Welcome to perhaps the last live blog of the Capitals’ postseason.
Tonight’s format will be a little different than in previous games because of the dire situation in which the Caps find themselves. There’s a decent probability I’ll have to write my first deadline analysis piece, so I’ll be checking in less frequently with updates. I’ll have some help from Lindsay, though, and we encourage readers to keep the conversation going in the comments.
I’ll have a lineup in about 45 minutes, so check back for that. Updates will follow in reverse-chronological order.
--And that’s all for the Caps. Another promising postseason ends in disappointment, this time a stunning four-game sweep to the Lightning.
Thanks for joining us here. We’ll have plenty of reaction and analysis coming up.
--Update, 2:06 third period: With Neuvirth pulled, John Carlson blasts a shot from the point to cut the lead to two. And now, with 1:20 to go, the Caps get a power play, Stamkos for tripping. They’ll go 6-on-4 here in a last-ditch attempt to save their season.
--Update, 3:08 third period from Lindsay (Tarik is writing): Martin St. Louis just netted the clincher for Tampa Bay. Not the way anyone envisioned this thing playing out, that’s for sure.
--Update, 5:07 third period: Lightning go up by two on a point blast by Bergeron on power play. Crowd chanting "Sweep! Sweep!"
They're starting to feel it.
--Update, 3:48 third period: Strum to the box for goaltender interference. That's the Caps' fifth penalty. Lightning, by comparison, have two.
--Update, end of the second period: As I mentioned earlier, the Caps haven't been able to find answer for the Bergenheim line all series. And it cost them again. Bergenheim now has three goals in this series and seven for the postseason. That's two more than Ovechkin.
The Caps ran into a little penalty trouble, and that hurt them. But, once again, I'm not seeing enough from the stars. Semin has one shot through 40 minutes and Backstrom has none, one game after failing to record a single shot.
Ovechkin didn't get a shot on goal that period after a solid first. None for rookie Marcus Johansson for a second straight game. Your leader in shots on goal? Defensive defenseman Karl Alzner.
Well, this it. The Caps, down 3-2, might have only 20 minutes left in their season. They've combined for a total of 15 third period shots this series entering the final frame tonight. So that means they're due, right?
--Update, 17:24 second period: Caps just finish killing off a penalty and Erskine takes another. Puts puck over glass.
--Update, 15:24 second period: Another Lightning odd man and Schultz takes a hooking penalty. 'Bolts' speed in transition giving Caps some trouble.
--Update, 13:40 second period: Caps climb back into it thanks to a brain cramp by Roloson, who simply missed a long wrist shot by Erskine. First big mistake by Roloson.
Man, this place got quiet quick.
--Update, 12:34 second period: Lightning gets another odd man rush, and Bergenheim puts in a rebound after a kick save by Neuvirth to make it 3-1.
Boudreau calls a time out to settle the troops.
--Update, 8:00 second period: Neuvirth and Caps are down 2-1, but Neuvy has come to play tonight. Just stopped a Lecavalier-Stamkos 2 on 1. BIG stop there.
--Update, 4:41 second period: Bergenheim secures rebound, fires it past Neuvirth during scramble in front. Looked like Arnott fell backward of Neuvirth, which I'm sure didn't help the goalie's concentration or positioning as puck whizzed past.
--Update, start of the second period: The clock is broken here. Official time will be kept at scorer's table.
--Update, end of first period: The opening 20 minutes were played pretty evenly by two closely matched teams. So, fittingly, it's all tied up at 1-1, with each team netting a goal on the power play.
Caps lead 12-11 in shots. Ovechkin and Schultz leading the way in shots with three apiece. Hendricks and Chimera are tied with a team leading three hits.
Knuble, meanwhile, is making an obvious attempt to rattle Roloson. He got called once for goalie interference, but he's still buzzing around the 'Bolts net.
The building is a little more full than last night and the crowd is definitely more into it. Caps would be well served by getting a quick start in the second and taking them out of it.
--Update, 1:30 first period: Caps finally get a little luck. Puck hits Arnott, Sturm and Roloson on way into Lightning net.
--Update, 17:30: Thompson off for goalie interference after running over Neuvirth. Could have been retribution for Knuble running over Roloson at other end moments earlier.
--Update, 15:13 first period: Ohlund decks Knuble with a cross check in Tampa Bay crease. Caps to the power play after some near misses, bad bounces in 'Bolts zone.
Caps going with five forwards on this one.
--Update, 12:37 first period: The goal stands. Good call. Bad penalty for Ovechkin to take.
--Update, 12:37 first period: Lightning strikes on power play after Malone directs a Lecavalier cross crease pass into net with his skate. Goal under review.
--Update, 11:14 first period: Ovechkin whistled for for charging. Caps captain has come out with fire but needs to harness his emotion.
--Update, 10:30 first period: It's clear that Roloson is having trouble controlling his rebounds. Pucks are squirting everywhere on him, Caps need to pounce soon.
--Update, 8:59 first period: Knuble off for goalie interference. The caps definitely need to get in Roloson's "kitchen". But taking a penalty ain't the way to do it.
--Update, 8:08 first period: The line of Bergenheim-Moore- Downie continues to be a tough matchup for the Caps.
--Update, 4:20 first period: Erskine hit the post with a bomb from the point.
But Lightning has come out hard and fast. Leading in shots, 5-2.
--Here are the lines based on warmups:
Roloson, meantime, is back in net for the Lightning.
--Update, 26 minutes until puck drop: Mike Green and Eric Fehr are not on the ice for warmups. We knew about Green; not sure what's wrong with Fehr.