"Our power play struck right away so really gave us some breathing room", Capitals Coach Barry Trotz said. If the top pairings cancel out the top-sixes, a goal from the likes of Washington's Brett Connolly or Tampa Bay's Anthony Cirelli could be huge. And, as has been their trademark throughout this playoff season, they defended extremely well in their own end in front of goalie Braden Holtby. As if stopping Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov with any consistency isn't hard enough, the play of Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and J.T. Miller through the first two rounds of the post-season gives reason to believe the entire Lightning top-six will give even the best of defensive units fits. At nearly every turn in the first two periods, the Capitals had an answer for the Bolts. Both of Oshie's assists came on the power play, as he helped set up Alex Ovechkin's first-period goal (2-0) and Lars Eller's tally in the second frame (4-0).
Holtby lost his shutout when Stamkos, assisted by Kucherov and Victor Hedman, scored at 3:45 of the third.
Palat beat Holtby short side with 6:57 remaining, getting the Bolts within two goals, but that was as close as they would get. It's 4-0 at 6:42. The referees got together and found out the Lightning had six players on the ice at the time of the goal.
Tampa Bay's special teams problems continued Friday.
The Capitals' Michal Kempny started the scoring 7:28 into the first period.
"It is just one game", Cooper said. However, the goal was waved off after a replay. On the ensuing faceoff, Ovechkin wired a quick pass from Kuznetsov past a stunned Vasilevskiy with 5.3 seconds to go in the first.
When Tampa needed a goal late, they could not find it. Washington did not allow a shot on goal in the final three minutes of the game.
It was the Capitals' first appearance in the conference final since 1998, but they - not the Lightning - looked like the team playing in their third conference final in the past four years. "I thought the second period we did sort of carry on what we did in the first". To show Washington's domination, 11 others were blocked and five missed the net. The sellout streak is at 155 games. He provided a screen on the first goal, scored the second on an absolute rocket, and then picked up an assist on the fourth. LW Andre Burakovsky (upper-body injury) returned to the lineup. I'm expecting a better peformance from the Lightning here and wouldn't be shocked if they get the victory.