-- 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.