup Futures Tracker. Ovechkin remains one of the best players in hockey thirteen seasons into his career.

With Hedman and McDonagh, I think the Lightning have the edge on defence, but it's not enough to stop Washington now that they've gotten past the Pens. "But give them a lot of credit, they took Game 1 to us and we have to be better if we are going to be in the series". "It's nice to see".

If Tampa Bay is knocked out in the conference finals by Washington, it would be the first Stanley Cup Finals since 1999 (Buffalo Sabres vs Dallas Stars) that two teams would meet who haven't won a Stanley Cup title before.

The biggest favorite in the west, last year's Stanly Cup finals runner up Nashville Predators suffered a bitter defeat in the hands of up-and-coming Winnipeg Jets in a gruesome seven game series.

Steven Stamkos, on the power play, and Ondrej Palat scored goals in the third period for the Lightning, who had an easier time getting to this stage of the playoffs by eliminating Boston and New Jersey in just five games each. Las Vegas is averaging about 33.3 shots per game (SH/GP), so it's going to be critical that the Jets play good team defence to limit the amount of changes the Golden Knights get. "Washington is very similar in that regard".

Now Tampa Bay has to find a way to rediscover itself in Sunday's Game 2 to avoid falling into a hole that might be too deep to climb out of in the quest to return to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in four seasons. "We didn't know what to expect".

Kempny opened the scoring just 7:28 into the game for his first goal of the postseason.

The Capitals have surpassed all expectations by beating the reigning cup champs, but their chances of beating a loaded Tampa Bay Lightning squad that's gelling at the right time are slim, especially with no. 1 center Nicklas Backstrom missing time with a hand injury that sure doesn't look good.

The sample size, obviously, is over a smaller number games, but defenseman John Carlson said there's a reason for the Capitals' improved percentage in the postseason: there's more time to study. "Nicky is one of those guys that you can throw him in and he's not going to miss a beat". After what we've seen over two rounds, it is safe to say that numerous assumptions that we came into the playoffs with regarding the Caps can be thrown out the window. "Over the last 10 or 15 years, they're more prepared".

"So I think we're just playing on the road". They didn't, of course, but that they were in the mix speaks to the dominance the Lightning have shown throughout the campaign.

Washington is led by the 11-time All-Star, Alex Ovechkin. The Bolts will have to repeat the script from their second-round series against the Boston Bruins, in which they lost Game 1, to draw even against the Capitals, or else this could be a surprisingly short series. They've won seven of 10 games in which they've scored first.

The Lightning's penalty kill was definitely a weakness heading into the series.

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