Published: Sun, May 13, 2018
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Capitals beat Lightning in Game 1

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Capitals beat Lightning in Game 1

If you ask fellow Lightning forward, Tyler Johnson, it was far from great.

Despite Backstrom's absence, the Capitals opened with a 4-2 win over the top-seeded Lightning.

Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov were expected to be the big playmakers in this series, but it was Ovechkin who set the tone in this game with his brilliant performance. For as bad, and as slow, as the Lightning was playing, it was still only down one.

If you thought the Capitals would not be ready mentally for the Eastern Conference Final after an emotional win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, you were wrong. They rebounded from a lopsided Game 1 loss at home to Boston by winning four straight to advance to the conference finals for the third time in four years.

"We were six men by a mile, so I don't think anyone was too fired up about the goal".

"For the most part that's the best we played through the neutral zone", said Capitals defenseman John Carlson. "Obviously we wanted to go after them in the first period".

There were a couple encouraging aspects of the Game 1 loss for the Lightning, though you have to look hard to find them. Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat tried to spark a third period comeback, but it never really got going. Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed four goals on 25 shots. I think this whole playoffs we went out there with an attack mentality.

The Stanley Cup Final is the NHL's signature event, and with the Eastern Conference Final underway and the Western Conference Final starting Saturday, the championship round is within sight. "We all watched the tape we had a good solid practice today and the response level needs to be there [Sunday]".

Added Lightning winger Ryan Callahan: "We've just got to put it behind us". "Any time you give up a goal like that, it gives momentum to the other team". "We're gonna keep going here". "In hindsight, we were in this same position in the last round and found a way to respond".

Noon - Injuries to Nicklas Backstrom (hand) and Andre Burakovsky (upper body) were the topics of discussion during the Capitals' morning skate and both are game-time decisions, according to coach Barry Trotz. "It had been blown dead for a while", Stamkos said. We've been in this situation before, unfortunately. "It just creates a better vibe".

The Golden Knights have surprised everyone this year, and they should not be underestimated.

Livestream every single game of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs-blackout free-plus the Toronto Blue Jays, key Raptors & NBA Playoffs matchups and the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup, all in one subscription.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are not messing around. At the start of Friday's game, the giant jumbotron at Amalie Arena displayed: "We're back". Even that's a bit misleading as over half the Tampa Bay shots came when they were down 4-0 in the third.

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