Another tight game. A game the Washington Capitals had prepared for since mid-December, when coach Bruce Boudreau overhauled the Capitals style of play. The Caps limited the Tamp Bay Lightening to just 23 shots in over 66 minutes. Limiting shot attempts is the recipe for success within the Caps system.
The Caps even rallied to score the game tying goal, late in the third. With Michal Neuvirth on the bench for the extra attacker, Alex Ovechkin drove to the net and knocked home the game tying goal with 1:08 remaining. Experienced playoff veteran, Jason Arnott, centered the puck to Ovi as he inched in from the high slot – completely unaccounted for.
I’ve questioned the Cap’s ability to withstand playoff pressure in their new system. It’s not playoff tested… but until the series with Tampa, all looked very good! So what’s changed? Well, the Lightening’s playoff veterans are showing the Caps how to win of the road and how to win tight games. Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier take full advantage of mistakes. Their counter-punching style of play is very opportunistic.
St. Louis assisted on Lecavalier’s first goal – a dagger of a slap shot form his off wing during a power play. St. Louis scored in the third period, to put the Bolts up 2-1. And, of course, Lecavalier scored the game winner, capitalizing on a terrible line change.
In over-time, Tampa’s Randy Jones picked up a loose puck at his own goal line, and shoveled it off the boards, only to hit Teddy Purcell in stride at the Cap’s blue line. As Purcell collected the puck, Lecavalier was streaking down the right side – alone. John Carlson had been on a long shift and needed to get off the ice, but Scott Hannan decided he’d follow Carlson to the bench, leaving no defenseman back for Jone’s 2/3 ice pass. Mike Green got over to put token pressure on Purcell, but his backhand pass lead Lecavalier perfectly – while all alone, Neuvirth was left to watch Lecavalier get mobbed by his teammates.
About the Author
Written by Dennis Patchett
Huge NHL and soccer fan! Love Columbus, Ohio sports! Buckeyes, Crew, Blue Jackets! Also, the Washington Capitals are my new adopted NHL team!