Capitals (48-23-11, 107 Points, 1st East) at Lightning (46-25-11, 103 Points, 5th East)
Eastern Conference Semifinals:Tampa Bay leads 2-0.
Regular Season Series: Washington took the first two meetings of the regular season, scoring six goals in each, before the Lightning evened the season series with consecutive victories, both by way of shutouts. The Capitals won each of the final two meetings of the regular campaign, including one in a shootout to conclude the regular season series.
The Big Story: Tampa Bay stole Game 1 at the Verizon Center Friday night and Vincent Lecavalier gave the Bolts a two-games-to-none series lead with his overtime winner in the second game on Sunday, as the Lightning come home tonight with a chance to wrap up the series in front of their fans pending a pair of wins on consecutive nights. The team’s recent play leaves a good chance of that happening as well, as the Lightning come into tonight’s Game 3 on a five-game win streak.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay finds itself in a good position following two straight road victories in the nation’s capital, as it returns home tonight with a 2-0 series lead and two to play in front of their home crowd. The Bolts relentless effort paid off Sunday night, as Vincent Lecavalier scored his second of two on the night to put Washington away in overtime after Alex Ovechkin tied it with just 1:08 remaining in regulation. Martin St. Louis also scored and Dwayne Roloson made 35 saves for Tampa Bay, who tied a franchise record for most consecutive road wins in a single postseason at five games. Tampa Bay’s penalty killing unit also eliminated all six Washington power play chances on Sunday and has now gone 45-for-46 in the playoffs, including an 11-for-11 streak in this series alone coming into tonight.
CAPITALS – Washington will play the first of two games on back-to-back nights in Tampa Bay this evening. Prior to the start of Sunday’s Game 2, Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said he expected Washington to come out strong after dropping Game 1 of the series on home ice in front of their fans. Boucher very well can expect that again, as Washington, now down two-games-to-none, is all but desperate to win a game, which would thus allow them to shift the series back to the Verizon Center for Game 5. After eliminating the New York Rangers in five games, including winning three of those games at home and going undefeated at the Verizon Center in the postseason, Washington has now lost two straight in its home arena, which doesn’t bode well should the series head back to the nation’s capital for Game 5.
Who’s Hot: Sean Bergenheim had a five-game point streak snapped Sunday, but nonetheless comes in with points in all but one of his past six games, including four goals in that span. Teddy Purcell also has eight points in his past six games, while Vincent Lecavalier has two goals and two assists in his past three contests. Washington’s Alex Ovechkin has three points in as many games, while Brooks Laich has a goal and four assists in his past four contests.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Simon Gagne (upper body, day-to-day) and Pavel Kubina (upper body, day-to-day). CAPITALS – Tom Poti (groin) and Dennis Wideman (leg).
Notable Quotable: “What happens in the past is in the past. We have to focus on our next game. We got two lucky wins here. Hopefully, we can go home and try to push them back a little bit. They’re too hard of a team to keep away and they generate a lot of offense and are hard to contain. They just keep coming at us.” – Dwayne Roloson, on what to expect in Game 3.