for this game

Stamkos, Lightning top Capitals in Game 1

Apr 30, 2011 - 3:37 AM
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Steven Stamkos scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period to help the Tampa Bay Lightning take a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Steve Downie had a goal and an assist while Sean Bergenheim and Dominic Moore also scored for the Lightning, who defeated the Penguins in the opening round after falling behind, 3-1, in the best-of-seven series.

Dwayne Roloson stopped 26 shots for Tampa Bay, which is attempting to advance to the conference finals for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2004.

"The Capitals still had their chances, they hit a couple posts," said Moore. "Tonight was anyone's game, we just got the bounce. I thought they should have buried us but Roloson kept us alive."

The Lightning lost left wing Simon Gagne after he banged his head on the ice in the first period. The play occurred about 7 1/2 minutes into the game after Gagne was checked cleanly into the right boards by Scott Hannan.

Gagne laid on the ice for several minutes and was eventually helped into the locker room by a pair of teammates. He did not return and a team spokesman said he would be re-evaluated on Saturday.

Eric Fehr and Alexander Semin both had a goal for the Capitals, who downed the Rangers in five games in the quarterfinals. Michal Neuvirth stopped 20-of-23 shots in the loss.

Game 2 is set for Sunday in Washington.

Trailing by a goal, Tampa tied the game with 3:43 left in the middle stanza when Downie chipped it into the net from the low left side after a Washington turnover.

Skating on the power play, the Lightning took a 3-2 lead after Eric Brewer skated the puck from the left point to the low left side before throwing it to the front, where Stamkos jammed it in with 31.6 seconds left in the second.

The Tampa defense did its job in the final frame to preserve the lead as it limited Washington to just five shots in the final frame and killed off a power play after Teddy Purcell was called for hooking with 5:58 to play.

Moore iced the win with an empty-netter in the final minute.

"The Lightning make it frustrating. They just hang back," said Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau. "You're trying to push and they are very good at it. That's why when they get a lead they hold on to it."

The first goal of the game was Tampa's as Downie brought the puck hard to the net from the low left side and the rebound off his stuff attempt was slammed in by Bergenheim at the 2:12 mark of the first.

Washington, though, tied the game less than two minutes later after a weak clearing attempt by Tampa through the middle was tipped by Marco Sturm. The puck went to Semin, who snapped a wrister from the slot that trickled past Roloson.

The Caps appeared to take the lead with 6:26 left in the first when Brooks Laich got the puck into the net from the left side, but a review determined that he kicked the puck into the net and the goal was disallowed.

Just 1:51 into the second, Washington took the lead on a set play. Marcus Johansson won the left circle faceoff and pushed the puck ahead for Jason Chimera, who slipped through the defense and centered the puck for Fehr's one- timer.

Game Notes

Washington did not let up a first period goal in its series against the Rangers...Tampa is 4-1 on the road in the playoffs this season...Tampa center Vincent Lecavalier had two assists in the game...The Lightning were 1-for-4 on the power play while Washington was 0-for-5...The only other time these teams have met in the postseason was in the 2003 conference quarterfinals and the Lightning won that series in six games...Washington took four of six games this season against Tampa.