BRANDON — The Capitals came to Tampa this weekend intent on winning at least one of the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Lightning. Having done that in Game 1, the Caps know what to expect tonight in Game 2.
"We expect Tampa to have a great response," Caps coach Barry Trotz said, "and we have to be ready for it."
The Lightning responded to the Game 1 loss against the Bruins in the conference semifinals by winning the next four games. The issues that plagued the Lightning in Game 1 of that series were corrected. Trotz expected the Lightning to attack those issues Saturday during its film study and practice.
"They're going to have some desperation in their game, and we have to have some desperation in ours," he said.
"Each win isn't the mountaintop. Each loss isn't the earth opening and swallowing you," writes @mjfennelly . It just looks that way from here. https://t.co/VtHXgCP5ss @TBLightning @Capitals #GoBolts #Capitals @NHL pic.twitter.com/COWXWwMvIM— TampaBayTimesSports (@TBTimes_Sports) May 12, 2018
This is your wake-up call
Lightning C Brayden Point was asked Saturday if it is easier move forward after a loss when the team played poorly than a game where it played well.
No, Point said.
"I think you can feel better about a game where you don't get the result but played well," Point said. "You can feel good about the way you played and look back at it and say, 'Hey we had some chances that didn't go in or what not,' but when you play like the way we did and they show up and won the way they did, it's kind of a wake-up call that we're playing a really good hockey team and we've got to sharpen up if we're going to have a chance to win."
Capitals C Nicklas Backstrom (right hand) skated Saturday. Trotz said Backstrom is "day-to-day," he added he is optimistic Backstrom will play in this series.
Backstrom, who missed the Caps last two games, is third on the team with 13 (three goals) this postseason.
For the Lightning, D Anton Stralman and C Cedric Paquette did not practice Saturday. Coach Jon Cooper said both are expected to play tonight.
Contact Roger Mooney at [email protected]. Follow @rogermooney50