Tampa Bay Lightning fall 4-2 to Washington Capitals in Game 1

History made with new teams in final 4

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom will miss Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. All of those teams have a combined one Stanley Cup victory and it belongs to the Tampa Bay Lightning and they haven't won since 2004.

After being told that Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper had said his team needed to increase their energy level by 5 per cent from the second round to the Eastern Conference final, Alex Ovechkin was asked how the Washington Capitals planned to respond.

I'm hoping the Capitals can pull another series win out of their hats. While he didn't start Game 1 of the post-season, Braden Holtby is ensuring his tough regular season will be forgotten. Round two was similar, Washington dropped Game 1 at home and then alternated games with Pittsburgh until claiming Game 5 and stealing Game 6 on the road. He's going to have to be that good or better for the Capitals to have a real strong chance in this series. All three of those things are a real challenge with a beat-up hand.

It was Ovechkin's ninth goal of the postseason and fourth on the power play. Evgeny Kuznetsov also has 14 points.

McPhee's former team in Washington has the same feeling. The defensemen are okay, but not stellar, and goaltending has been an issue.

Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler are leading the charge, while elite goal scorer Patrick Laine and former Penn State killer Kyle Connor are starting to heat up. But the goal was quickly waved off because the Lightning had too many men on the ice. I'm delighted that they finally took down their Moby Dick, the Pittsburgh Penguins, to enter the Conference Finals for the first time since 1998. They've lost twice to the Bolts since that last Conference Finals appearance. The bigger prize is still out there, but that was a seriously huge hurdle the Capitals made it over. "That's a good hockey team over there". It was Kempny's first goal of the postseason.

"We've been here in this situation before", Stamkos said.

Nobody gave these two teams a shot coming into the season, but here they are, each four wins away from the Stanley Cup Final. Three other players had at least 60 points. That is what happened against the Bruins, when the Lightning could not match Boston's intensity in a 6-2 loss. "That's a pretty recipe to win", said Stamkos.

Curry, 23, attends about five games a year and watches the rest on TV. They called it. They knew they didn't have that much time.

(Kevin) I've claimed since the start of the playoffs that the victor of the second round matchup between Winnipeg and Nashville was lifting the Cup this season; no point in changing that pick now.

Washington really needs the puck and really needs to generate power play opportunities.

Offensively, Tampa Bay is going to be a handful. So, the Capitals probably stand more of a chance than the numbers indicate.

"When he came in the league, he was the best player, and I mean he's still the best player", Kucherov said. Washington is up over 2.00. It was quite the turnaround, but Stamkos said it was not the play the broke the Lightning's back.

The 2018 NHL Playoffs have played out just as everyone had envisioned it would.

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