The Washington Capitals did their best to take it to the Tampa Bay Lightning early in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal. The Capitals were physical, they pushed the tempo, and they got players to the net looking to get on the scoreboard first. But instead, Dwayne Roloson turned them away, and then Vincent Lecavalier’s power-play goal gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.
The Lightning took three straight penalties through the middle of the first period, including two that gave the Capitals almost four minutes of uninterrupted time on the power play. But Roloson stood tall and made a number of quality saves, including a left pad save on an Alex Ovechkin blast during Washington's third power-play opportunity.
Tampa Bay had very little offensive pressure for most of the first period. In fact, their best chance for the first 18 minutes was Sean Bergenheim breaking in short-handed after coming off the bench for Blair Jones and taking a stretch pass in alone. But Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth was there to make the stop.
Then in the final minute of the first period, after a high-sticking penalty by Ovechkin on Mattias Ohlund, the Lightning got the only goal of the period on the power play. During some sustained pressure by Tampa Bay, Ryan Malone was able to keep a play alive from his knees by chopping the puck over the back corner of the net to Lecavalier. He passed to Martin St. Louis, and then got it back for a one-timer laser beam that went over Neuvirth’s left shoulder and off the camera inside the goal.
The Lightning’s first-period lead is thanks entirely to their special-teams dominance. But they will need better five-on-five play in order to keep it.