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Capitals v Lightning - 2011 Stanley Cup Conference Semifinals

Caps looking for answers on power play

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals were betrayed by their typically potent power play during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Twelve months later, it's happening again.

Washington went 0-for-6 with the man advantage Sunday night in Game 2 of its Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Tampa Bay Lightning – a big reason they lost 3-2 in overtime. The Capitals also did not score in five opportunities in Game 1 and are now in a 2-0 hole in this series as it shifts to Florida.

"We're trying. We're trying different things," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We're trying to make things work. Obviously it is not. It is not like there are bad penalty killers -- they stopped [34 out of 35] against Pittsburgh. We've got to just keep going at it."

Bolts happy, not ready to celebrate after Game 2 win

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

WASHINGTON -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are two wins away from the Eastern Conference Finals, but you wouldn't have known it after Sunday night's 3-2 overtime victory against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center.

Much like Friday after Game 1, the attitude was very subdued. In Guy Boucher's mind and in his players' minds, nothing has been accomplished. Not yet.

"It's whoever wins four games, not two," said forward Martin St. Louis, who gave his club a 2-1 lead 7:35 into the third period -- a lead that stood until Alex Ovechkin tied it with 67 seconds to go. "Obviously we're happy with the result, but we haven't done nothing yet."

Lecavalier sends Bolts home up 2-0

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

WASHINGTON -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are going home with a 2-0 lead in this Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Washington Capitals, and Vincent Lecavalier is a big reason why.

The Lightning's captain scored twice -- including the game-winner at 6:19 of overtime -- as the Bolts survived a swarming offensive attack in a 3-2 victory at Verizon Center.

Lecavalier, who now has 4 goals this postseason, spoke with reporters after the Lightning's fifth straight win.

Caps know they need to make adjustments

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- For five games the Washington Capitals had to deal with the physical style of the New York Rangers, knowing if they didn't work hard enough below the circles in the defensive end it would cost them.

It only took about six minutes in Game 1 of their second round series to see the Capitals would face a much different challenge from the Tampa Bay Lightning. While the Rangers' offense almost always started by getting the puck below the goal line and working to create chances from there, the Lightning are much better equipped to find scoring opportunities off the rush and in other creative situations.

"They have more offensive guys than the Rangers," Matt Bradley said. "The Rangers were more dump-and-chase, create plays down low in our zone. These guys are capable of making plays off the rush. You really have to have that back pressure and make sure you don't give up odd-man rushes."

Tampa Bay created more chances after carrying the puck into the zone in Game 1 than New York did in those five first-round games combined. The Lightning, led by Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Vinny Lecavalier, look for cross-ice passes and one-timers from places other than the slot with far greater regularity than the Rangers did. 

Gagne, Kubina out for Game 2

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

WASHINGTON -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will have a different look on Sunday night.

Due to injuries suffered in Friday's 4-2 victory against the Washington Capitals, the Lightning will be forced to play without forward Simon Gagne and defenseman Pavel Kubina in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal. They will be replaced by Blair Jones and Randy Jones, respectively.

Gagne, who has 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists) in eight games, went down 7:22 into Game 1 due to a hit from Caps defenseman Scott Hannan. Gagne's head struck the ice and nearly left on a stretcher before he managed to get up and skate off with the assistance of two trainers.

Kubina, 34, was injured late in the second period after being hit by forward Jason Chimera. Lightning coach Guy Boucher said there's a possibility Gagne or Kubina -- or both -- could be in the lineup when the series shifts to Tampa Bay for Game 3.

Downie giving Lightning an offensive boost

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

WASHINGTON -- The Tampa Bay Lightning boast a roster that consider star players such as Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Hart Trophy finalist Martin St. Louis. One of those three has to lead the Bolts in postseason scoring, right?


Eight games into the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it's bruising forward Steve Downie leading the way for Tampa Bay. He had a goal and an assist Friday night in a 4-2 win against the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal, giving him a team-high nine postseason points.

The former first-round pick (Philadelphia, No. 29 in 2005) has always had offensive ability -- Downie racked up 92 points in his final season of junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League. He then put up career bests with 22 goals and 24 assists for Tampa Bay in 2009-10.

Caps' Backstrom seeks to regain scoring touch

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Nicklas Backstrom is the top passer on the Washington Capitals and one of the best in the world at setting up teammates for goal-scoring opportunities.

He's counted on to score goals as well, and his 33 a season ago proved he can do that at an elite level. But Backstrom hasn't been putting the puck in the net lately -- his goalless streak reached 14 games, dating back to the regular season, as Washington dropped a 4-2 decision to Tampa Bay in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

"I should have been scoring a lot more goals -- that is for sure," Backstrom said. "Of course it is bugging me. It is really frustrating, but at the same time you can't really do anything. You just keep working hard and try to go to the net and create the other chances."

Lightning win despite losing Gagne to injury

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

WASHINGTON -- Perhaps the most impressive part of the Tampa Bay Lightning's 4-2 victory against the Washington Capitals on Friday night was the fact they accomplished it without one of their top offensive weapons.

Simon Gagne, who entered Game 1 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal averaging a point per game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, left the game just 7:22 into the opening period due to some type of upper-body injury. Gagne was cleanly hit by Caps defenseman Scott Hannan, but hit his head struck the ice on the way down.

A stretcher was brought out for Gagne -- who laid motionless on the ice for what felt like several minutes -- before the Lightning forward was able to get off and leave the playing surface with the help of two trainers. He did not return and will be re-evaluated on Saturday.

Ovi, Caps come up empty in series opener

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin had what his coach described as his best game of the postseason in the Game 5 clincher against the New York Rangers in the opening round last Saturday. But Ovi was unable to follow it up with a similar effort against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Ovechkin led all forwards with 22:38 of ice time and tied for the most hits with four, but seven of his nine shot attempts were blocked and he didn't collect a point for the second time in six postseason games this year and only the third time in his past 12.

Here's what Ovechkin had to say after his team's 4-2 loss to the Lightning at Verizon Center.

Stamkos steps up with winning goal in Game 1

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

WASHINGTON -- All the talk surrounding this Eastern Conference Semifinal between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals seemed to revolve around how the Bolts could possibly contain their rival's offensive firepower.

On Friday, however, it was the Lightning's superstar forward who came through with the biggest goal of the night.

Steven Stamkos broke a 2-2 tie by scoring on the power play with just 31.6 seconds remaining in the second period and the Bolts shut down the Caps over the final 20 minutes of Game 1 en route to a gritty 4-2 victory at Verizon Center. 
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