What the Lightning must do to get back in the series
It happened again after getting assurances from everyone that the effort would be better in this game 1 than the previous game 1 effort against Boston.
The Lightning came out flatter than a pancake in game 1 Friday night against Washington and were steamrolled, embarrassed, whatever you want to call it by the Capitals 4-2.
The first thing this team has to do is generate some offense. You probably could have put a rec team out there against the Capitals and put up two shots on goal In the first period This from a team that led the league in scoring during the regular season and is second so far in the playoffs.
Enough of the cute passes, Somebody please shoot the puck. You can’t score if you don’t shoot. The Lightning did’nt figure this out until the third period when they outshot the Capitals 11-7.
The second part of the game that was missing against the Capitals was the physical part of the game. In the Boston series Kucherov, Stamkos, Miller, Callahan, anybody and everybody was putting a hit on someone sending a message that you were going to earn everything you got.
As Cooper so eloquently put it in his post game press conference, They were playing game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, while the Lightning were playing Game 38 of the regular season.
There was no physicallity to the game on Friday and the lightning must play with more of a physical presence to turn this series around.
Third, the lightning must slow down Alex Ovechkin and keep him in check. In Game 1 Ovechkin was allowed to do whatever he wanted to do. No one on the Lightning stepped up to challenge him in any way and he burned the Lightning for 1G and 2A. Keep Ovechkin in check and you have a pretty good chance of winning the game.
Fourth the lightning must get back to the forechecking game that worked so well against Boston creating a lot of havoc and turnovers. The forecheck was none existent till the third period and by that point Washington had a 4-0 lead and was already thinking about game 2.
The Capitals are a better team than the Bruins. The power play is better, their team speed is better, and like the lightning they have 2-3 lines that can score on you.
I still think that when the Lightning get their game going, it will be very easy to get Washington off their game, especially Ovechkin and Holtby. This is new territory for this Capitals team. As a group they have just over 35 games of Conference Finals experience compared to 200 plus for the Lightning.
As the series goes deeper, I think you will see the experience of the Lightning come into play.
Why does the lightning seem to lay an egg in the first game of these playoff series? No one knows or it would have been fixed after the Boston Series.
I think the Lightning come out with a great effort tonight against the Capitals and win this game and will head to Washington tied 1-1 with game 3 on Tuesday Night.