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Capitals v Lightning - 2011 Stanley Cup Conference Semifinals

Gagne leaves ice after hitting head in fall

Simon Gagne of the Tampa Bay Lightning had to be helped to the dressing room in the first period of Friday's playoff game against Washington after he banged his head against the ice following a fall.

The side of Gagne's helmeted head banged against the ice after he was lifted off his feet on a hit in the corner by Washington defenseman Scott Hannan just 8:22 into the game. Gagne was unable to do anything to break the fall.

Caps, Lightning have stage set for budding rivalry

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- There hasn't been a true rivalry to emerge from the Southeast Division, but there could be hope for one developing between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning.

The division has only been around for 12 seasons and four of the five teams have been in their respective cities for less than two decades, not enough time to build a history of animosity. But the biggest reason is probably the teams from the Southeast haven't met each other in the Stanley Cup Playoffs very often.

Experience the difference between Bolts, Caps

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

"Washington is in Year 5 of their plan, we're in Year 1. We're aware of that. To be able to compete against those teams that are on a mission and had the experience of last year and the previous year to build on and know what they need, whereas we have to learn it all right now. That's why, for us, it's clear it's David against Goliath." -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher

WASHINGTON -- Four points separated the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning in the Southeast Division standings this season.
That's why many were taken by surprise Thursday when Lightning coach Guy Boucher dubbed this Eastern Conference semifinal as "Goliath against David." After all, the Bolts finished with just two fewer wins during the regular season than the Caps, who needed a tremendous second half just to surpass Tampa Bay in the division standings.
But despite the fact his team racked up 103 points during the regular season and just rallied from a 3-1 deficit to oust the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round, Boucher wasn't about to retract any comments made 24 hours ago.

Ovi-Stamkos rivalry gets big shot at developing

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

"Yeah, anytime you can get arguably two of the best snipers in the world together, it is a lot of fun to watch. I think it is just good entertainment -- good hockey -- when you can have two guys going against each other like that."
-- Washington forward Jason Chimera

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin isn't going to get the chance to best his biggest rival in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the guy who may someday soon be 1A is next up in his path.

There may not be a more scintillating individual matchup in the second round than Ovechkin going head-to-head with Steve Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning. They are the two leading goal scorers in the NHL since Stamkos arrived in Florida after being the No. 1 pick in the 2009 Entry Draft, and the division rivals will see each other in the postseason for the first time.

"Yeah, anytime you can get arguably two of the best snipers in the world together, it is a lot of fun to watch," Washington forward Jason Chimera said. "I think it is just good entertainment -- good hockey -- when you can have two guys going against each other like that."

Canucks look to repeat rare piece of history

David Kalan - Staff Writer

After just three games this postseason, the Canucks looked to be off and running as they started their hunt for the franchise's first ever Stanley Cup. Vancouver had jumped out to a 3-0 series lead against the defending champs, a lead that prior to this season led to a series victory in all but three out of 162 instances in NHL history.

And then it happened. Chicago got on a roll, and suddenly the Presidents' Trophy-winning Canucks were on the brink of elimination after seeing their lead disappear ahead of a decisive Game 7 Tuesday night. While the occasion of a team rallying all the way back from a 3-0 deficit is rare, with last year's historic comeback by Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference Semifinals still fresh in everyone's memory, nerves were frayed in British Columbia. Of course, Vancouver would eventually prevail, but even Game 7 didn't come without some agita, as Chicago's Jonathan Toews forced overtime with a late shorthanded goal before Alexandre Burrows' series-clinching blast.

Caps, Lightning renew rivalry in conference semifinal Staff

The Lightning and the Capitals battled six times in the regular season for supremacy in the Southeast Division, and following Tampa Bay's 1-0 win in Game 7 of their first-round series against the Penguins, they'll meet at least four more times in the conference semifinals.

Their regular-season battles were offensive-minded affairs. Washington won the first two games by a combined score of 12-3, but the final four games came after Tampa acquired goalie Dwayne Roloson, and the teams split those games. The Lightning had a pair of shutouts, two games went to overtime and one went to a shootout.

Can the 41-year-old Roloson maintain his stellar play? Or will Washington's rookie Michal Neuvirth outplay another battle-tested veteran, like he did the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist?

Flyers, B's meet again after historic outcome last year

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Well, we've seen this before.
Last year the Flyers and Bruins met in one of the most memorable Stanley Cup Playoff series in NHL history. The Bruins won the first three games, including Marc Savard's dramatic overtime goal in Game 1 in his first game back after a serious concussion nearly two months earlier.
Then the Flyers won Game 4 in overtime on Simon Gagne's goal in his first game back from injury, and then they lost starting goalie Brian Boucher in Game 5 to an injury -- only to see Michael Leighton come off the bench and finish a shutout.
After a win in Game 6, the Flyers forced a Game 7 in Boston. They fell behind 3-0 in the first period, but the Flyers roared back and eventually went ahead on Gagne's goal in the third period.

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