The Washington Capitals entered the NHL Eastern Conference finals as distinct underdogs, despite a relatively even regular season showing against the Lightning. In nearly every regular season statistic, including offense, defense, and goaltending, the Tampa Bay Lightning had the advantage. They were favorites last season as well but were bitten by the injury bug. The Lighting came into the current season healthy and ready for a deep playoff run. The Capitals, on the other hand, came into the season with lower than usual expectations and had a relatively off year, but still managed to top their division.

They were predicted to get bounced from the playoffs in the first round.

The Capitals surprise in the first 2 rounds

The Washington Capitals fans are always worried come playoff time, as they have underwhelmed year after year and have never been able to get past the Pittsburgh Penguins. When they went down two games to none in the first round against Columbus, fans were already writing them off and looking towards next year. The Capitals, however, didn’t get the memo and ripped off four straight wins to take round one, 4-2.

Next up, came the Penguins, whom the Capitals hadn’t been able to get past in the playoffs since the 90’s. They got off to a rocky start but found their footing and put the Penguins on ice in six games.

Washington now found themselves in uncharted territory, and with some key injuries, the NHL analysts all agreed that the Capitals would have nothing for the Lighting in the Eastern Conference finals.

After 2 games, has the flash gone out of the Lightning?

The first two games of the series were on Tampa Bay’s home ice and they entered the series with momentum and confidence, but it was the Capitals that seemed to be on a mission.

During game one, the Capitals quickly went up on the Lighting 3-0. Even after Tampa showed some life in the third period, scoring two goals, the damage was already done, and they dropped their first home game of the series, 4-2.

Coming into game two, the Lightning knew they had to play better before heading to Washington, and they did, pushing to a 2-1 lead over the Capitals after the first period of play.

Early in the second period, however, the Capitals responded, and never looked back, scoring five straight goals, and taking a 2-0 series lead with a 6-2 victory. Ever superstitious, Capitals fans are not over-confident, even with the series coming to Washington, but they couldn’t have asked for any more than winning both of the first two away games.