Capitals show no emotional letdown, take care of Lightning in Game 1

NHL Playoffs 2018: Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom, Andre Burakovsky game-time decisions for Game 1 against Lightning

"Washington" and "Tampa" began to challenge the ticket to the Stanley Cup finals.

But the party had to end.

During the postseason, Tampa Bay ranks 5th in the league in scoring at 3.36 gpg, while also ranking 11th in shots taken (31.2 spg) and 3rd in power play conversions, converting on 26.6% of their chances.

The Capitals captain, a Stanley Cup semifinalist for the first time in his career, finally will get a taste of the conference finals Friday night in Game 1 against the favored Lightning (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, Sportsnet, CBC). "Obviously, there was a lot of emotions through our locker room after that series win".

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

Goaltender Braden Holtby made 19 stops for Washington, facing a meager two shots in the first period from the lackluster Lightning team. But that changes on the power play, Carlson said. "And it did tonight".

The Capitals believed the swing had affected the Lightning, even if the Lightning never really believed that the Kucherov goal would count.

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Michal Kempny scored his first career playoff goal to put the Caps up 1-0 then a freakish sequence at the end of the first period ended with a Nikita Kucherov goal being disallowed followed by a quick goal from Alex Ovechkin with just six seconds left.

"We were six men by a mile, so I don't think anyone was too fired up with the goal", said Lightning forward Steven Stamkos. Even in the third period, the Caps did a good job, only getting outshot 11-7 despite having a four-goal lead.

With 7.1 seconds left in the first period, the Capitals were given a power play, an offensive zone faceoff at the right circle.

"It's tough, especially when there is not much time left in the period". They had killed off just 74.2 percent of their penalties in the first two rounds, and finished 28th in the regular season on the kill. "The crowd was kind of stunned a little bit".

Washington now leads Tampa 1-0 in the series. Hear all the highlights of Game 1 with John Walton on the call alongside Ken Sabourin on the Capitals Radio Network.

The Jets won three of four games in Nashville in their second-round series, and this team is rolling. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was pulled after surrendered four goals on 25 shots.

"For whatever reason they were quicker to the pucks, better disciplined and better on special teams and that is a good recipe for success", Canadian forward Stamkos said. "Everybody was paying the price". Washington has scored first in 10 of its 13 playoffs games so far this year. "We were just a step behind on our reads today". I'm not trying to take anything from Washington.

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