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Tampa Bay Lightning, faced with 2: 0 hole, accuse preliminary play against Washington Capitals

TAMPA – Who are the Tampa Bay Lightning?

Are you the team that shredded the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins in five games apiece to reach the Eastern Conference Finals, a team of efficient defense, dynamic offensive and remarkable depth?

Or are they on the ice for two home defeats against the Washington Capitals, defeats that brought them straight to the wrong side? Since 1

974-75, only two teams have collected from a 2-0 hole in 41 conference finals / semi-finals. But this hole is where Tampa resides after a 2-6 loss on Sunday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Who are the Tampa Bay Lightning? Not even they can tell you.

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"If there is one thing, I can sit here and say about these two games that we have only played for a while and a bit Slowly We did not get 113 points We did not win the first two rounds by playing that way, these were the first two games we played, "said coach Jon Cooper. "I'm not sitting here and say," Oh, that's all us, not you. "They have a really good team, they feel it and are now playing with some confidence, it's a little surprising for us that we are not because we came safely to Jersey, we had confidence to come to Boston, and Im Right now we just do not do the games we have to. "

The Lightning started Game 2 well, playing aggressively offensive and scoring a 2-1 lead in the second round with two Powerplay goals. But they left the series 5-on-5, with the Capitals leading the pack with a 7-1 lead of equal strength and Sunday's final 40 minutes.

"It's hard to compare different series, but they do a good job, they move the puck well, they get it clean from their own zone, it seems we can not do our pre-course the way we want it" said defender Anton Stralman. "I think the big difference, and now I'll compare is in a hurry, we did not give up many rushes in this Boston series, and now we are, that's the game plan and structure."

That's also a lack of execution from the Lightning, who were unable to maintain pressure on Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. That comes back to a lack of confidence after Cooper.

"We're a lot of monotonous, so give them credit: As soon as the first shot comes through, it does not seem to be like this." We get a bit of zone time, but either we'll pass if we shoot or shoot if we do he said, "but in the end we over-rotate the puck, which we did not do in the first two laps. When you do that, it's hard to generate anything. Your guys are going in one direction, and now suddenly, "That was our problem."

When the capitals are in full swing, lightning, which has been so effective over the previous two rounds, is simply withered.

"We have well defended the playoffs before these last few games, and that's why we had success," said Steven Stamkos, who had one of the goals for Tampa in the 6-2 defeat. "In the last few games we have not defended with the same sense of urgency and [we’re] really hung our goalkeeper to dry, they had a lot of quality chances, you can not do that at this time of year." "

Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has scored 10 goals with 62 shots, was not the reason the Lightning lost the first two games of the series, but he was not the goalkeeper he was in the previous round. His overly aggressive game against Evgeny Kuznetsov in the second half sparked the Capitol's power play, resulting in a goal that kept the spirit of Tampa down, as it was the second time in two games that the Capitals had a powerplay goal to have less than 10 seconds in a single period.

"In the third round we were full of energy," said Capitals coach Barry Trotz. "I'm not so sure if they were because they stung twice here were. It has an effect. "

" This is the game changer, I think, today, "Kuznetsov said." It's always hard to score at the end of the season. "

" It's tough. They are deflationary, "said Lightning Forward Alex Killorn.

But Cooper sensed the game was swung when the Lightning 2-1 lead was canceled after their top line failed a 3-on-1, and Devante Smith-Pelly, a fourth-liners for the Capitals, tied the game to another odd-man rush.

"The Odd" We had and had absolutely nothing to do with it except turning it over and it landed in the back of ours Netzes, the game was swinging, "he said. "We were 2-1, and it ended 2-2. If you do something with this rush, it's 3-1, who knows where the game is going after that's how it has changed."

There were several candidates from this game for the most demoralizing moment. The capitals have not only taken the first two games of this series; They have taken away the identity of the Lightning and made them nervous.

"They look a bit frustrated, but over there," said Capitals Brett Connolly said. "We have to keep playing hard, keep playing fast and stick to it."

As they limp off to DC for Game 3 on Tuesday, they face a seemingly unstoppable Capitals team and a ticking clock on the playoff run, one question overshadowing everyone else: Who are the Tampa Bay Lightning?

"Let's see who we really are," said Stamkos. "We did not really have to deal with [adversity] in the playoffs so far, now we are, so we'll see what kind of team we are."

Or which team the capitals will allow them.

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