The Tampa Bay Lightning, despite the absence of Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina, have taken a commanding 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. If the Lightning can manage to defeat the Capitals at home tonight, they will advance to the Conference Finals for the first time since they hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2004.
While the Lightning may have been the lower-seeded team in this matchup, they certainly haven’t played like it. The Washington Capitals seem to have no answer for the Lightning’s 1-3-1 defense and power play setup, and similarly no answer for the trio of Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, and Steven Stamkos.
41-year old Dwayne Roloson continues to be brilliant in the net for the Lightning, and is at times single-handedly shutting down the Alex Ovechkin-led offense of the Washington Capitals.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have had role players like Ryan Malone step up in key moments of the series, and seem to be playing much more team-oriented hockey than the Capitals. While the Capitals at times have seemed panicky and have pressed their play, the Lightning have been calm and workman-like, and have been able to “flip the switch” and get goals when they need to.