Capitals to face Tampa Bay in second round

Capitals to face Tampa Bay in second round
April 28, 2011, 2:42 am
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011 10:40 p.m.
The Washington Capitals will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the NHL playoffs, a result of the Bolts' 1-0 Game 7 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

Games 3, 4, 6 and 7 of the playoff series will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet.

Washington, the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed, advanced by beating the New York Rangers in a five-game series. The NHL reseeds brackets after each round, and the fifth-seeded Lightning are the lowest seed remaining in the conference.

Both of the NHL's Southeast Division, the teams met six times during the 2010-11 regular season with Washington taking the season series 4-1-1.

Tampa Bay held the division lead for much of the second half of the season before going cold and losing 10 of its first 12 games in March. The Capitals took advantage by winning 10 of 12 games during the same stretch.

Tampa regained its footing and won seven of its last eight regular-season games. The Lightning entered the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference.

During the 2010-11 regular season, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both led the Caps with 10 points each against Tampa Bay. Alexander Semin recorded two hat tricks, including a five-point game on Nov. 11 at Verizon Center and tallied nine points in four games against the Lightning.

Goaltender Michal Neuvirth went 1-0-0 with a 3.00 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage in two games versus Tampa Bay, while Semyon Varlamov went 2-1-1 with a 1.49 GAA and a .949 SV in four games.

The last time the two teams met in the NHL playoffs was in the first round in 2003. The Lightning defeated the Capitals, four games to two. It was Tampa Bay's first-ever series victory.