Capitals-Lightning: Game 3 Preview

Capitals-Lightning: Game 3 Preview
May 3, 2011, 1:33 am
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By Ben

Before their second-round series against the Lightning, members of the Capitals spoke of their familiarity with the opponent. There would be no surprises, the Caps said. They knew what to expect.

What the Capitals were not counting on, however, was a 2-0 deficit. But such is the predicament they find themselves in as the series shifts to Tampa Bay for games 3 and 4.

We have been in tough situations this year, and we've bounced back, Bruce Boudreau said after Mondays optional practice. We're going in there to win Tuesday night. I think the games have been so close that it's one move here, one move there. And it's not like we're going to go in there and throw in the towel. We're ready to play.

Mike Knuble said: We cant be in anything but a positive frame of mind and we know its a huge challenge and a huge task here and I think youve got to embrace it and not be upset about whats happened.

The Capitals head to Florida searching not only for their first win of the series, but also for their first power-play goal in Round 2.

One year after going 1-for-33 with the man advantage in their first-round series against Montreal, the Capitals have gone 0-for-11 in their first two games against Tampa Bay.

The power play has to score, that's the bottom line, Jason Chimera said. That's the difference in the game right there We put guys out there to do the job, and those guys have to do the job. Whoever gets put out there has to do the job, no matter who you are.

Among those who havent been getting the job done on the power play are Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin. None of the Caps three leading scorers from the regular season has scored a power-play goal in the postseason.

Its really frustrating, Boudreau said. And believe me, we're not just sitting there as a group of coaches and saying, 'Oh, OK. It's not working.' We're going over these things with a fine-toothed comb. We're trying to make adjustments as we go. But it's those guys that have to do it.

The Lightning, meanwhile, are getting productivity out of their top players, with Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis combining for four goals and seven points in games 1 and 2. The Caps trio of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin has combined for two goals and three points.

Backstrom has yet to score in the playoffs and has gone 15 straight games since he last found the back of the net. Boudreau suggested before Game 2 that Backstrom may be guilty of squeezing his stick and trying to be too cute with the puck.

As the Caps prepared for Game 3, the coach was asked about getting more out of his captain.

Everybody wants more from Alex, Boudreau said. I think he's trying out there. He's working hard. What are you going to say? ... We need more from everybody. We don't just need more from Alex.

Defenseman Jeff Schultz says the Capitals backs are kind of against the wall, but recent history suggests this series could still turn in the Capitals' favor.

Of the 20 Capitals who dressed in Game 2, 11 remain from the 2009 team that overcame a 2-0 series deficit and eliminated the Rangers in seven games. Three others were in Hershey last year when the Bears lost games 1 and 2 of the Calder Cup Finals against Texas before winning four straight and repeating as champions. And already this postseason, the Bruins came back from a 2-0 series deficit in Round 1 and beat the Canadiens, 4-3.

Ive been in this situation before, last year against Texas, Karl Alzner said, so I know that the pressure is going to be a little bit on Tampa Bay. I know the feeling ... especially when youre up two games and then you go home and youre thinking about sweeping and then you lose one game and you know you have to come back to the other teams building, so theres a lot of little things that will be in the backs of their minds.

Im sure that guys are going to draw on the experience, Brooks Laich said. If we can go to Tampa and just win that first one, win Tuesday, and now maybe we have some momentum and you play back-to-back nights and try to make it tough on them again Wednesday, you never know what can happen. I said it last night; I dont think this series is over; I think its just beginning.
Ben Raby is a producer and reporter on the Washington Capitals Radio Network. He can be heard on "The Morning Skate," airing Sundays at 9 a.m. on 106.7 The Fan.