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Bolts return home with 2-0 series lead on Caps

by Brian Compton /

(Tampa Bay leads best-of-seven series, 2-0)


Big story: The Lightning have won five straight games and return home with a 2-0 lead on the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Vincent Lecavalier made sure his team won Game 2 when he beat Michal Neuvirth in overtime Sunday night, his second tally of the contest.

Team Scope:

Capitals: The pressure is beginning to mount on a club that enters every season with tremendous expectations. Much like Boston Bruins did in the opening round, it's now Washington's turn to find a way to win two games on the road after dropping Games 1 and 2 on home ice. It's no easy task, but the Caps certainly possess the firepower to get right back into this series.

"We know it's a huge challenge and a huge task here," forward Mike Knuble said. "I think you've gotta embrace it, not be upset about what's happened. You've got to push forward and try to be better so I guess you do want to be a little upset, but not in a negative way -- use it to move forward."

Lightning: Tampa Bay, a team that hadn't made the playoffs in four years, is suddenly two victories away from the Eastern Conference Finals. It's certainly a testament to the jobs rookie GM Steve Yzerman and first-year coach Guy Boucher have done since last summer, as they've quickly changed the culture for a franchise that was in desperate need of a makeover.

"We were expecting to struggle for a while, and it didn't happen," Boucher said during a conference call Monday afternoon. "These players were carefully chosen not just on their impact on the ice, but also no the type of individuals that they are. I think that's a real trait of Steve. He doesn't jump into decisions. He takes his time for everything and makes sure he weighs all the pros and the cons and takes into the consideration the intangibles that make a difference, I believe.

"I think any great leader has a vision. I think up until now he has lived up to the vision that he put forward for everyone."

Who's hot: Alex Ovechkin erased a 2-1 deficit for the Caps with 1:07 left in regulation Sunday night. He is averaging a point per game this postseason, with 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) in as many contests. … Lecavalier (4 goals, 6 assists) and Hart Trophy finalist Martin St. Louis (5 goals, 5 assists) each have 10 points in nine games.

Injury report: Washington is likely to be without defensemen Tom Poti (groin) and Dennis Wideman (leg). … Boucher said Monday there's a "slim chance" Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina could play in Game 3. Both suffered injuries on Friday night and did not play Sunday. They're labeled as day-to-day.

Stat pack: Washington is 0-for-11 on the power play in the first two games of this series.

Puck drop: "We want our captain to be inspiring because he's blocking shots, because he's winning faceoffs, because he's backchecking, because he's finishing his checks. It's very rare when these star players buy into that because obviously they've been told their entire life that it's all about scoring goals and making points. We put a lot of emphasis on little details that make a player a complete player. There's a difference between a star and a winner. I rather he scores 30 goals and inspires this team than scoring 50." -- Lightning coach Guy Boucher on captain Vincent Lecavalier
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