Statistically Speaking: Capitals surprise Lightning in Game One

NHL: “Washington” has opened the account in a series with “Tampa”

The Eastern Conference Final is officially underway.

The Capitals got the 4-2 win Friday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. Defensively, the Tampa Bay Lighting are allowing 2.9 goals per game and are killing 76.1 percent of their opponents power plays.

The Caps were up 1-0 when Tampa Bay appeared to score. I think this whole playoffs we went out there with an attack mentality.

Winnipeg will host Vegas tonight in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

Almost seven minutes through the second, the Capitals scored its second power-play goal off an Eller rebound, taking a 4-0 lead.

After winning the Presidents' Trophy two years in a row by finishing with the best record in the NHL, the Washington Capitals were supposed to struggle this season - at least according to many hockey luminaries. The Capitals defeated the Lightning 4-2. There were six Tampa Bay skaters on the ice - for a while. The Lightning get the game's first power play with 2:26 to go in the first.

Stamkos said there were no excuses for coming out flat in Game 1 after a long layoff between series. They played with passion and intensity.

The Washington captain, who as the gap-toothed face of the franchise had probably worn the previous post-season disappointments more so than any other player, had one of his best games of this year's playoffs. Tampa came out and stole the momentum from the Capitals in the third period. He did a great job in Game 6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, being asked to take on the Evgeni Malkin line.

The Lightning, who began the third period with Louis Domingue replacing Vasilevskiy in net, got two quick goals. C Cédric Paquette blocked a shot on the right knee late in the second period, but stayed in the game. At even-strength, Eller was on the ice for 18 shot attempts for and 13 against, giving him a 58.06 percent CorsiFor percentage.

T.J. Oshie won the faceoff to the left of Vasilevskiy. If Eller can continue to win his battles, the Capitals might be able to pull off the upset even without Backstrom.

The sample size, obviously, is over a smaller number games, but defenseman John Carlson said there's a reason for the Capitals' improved percentage in the postseason: there's more time to study. He provided a screen on the first goal, scored the second on an absolute rocket, and then picked up an assist on the fourth. Instead of 1-1, the Capitals will take a 2-0 lead into intermission. But this year, they did. Alex Ovechkin leads Washington with nine goals, Nicklas Backstrom has 10 assists and Evgeny Kuznetsov has 45 shots on goal. Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed four goals on 25 shots. Instead of making simple plays and getting pucks on net, they looked for the ideal shots.

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