Washington Capitals Win Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals

Washington Capitals Win Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals

"All four lines played well in the first period and we need to do the same in the next game and the rest of the series".

But instead of resting on the accomplishment and acting like "second-round champions", the Capitals played like a team with designs on the Stanley Cup in a 4-2 trouncing of Tampa in Game 1 of the East finals on Friday night.

Said goaltender Braden Holtby: "We know probably better than anyone how complete a player Nick is, especially defensively". You enjoy it for a couple days.

The Capitals played perhaps their best defensive game of the playoffs.

Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed four goals and was pulled after two periods.

"I think it's we realized we just have to play our way", the Washington captain added. "We've got to go out and deserve a win [Sunday]". It's paid dividends for us.

The Tampa Bay Lightning did not take enough shots in Game 1. Early in the third period Steven Stamkos got the Lightning on the board with a power-play goal. Five seconds later Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin scored to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead heading into the second period. "Hit a guy that is open right in front of you, make the simple play, get pucks deep and use our speed on the forecheck to create some havoc", McDonagh says. Instead of making simple plays and getting pucks on net, they looked for the flawless shots. "The crowd was kind of stunned a little bit". Jay Beagle and Lars Eller extended the lead in the second and the Caps held on to take a 1-0 series lead. Hear all the highlights of Game 1 with John Walton on the call alongside Ken Sabourin on the Capitals Radio Network. After all, they were in this same boat last series against Boston, before rattling off four straight wins to get here. Defensively, the Tampa Bay Lighting are allowing 2.9 goals per game and are killing 76.1 percent of their opponents power plays.

There were questions concerning which Capitals team the Lightning would face: one suffering an emotional letdown after finally beating the Penguins to the conference final or one who would use the energy from slaying that playoff dragon to continue its quest for the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Washington spent two flawlessly the start of the period and has naturally selected the "Tampa" home ice advantage. "Everybody was all in, and everybody was paying the price".

"We had a good start".

"We're in the conference final". I'm not trying to take anything from Washington.

"That's a good hockey team over there who outplayed us tonight", Stamkos said.

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