NHL Odds: Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning Game 2
By: David Schwab
Saturday, April 30, 2011
The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take a 2-0 series lead this Sunday in their best-of-seven matchup against the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Game time from DC's Verizon Center is 4 p.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast nationally on VERSUS.
Tampa Bay drew first blood in the match against its Southeast Division rival with an impressive 4-2 victory as a 156 road underdog in Friday night’s Game 1. The Lightning were coming off a draining seven-game series with Pittsburgh in which they had to win three straight to advance, including a 1-0 squeaker in Game 7 as a 115 road underdog.
Left winger Sean Bergenheim opened the scoring for Tampa Bay in the first period with his fourth goal of the postseason and center Steven Stamkos drilled home the eventual game-winner late in the second period.
Friday’s win came at a price as Simon Gagne left the game after hitting his head on the ice and remains questionable for Sunday. Along with Steve Downie (two goals and seven assists) and Martin St. Louis (four goals and four assists), Gagne has been one of the team’s top scorers in the playoffs.
Defenseman Pavel Kubina is also listed as questionable for the Lightning after taking a hard hit in Game 1.
Dwayne Roloson continues to hang tough in the net for the Lightning. He has played every minute of these playoffs and has a goals-against-average of just 1.8, stopping an outstanding 94.7 percent of shots. Friday he stopped 26 of Washington’s 28 shots.
Tampa Bay was also perfect on the penalty kill in Game 1, stopping the Capitals on all five of their opportunities.
Behind the play of Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin, Washington rolled to a first-round win over New York in five games. This team came into the playoffs with the fourth-best goals-allowed average in the league at 2.33. It held the Rangers to a total of eight goals in that series and just two in the three games at home.
The Capitals earned the Eastern Conference's No.1 seed through a conservative, mistake-free style of play, but none of that was evident in Friday’s loss.
Semin was able to tie the game at one goal apiece late in the first period and right winger Eric Fehr gave Washington the lead early in the second, but things sort of unraveled from that point on. The Capitals outshot Tampa 14-9 in the first period, but could only manage 14 more shots for the rest of the game.
Washington goalie Michal Neuvirth also showed some kinks in the armor after giving up four goals on just 24 shots. He came into this series with a ridiculous save percentage of .946 but was just .870 in Game 1. He now has a GGA of 1.62 through six playoff games.
Tampa Bay is 26-18 as an underdog this season and the total has gone ‘over’ in six of its last 10 games. Washington is 43-28 as a favorite and the total has stayed ‘under’ in four of its last seven games.
Head-to-head, the Capitals won four of six games in the regular season and went 2-1 at home. The total stayed ‘under’ in four of those six games.
This time around stick with Washington as a likely home favorite as it gets back to playing fundamental hockey to tie this series at one game apiece.