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.
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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