Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning beats Washington Capitals 4-2 in Game 1 of Eastern Conference semis

WASHINGTON — If there ever was a time the Lightning could have folded, Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal against the Capitals was it.

With a bench shortened by the losses of left wing Simon Gagne and defenseman Pavel Kubina to possible concussions, the team was depleted.

Playing on two days of rest after a seven-game series with the Penguins, it was exhausted.

What it was not was defeated. The Lightning earned a gratifying 4-2 victory Friday night at the Verizon Center.

"The players," coach Guy Boucher said, "gave beyond what they can give in this game."

The turning point was 3 minutes, 11 seconds of the second period in which Steve Downie and Steven Stamkos scored to overcome a 2-1 deficit.

Downie scored when the puck deflected past goalie Michal Neuvirth off the stick of defenseman Scott Hannan. Stamkos, on the power play, gave Tampa Bay the lead with 31.6 seconds left.

"That was huge," he said. "It swung the momentum a little bit. Those goals are always killers to give up."

Sean Bergenheim scored. Dominic Moore had an empty-netter with 40 seconds left, goaltender Dwayne Roloson made 26 saves, including 14 in the first period, and the penalty kill was 5-for-5 and is 39-for-40 in the playoffs.

But the story for Tampa Bay was its response to adversity.

First it was Gagne, who seemed to be briefly knocked unconscious 7:22 into the first period when his head hit the ice after a Hannan check in the corner. A stretcher was brought out, but Gagne skated off the ice with help.

Then it was Kubina, whose head hit the glass with 2:00 left in the second period because of a check from Justin Chimera, whose roughing call led to Stamkos' goal.

"For us, they're not numbers; they're people," Boucher said of his players. "The first thing that comes to mind is not that I lost a player, but I hope his health is okay."

Still, there were practical consequences.

When Gagne went down, the Lightning, which began with 11 forwards instead of the usual 12 — a tactical maneuver by Boucher — was down to 10. That's a lot of extra ice time to divide up. Boucher said players kept shifts short as 20 seconds to conserve energy.

"It was very tight," Boucher said, "and very exhausting for our players."

"We tried to be aware," Stamkos said. "We had to manage the puck and apply pressure in their zone and give our defense a chance to change."

The team also didn't panic, even after the Capitals took a 2-1 lead on goals helped by Lightning mistakes.

Brett Clark's defensive-zone giveaway led to Alexander Semin's goal that beat Roloson five-hole and tied the score 1-1 4:08 into the first period.

Eric Fehr gave Washington a 2-1 lead 1:51 into the second when no one picked up the puck after Vinny Lecavalier won a defensive-zone faceoff and defenseman Eric Brewer abandoned Fehr in front of the net.

It was the Capitals who then got away from their structure and began playing what coach Bruce Boudreau called "river hockey" and left wing Alex Ovechkin called "too cute."

"They make it frustrating," Boudreau said of playing catchup against the Lightning. "They just hang back. You're trying to push."

But the Lightning kept pushing back.

Tampa Bay Lightning beats Washington Capitals 4-2 in Game 1 of Eastern Conference semis 04/29/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 30, 2011 1:00am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead

    College

    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
  2. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated

    College

    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  3. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person

    College

    TAMPA

    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  4. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    The Rays still talk about having a shot to make the playoffs. But recognizing and correcting mistakes will help them next year, such as Mallex Smith trying to steal third in the first. "Those are the little things we've got to find how to eliminate real quick," manager Kevin Cash said.