While the top-seeded Washington Capitals were well-rested after a five-game first-round win over the New York Rangers, the Tampa Bay Lightning were fresh off a road triumph in Game 7 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. With a daunting task looming in the opening game of this conference semifinal matchup, first-year head coach Guy Boucher led his surprising Bolts into Washington to tangle with Alex Ovechkin and the surging Caps.
Tampa Bay would pick up right where it left off, as Game 7 hero Sean Bergenheim notched a goal 2:12 into the opening period to quiet the Verizon Center crowd. Then, the momentum swung back in favor of the Caps, as Alexander Semin and Eric Fehr both scored to help Washington grab a 2-1 advantage early in the second period.
But Steve Downie and Steven Stamkos would respond later in the period, as Tampa Bay scored twice in the final four minutes of the second to seize the lead right back. Clinging to a one-goal lead entering the third, the ageless Dwayne Roloson shined down the stretch, and Dominic Moore sealed the deal with an empty-netter in the final minute to secure Tampa Bay's surprising 4-2 victory in Game 1.