NHL Eastern Conference Semifinals: Capitals Machine Arrives, Lightning Still Win

JC De La TorreAnalyst IIIMay 2, 2011

Vincent Lecavalier and the Lightning celebrate his OT game winner
Vincent Lecavalier and the Lightning celebrate his OT game winnerGreg Fiume/Getty Images

So that's what Lightning coach Guy Boucher meant when he called the Washington Capitals a hockey machine. The Caps threw everything they had against the Bolts but in the end still found themselves on the losing end of a 3-2 overtime score.

The star of the game was without question Lightning netminder Dwayne Roloson, who kept his hockey team in the game while the Caps pressured relentlessly. At the end of two periods, Washington had out-shot the Bolts 27-9 but were stalemated at a goal a piece.

"He (Roloson) is the most important player on this team," wing Marty St. Louis told the St. Pete Times

Much of the shot differential was due to the rapid succession of penalties made by the Lightning in the first half of the game. Of course, it seems the Bolts have you right where they want you when they go on the man advantage as they again killed all six Caps power plays and are now an unreal 45-of-46 on the kill in the playoffs.

Vincent Lecavalier scored two goals for the Lightning, while Martin St. Louis got a goal and assist.

Game 2 certainly marked a turning point in the effort of the Caps—at least for two periods of play. Washington did what they couldn't do in Game 1, winning the one-on-one battles for the loose puck and sustaining wave after wave of shots in the Lightning zone. 

Tampa Bay stayed patient, playing their game and relieved the pressure whenever they could. Lecavalier launched a blistering shot to score on the power play late in the first period to edge the Lightning ahead 1-0.

The teams exchanged goals in the second and early third, setting up Alexander Ovechkin's dramatic game-tying goal with 1:07 left in regulation that had everyone on the edge of their seats.

Fortunately for Tampa Bay, the machine caught a rut in overtime—a bad change set up a two-on-one with Teddy Purcell and Lecavalier. Purcell got the puck over to Vinny who buried it for the crucial win.

"I came on to the ice and I saw that Teddy was going to get the loose puck, so I was just hoping he would get the puck by the defenseman, and he did,'' Lecavalier told the Tampa Tribune. "I was trying to go high on (goaltender Michal Neuvirth). He got me last game when I tried to go through his legs, and he's so good down low, I felt if I could put it high I might have a chance and it went in.''

And with that goal, the series is now David 2, Goliath 0.

While pundits will wonder how the playoff-wilting Capitals will recover, the Lightning know all too well that although you're down a couple games in the series, it's far from over.

"It's a great feeling to win those two games," St. Louis told the associated press, "but we haven't done anything yet."