Friday night’s game one didn’t quite go the Tampa Bay Lightning’s way., but it’s not the end of the world Lightning fans. Since Jon Cooper took over Tampa Bay is 5-1 in game two’s following a game one loss. In 2014 they suffered their only game two loss after losing game one. In that series the Montreal Canadiens would sweep the Lightning. Cooper’s boys have won their last five game twos when down 1-0 in a series.
“The were playing game one of the conference final, we seemed to be playing game 38 of the season.”
Jon Cooper – Following game one loss to Washington Capitals
That was a telling statement from Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper. His team had a rough game against a Washington Capitals team that had not reached the 3rd round of the playoffs in 20 years. Friday night was the first-time future hall of famer Alex Ovechkin played past the second round in his 13-year career.
Caught off guard
The Capitals really came out buzzing in game one. Their play through two periods caused Jon Cooper to make a change at goaltender heading into the third period. Andrei Vasilevskiy would not return to the net after seeing 25 shots and only stopping 21. Lightning backup Louis Domingue would come in for the Vezina finalist and stop all seven shot he faced. Washington managed to put 32 shots on goal, the Lightning could only manage 21. Friday’s game was the first playoff game in Domingue’s career.
Washington kept their hot play going into the first period of game two tonight. With the Capitals putting pressure out the gate on the Lightning’s zone, Matt Niskanin would put a puck on net :28 seconds in. Tom Wilson playing in only his second game since returning from suspension got his stick on the puck to redirect it past Vasilevskiy for a 1-0 lead. Their lead wouldn’t last too long, following a goalie interference call on Tom Wilson. While on the power play Steven Stamkos would fire a one timer from the left circle. The puck would go off Niskanin’s skate and Brayden Point would clean up the rebound and put it past Braden Holtby for a 1-1 game. Moments later Stamkos would fire a one-timer past Holby from his favorite shooting spot.
— #GoBolts (@TBLightning) May 14, 2018
Odd man rushes
The Capitals have had what anyone would call too many already in this series, tonight heading into the early part of the second period they have had two. For the Lightning that was too many. Devante Smith-Pelly converted early in the second period on an odd man rush. That goal would tie the game early in the second period. The odd man rush has been something the Lightning have given up way too many times this season. Evengy Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin would strike to open scoring in the third with yet another odd man rush.
Two goals, in 64 seconds
The 2-2 ties in this game lasted nearly the entire 2nd period, until Lars Eller would give the Capitals a 3-2 lead. Less than a minute later Kuznetsov would make it 4-2 with little to no time left on the clock in the second period. The Lightning have not appeared to have the same fire they had in rounds one and two, but at the same time the Capitals are playing with house money. No one expected them to make it this far in the playoffs.
Former Bolt strikes
Brett Connolly who was drafted by the Lightning in 2010 with the 6th overall pick put the dagger in the heart of the Lightning. Connolly never really found his niche in Tampa, has found a nice little home for himself in Washington. In his two seasons in the nations capital, Connolly has notched 15 goals both seasons. His season high with the Lightning came in 2014-2015 when he had 12. The Capitals now take a 2-0 series lead up to DC.
The Lightning and Capitals will head up north to the nations capital for games three and four. Game three will be Tuesday night and game four will be Thursday. Game five back in Tampa if necessary will be on Saturday.
Three Stars of the Game
3rd Star – Alex Ovechkin: One goal one assist
2nd Star – Lar Eller: Game winning goal and two assists
1st Star – Evgeny Kuznetsov: One goal an two assists
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