Barry Trotz "optimistic" about a Backstrom return in these playoffs

Barry Trotz

The atmosphere inside Amalie Arena went from insane to calm.

National Hockey League playoff action on Sunday evening and we will see the Washington Capitals grapple with the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena in game two of their best-of-seven series. "All areas of our game needs improvement". The Washington Capitals are averaging 3.1 goals per game and are scoring on 22.5 percent of their power play opportunities.

It started with their forecheck, which was aggressive and fast and helped them win four in a row against the Boston Bruins in the second round.

"You've got to bring it", Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. The Vegas Golden Knights, in their first-ever season, have made it to the conference finals. They had two shots on goal in the first period and 10 after two.

In the end, it wasn't the Capitals coasting into Game 1 on the good vibes of the previous round, not exhibiting the levels of competitive ferocity to win this playoff game. They have a really good team and they've always had a good team. But this year, they did. "For us, we've got to keep them under pressure and it starts with that first forechecker being hard". It finished the period with just two. And while he's been inspired by other Russian players - especially teammates Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy - no one has had more influence on his game than Ovechkin.

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And Kucherov was the sixth guy. The goal was waved off, and Kucherov headed to the penalty box.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev grew up watching highlight tapes of Alex Ovechkin. It was quite the turnaround, but Stamkos said it was not the play the broke the Lightning's back.

Washington went ahead 3-0 less than three minutes into the second period when Jay Beagle found the back of the net. Instead of a Lightning player getting a stick on the puck, it was a Cap. "Capitals" to 27 minutes, scored four unanswered goals and kept the extracted advantage.

The Lightning scored twice in the third. The Capitals have already exposed some of Tampa's costly missteps and have managed to deny the Bolts the space that they devastate opponents with. Just look at their second goal.

But that was as close as the Lightning would get.

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"It's a little bit of a chess match", Carlson said. Stamkos said there were no excuses for coming out flat in game one after a long layoff between series. The Caps had one fewer day off after slaying the Penguins.

The Capitals said they can't afford a drop-off in performance.

Coach Barry Trotz, mindful that Tampa Bay lost Game 1 of its second-round series 6-2 to Boston only to storm back and win four straight games, reiterated it won't be easy to build off the Caps' success in the opener.

Andre Burakovsky - The Capitals winger returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury in Game Two of the first-round series against Columbus. But that did not show up on the ice in either game. "We've been in this situation before unfortunately".

That being said, the Lightning don't necessarily expect that they will be able to roll over the Capitals just because they did the same against the Bruins.

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