Tampa Bay 'can't keep playing with fire,' says Lightning head coach

A brutal swing for Tampa Bay, but a lovely one for Ovi and the Caps. That is how Lightning coach Jon Cooper views Andrei Vasilevskiy's performance in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final.

Following an emotional second-round series win against the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this week - the first time that Ovechkin had gained the upper hand on Sidney Crosby - the talk had been about how the Capitals might have emptied the tank.

Buuuuut, there is some optimism and comparables with this Tampa Bay team 2-years ago and the Blackhawks last year.

"It's unfortunate how we played a couple of these Game 1s in the last couple of rounds, (and) dug ourselves a small hole this series", the coach said after a workout Saturday at the team's suburban practice facility. But we can't keep playing with fire and dropping these Game 1s, which we've done.

Sergachev made his National Hockey League debut last season with the Montreal Canadiens, playing in four games before returning to the junior-club level for further development. "When you do this, you give yourself zero chance to win". You got to go win games on the road, which you have to do anyway in the playoffs, but your margin for error gets smaller and smaller. He's going to have to be that good or better for the Capitals to have a real strong chance in this series.

"We didn't give them much", Ovechkin said. The Bolts will have to repeat the script from their second-round series against the Boston Bruins, in which they lost Game 1, to draw even against the Capitals, or else this could be a surprisingly short series.

Not only did the Washington Capitals end a 20-year drought, but they also snapped an 0-11 conference championship appearance streak for all Washington major sports teams (Redskins, Nationals, Wizards and Capitals) in elimination/close-out games. "I thought a lot of their opportunities we just handed to them, and a lot of our opportunities were stomped out just by our not sticking to our plan of what's worked".

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The Capitals are making their first conference finals appearance in the Alexander Ovechkin era (2004 to the present). Washington won the Metropolitan Division and knocked off the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round.

The Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lighting meet Sunday for game two of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals at the Amalie Arena. I think we're playing the full 200 feet that you need to play at playoff time and you're getting the goaltending you need and you're getting the commitment and you're getting the work ethic and you're getting the discipline and detail.

If the Predators close out the Jets Thursday, they should be in good position to contend against Vegas with their home-ice advantage restored and big-game experience flowing through their veins.

Almost seven minutes through the second, the Capitals scored its second power-play goal off an Eller rebound, taking a 4-0 lead. The first time they found the back of the net the result was a no-goal and a too-many men penalty. The Hawks can emulate that style and smart moves this summer to get back into contention, just don't expect it to be as seamless as the Lightning revival this year. I can't see this series going less than six games since the Jets finished second in the west with 114 points, and the Knights right behind them with 109 points. Well, very different situations in my opinion as the Lightning at better situated with the cap as well as their farm system is lights out right now - kudos to their scouting team!

The second was a power-play goal from the high slot in Game 1 of the second round against the Boston Bruins. They have a really good team and they've always had a good team.

Fans are coming together to support the Capitals going on to the third round and seeking the Stanley Cup.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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