Washington absolutely blew apart Tampa Bay early and cruised to a 4-2 win to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Michal Kempny scored his first career playoff goal to put the Caps up 1-0 then a bizarre 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.
Washington added two goals in the second period to extend their lead to 4-0 and it was a hole Tampa just could not climb out of.
Here are the three stars of the game.
3 Stars of Capitals vs. Lightning Game 1
1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin's one-timer with six seconds left in the first period to give the Caps a 2-0 lead was a dagger to the heart of the Lightning and the real turning point of the game.
Ovechkin also set up the screen that led to the first goal of the game by Michal Kempny and recorded an assist on Lars Eller’s power-play tally.
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.
2. Michal Kempny: Last season, Brian MacLellan went for the home run trade deadline acquisition with Kevin Shattenkirk. This time, the Caps general manager acquired a little-known defenseman from the Chicago Blackhawks named Michal Kempny and he has completely transformed the Capitals' defense.
Kempny was very strong in the defensive end and recorded two blocked shots. While no one can question the depth of Tampa's offense, Kempny's performance showed the Caps' defense is perhaps more formidable than many realized.
Where Kempny really dominated, however, was in the offensive zone. He fired four shots on goal, the second most on the team, and opened the scoring with a snapshot from the point for his first career playoff goal.
3. T.J. Oshie: Oshie recorded two assists in the game the first of which was a bit unexpected.
A too many men penalty to Tampa gave the Caps an offensive zone draw with just eight seconds remaining in the first period. The only real way Washington would have a chance to score was to win the draw. With the faceoff on the right, Oshie took the draw instead of center Evgeny Kuznetsov. It soon became clear why as Oshie immediately won the draw right, fed it to Kuznetsov who passed it quickly to Ovechkin for the one-timer.
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