Friday, April 29, 2011 8:15 p.m.
By Joe Beninati
Bummed you can't hear Joe Beninati's call of Game 1? No worries, Joe B. will be blogging LIVE from Verizon Center as the Capitals open up their second-round series against Tampa Bay.
From the top row of the press box, heres my bullet-point of view of Game 1 between Washington and Tampa Bay:
Verizon Center as Red as can be!! Fans carrying red thunderstick noisemakersMichal Neuvirth introduction shakes the roof!
Ryan Malone should have had a tap-in in first 50 seconds, after a Scott Hannan turnover
Steven Stamkos first shot attempt blocked by Karl Alzner that will be an important showdown throughout this series.
Lightning converge on the net with a lot of force; Sean Bergenheim, Steve Downie, and Dominic Moore with a terrific shift
Bergenheim scores from point-blank range after Neuvirth made strong stop on Downie walking across the crease.
Caps back on their heels in first three minutes, dont like their energy level.
Tampa 1-3-1 passive fore-check showing its teeth, Caps must not pass puck casually through the middle-- it will lead to counterattacks that are lifeblood for Lightning.
Alex Semin with a powerful wrist shot that squirts through 41-year old Dwayne Roloson in goal. Semin has scored 8 times v TB this year including his work in regular season.
Tied up at one and still not 5 minutes into the game.
Matt Hendricks, Boyd Gordon and Matt Bradley play with a pack mentality, fun to watch them crash and bang out there.
Hannan puts strong check on Simon Gagne in the corner. The winger was turning with the puck when Hannan took him to the glass, it was not blindside, and there was no penalty called. Gagnes head slammed against the ice upon his fall, not good for a player who has a history of head and neck injuries. Gagne goes straight to dressing room for inspection and quiet time.
Jeff Schultz called for delay of game penalty, puck appeared to have grazed the glass before exiting the rink which would have negated the penalty .
Strong PK by the Caps, very few chances for Bolts power play which was very good v Pittsburgh
Roloson struggling with rebound control, Laich has one kick in off his skate, this one will not count in my opinion
The positive to take from the whole exchange is that Roloson is not nearly as sharp with his rebound control so far tonight as he was against Pittsburgh. Put pucks on net and good things will happen.
Steve Downie, playing the role of Sean Avery in this series, tries to stir it up with Jon Erskine, takes an unnecessary penalty for elbowing
Semin with a sublime catch of a pass with his skate and then fires a snapshot off the post, amazing skill level.
Power-play chances picking up, Laich with another opportunity on the rebound. Hes going to get a goal this evening.
Neuvirth makes a big save on Bergenheim with just 1:38 to go in opening period, good blocker save on a guy who has caught fire in playoffs.
1-1 after one. Caps outshoot Lightning 14-9 in first period. Tampa Bay did not outshoot the Penguins in any of their seven games.
Gagne has not returned. Reports are that he is alert in the dressing room. He is done for the night and will be re-evaluated in the morning. Thats a tough loss for Tampa. Simon is one dangerous player in the clutch at playoff time.
Nice hustle by Jason Chimera off a faceoff that was controlled by Vincent LeCavalier. The gritty winger beat his defender to the puck, then connected with Eric Fehr, who chips one over Rolosons glove at 1:51. 2-1 Caps
Neuvirth fashy glove save on a bullet from Ryan Malone.
Arnott so close to finishing a long-side rebound off Rolosons glove, but netminder covers in time.
With Caps a man down, Neuvirth stones Lecavalier eye-to-eye at top of the crease. Pretty passing play sets it up, Stamkos is such a smooth and fluid skater, you have to get in his way early.
Roloson makes a brilliant stop on Ovechkin, not bad for a 41-year-old. He powered his way across the crease the way the young kids 20 years his junior do it.
Backstrom had a chance right at the post, after the initial save on OV, but a bouncing puck would not cooperate.
After an interference call on Hendricks, Johansson and Backstrom race up ice shorthanded and draw a penalty on Pavel Kubina. Time for some extended 4-on-4 play.
Neuvirth makes initial sprawling save on Nate Thompson, loses his stick as play continues, then gets back up in time to bear hug a shot from the point.
TSN and Versus cameras catch John Carlson ailing on the Caps bench.
Carlson leaves for dressing with 3:40 left in period.
Downie gets credit for tying goal, an innocent backhand that deflects in off Hannan and past Neuvirth. 2-2
Chimera gets flagged for roughing Kubina, borderline call. It was bit too high on the neck and head, critical PK late on period.
Stamkos left unguarded, pots a rebound goal with just 32 seconds left in frame. Eric Brewer rotates in from point to start the sequence.
Lightning cash in twice in the last 3:50 of the period to take a 3-2 lead. Tampa Bay was a perfect 4-0 when leading after two periods against Pittsburgh.
Carlson, the young ace on the blueline, has returned, takes a short opening shift, didnt look comfortable
Neuvirth with must-have stops on Stamkos and then Malone in first 3 minutes of third
Long-time stalwart Mattias Ohlund with a steady poke check to thwart an Ovechkin rush and toe-drag move
8 hasnt really gone full-throttle yet tonight
Green playing together with Alzner,Carlson in pain on the bench
Brett Clark, 2 for holding the stick,Caps PP with chance to tie
Man advantage fizzles, not much pressure at all, TB space-eaters Brewer and Ohlund make a difference
Backstrom is a glider, not a burner like Johansson but both are dangerous in their own way
Nick pushed a one-time feed from Ovechkin wide of the goal, really good chance there
8 minutes left in 3rd period, Verizon Center crowd nervously watching Bolts keeping Caps on the perimeter
6:19 left when the UNLEASH THE FURY SIRENS BLARE
Teddy Purcell takes a hooking call with 5:58 to go; will PP deliver?
Roloson makes good squeeze on Backstrom blast, those first period rebound issues solved for the moment
Consecutive offsides calls nullify good-looking break-ins to the offensive zone
Semin with a rocket that Roloson manages to collar.
2:08 left in 3rd period Neuvirth looking to bench for instructions on when to come out for extra skater.
Tampa Bay calls time-out
6 attackers on for Caps with 1 minute to go
Dominic Moore, the man who hurt Washington gravely last spring with Montreal, hustles to beat Ovechkin to the post and taps-in the insurance goal
Lightning win 4-2, take away Washington home-ice advantage in the process. Tampa beat the Penguins three times in Consol Energy Center, and they start well in DC tonight.