A 4-2 final score in Game 1 looks close, but the game felt anything but.
The Washington Capitals were all over the Tampa Bay Lightning as they took a 4-0 lead through the first 40 minutes and cruised to the 4-2 win on Friday night in Tampa, Fla.
Here’s how the Caps took Game 1 of the 2018 Eastern Conference Final.
3 Reasons why the Capitals beat the Lightning in Game 1
1. A two-goal swing in the first period
Washington went up 1-0 off a goal from Michal Kempny, but the game really turned thanks to a bizarre sequence at the end of the first period that saw the Caps take a 2-0 lead to the locker room.
It looked like Nikita Kucherov had tied the game at 1 with a breakaway goal with just eight seconds remaining, but it was waved off as the Lightning were caught with six skaters on the ice. That gave Washington an offensive zone draw. T.J. Oshie won the draw to Evgeny Kuznetsov who fed it to Alex Ovechkin for the one-time shot and goal.
Seeing the score go from 1-1 to 2-0 was a dagger to the heat of the Lightning.
You can read more on the play here.
2. Shots on goal
How do you keep Tampa's offense from scoring? Don’t let them get pucks to the net.
Washington limited the Lightning to just two shots on goal in the first period and 10 through 40 minutes. They rallied a bit in the third, but for the game they mustered only 21 total shots on goal.
The total shot attempts, however, was much more even at 58-52 in favor of Washington. The Caps simply would not let Tmap get any pucks through to Braden Holtby as they blocked 19 shots and forced another 12 wide. That is great team defense.
3. The power play
The Lightning’s penalty kill was a clear weakness heading into the series killing off only 74.2-percent of the power plays they faced. The Caps took advantage in Game 1 going 2 of 4 on the night. They scored on two of the three opportunities they had in the first 40 minutes when the game was still in doubt. The other penalty came in the third after Washington seemed to take their foot off the gas.
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After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.
Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother.
Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.
After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth.
The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.
She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.
Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!
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Say it ain't so.
Mitchell Gibson is the first goalie the Capitals have drafted since Ilya Samsonov in 2015, but they may be thinking twice about their selection after a recent shocking interview.
Gibson spoke with a local Philadelphia CBS station and revealed that both he and his family...are Flyers fans.
Insert dramatic music.
"I think my family will always be Flyers fans in their hearts and I guess I will be a little bit," Gibson admitted, hopefully with guilt in his voice.
Gibson was selected by the Caps in the fourth round of the 2018 draft, but clearly the scouts did not do their homework. It's as if Gibson grew up a hockey fan in a place like Phoenixville, Pa. (about an hour outside of Philadelphia) without anticipating the future that he may one day be drafted by a rival team like Washington.
The young netminder tried to make up for his horrifying admission later in the interview.
"The Capitals are definitely treating me well right now so I would like to be their goalie," he said.
A likely story.
Gibson is only 19 and set to begin his first collegiate season at Harvard in 2018 so at least there is still time for Gibson to overcome his shameful past. And hey, it could always be worse. At least he's not a Penguins fan.
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