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Stanley Cup Daily 5/14: Capital Offense

Who are these guys and what have they done with the Washington Capitals?

Washington Capitals v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Two Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Each day during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Canes Country recaps the night before, previews the games for that night, and gives you game times and broadcast information.

Sunday’s Recap

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Capitals 6, Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (WAS leads series 2-0)

Very few would have predicted a two game sweep in Tampa from the visiting Washington Capitals, but the momentum earned from their cathartic victory over the Penguins in round two continues to propel the Capitals offense and they netted 10 goals en route to two massive wins to open the Eastern Conference Final, including a 6-2 bashing of the Bolts on Sunday night.

The Capitals again were able to get off to a quick start, this time provided by a beautiful deflection by Tom Wilson on a point shot that got the Caps off and running just 28 seconds into the game. Eventually that lead became a first period deficit, though, as the Lightning tucked away two power play goals, including one from Steven Stamkos that followed a high-sticking call against T.J. Oshie that should have been no call because it was the puck, not Oshie’s atick, that caught Victor Hedman. While building a 2-1 lead, the Lightning seemed to have accessed their offensive punch, which they so severely lacked in Game 1, but as it turned out the two power play goals would be all the offense the Bolts would generate.

Once the puck dropped for the second period, the utter dominance from Washington was on full display with the Caps outscoring the Lightning 5-0 over the last two stanzas. The equalizer was provided on a beautiful two-on-one that was finished off with a one-timer from Devante Smith-Pelly. When Lars Eller redirected a puck directly in front of the net to regain the Capitals lead with just over one minute left in the second, the Caps never looked back.

For the second consecutive game, the Capitals scored a back-breaking power play goal just before the end of a period as a pass from the corner by Evgeny Kuznetsov caromed into the net off Andrei Vasilevskiy to double the Caps lead at 4-2. The Caps attack continued to pour it on as Alex Ovechkin again found the back of the net and Brett Connolly provided the finishing touch in the 6-2 beat-down.

After having been completely outclassed twice on home ice, the Lightning must at least earn a split in D.C. to get the series back on home ice. Game 3 is as close to a must-win as you can have.

These two teams return to the ice in Washington on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. - Andy House

Monday’s Preview

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Vegas Golden Knights at Winnipeg Jets James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas Golden Knights at Winnipeg Jets (WPG leads 1-0)

8:00 p.m., NBCSN

  1. Crowd Control: Winnipeg’s white-out sell out crowds are formidable for opponents and once again proved to be an issue in Game 1. With the MTS Centre at it’s full 15,321 capacity, Winnipeg proves to be no shelter for the weary. Vegas became rattled early in the first period after Winnipeg’s three goal outburst. If the Golden Knights are to win Game 2, they must hope to control the crowd early by controlling the play from puck drop.
  2. Wheeling and Dealing: Blake Wheeler didn’t put one in the back of the net, but he was a big factor in Winnipeg’s Game 1 win. The captain had three assists, including the primary assist on a cross ice feed to Patrik Laine for a one timer. Wheeler’s magical season continues to roll along after a Hart Trophy worthy 91 point season. He has eight helpers in his last five games but hasn’t scored since his two goal performance in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals. His 19:46 TOI ranks higher than any of his previous playoff appearances and he’ll continue to be relied upon by Winnipeg in this series.
  3. Terrific Trio: Although the Golden Knights were on the wrong side of the scoreboard in Game 1, Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith played a role in the Vegas’ two tallies. Each of the three are averaging a point per game with Marchessault leading the trio with 13 points. The three are shifted more and spend more time on ice than any other Golden Knights forwards but more needs to be required from them to overcome the Jets’ Goliath-like offense. If secondary scoring does not step up, the trio has to up their game another level to avoid an end to an otherwise magical inaugural season. - Justin Lape