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May 11, 2018
The Capitals face the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena tonight in Game 1 of the 2018 Eastern Conference Final. This is the third meeting between the clubs in the playoffs. The Capitals posted a 1-1-1 record against the Lightning during the regular season.

Braden Holtby has posted a 8-3-0 record with a 2.04 goals-against average (second among goaltenders currently in the playoffs) and .926 save percentage (fourth among goaltenders with at least five games played) in 11 games this postseason. In six games versus Pittsburgh, Holtby posted 2.15 goals against average and .921 save percentage. In his career, Holtby has posted four shutouts, a 2.00 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in a franchise-record 70 playoff games. The Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, native ranks second in NHL playoff history (min. 50 games played) in career save percentage and second in career goals-against average. In addition, Holtby ranks first among active NHL goaltenders (min. 20 games played) in career playoff save percentage and goals-against average. Holtby has allowed two goals or fewer in 44 of his 70 career playoff games and Washington has posted a 30-14 record in those games. Washington and Tampa Bay will play all potential seven games this series on one day of rest. During the regular season, Holtby has played in 160 career games following one day of rest, recording 2.16 goals against average and a .927 save percentage, his lowest goals against average and his highest save percentage of any other combination of days with rest.


Rookie Contributions - Capitals rookies Nathan Walker and Travis Boyd made their playoff debuts in the Capitals’ series-clinching Game 6 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference semifinal on May 7. The two rookies joined Shane Gersich, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana and Christian Djoos in the Capitals class of rookies to debut in the playoffs. The Capitals’ six rookies ties the franchise mark for the most rookies the Capitals have had participate in the playoffs (1989-90). This postseason, five different Capitals rookies have recorded points, which is a franchise high. Walker recorded an assist on the Capitals’ opening goal in Game 6 against Pittsburgh, making him the first Australian to record a point in the playoffs in NHL history. Walker, who became the first Australian to play in the NHL on Oct. 7, recorded a goal in his NHL debut, making him the first Australian to record a point in the regular season. The Capitals had eight different rookies on the roster this season (Vrana, Stephenson, Djoos, Gersich, Madison Bowey, Travis Boyd, Nathan Walker and Liam O’Brien), and six rookies recorded their first career point.

Kuz Control - Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks second on the Capitals in points (7g, 7a) and tied for eighth in the NHL in the playoffs. Kuznetsov scored the series-clinching goal in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinal against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Kuznetsov, who scored his first-career overtime goal, became the seventh player in franchise history to score a series-clinching goal in overtime.

The Great Eight – Alex Ovechkin is fourth in the NHL with eight goals in the playoffs and leads the Capitals with 15 points (8g, 7a), which is tied for the most among players remaining in the playoffs. Additionally, Ovechkin is tied for fourth among active NHL players (min. 20 games played) in career playoff goals per game (0.50) and tied for eighth in playoff points per game (0.96). Among the top 10 active career playoff goal scorers, Ovechkin ranks sixth, and his 0.50 goals per game ranks first among player on that list. In 109 career playoff games, Ovechkin has 105 points (54g, 51a), ranking first in franchise history in playoff games played, goals, points, power play goals (18), power play points (45), game-winning goals (7), shots (497) and second in assists (51).

The Matchup - The Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning played three times this season, each finishing with a 1-1-1 record. Nicklas Backstrom led the team with four points (1g, 3a) against the Lightning this season and T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin each led the team with two goals. Since the 2014-15 season, Washington is 8-2-2 against Tampa Bay during the regular season. Additionally, the Capitals have held the Lightning to three or fewer goals in 11 of their last 14 meetings and under two or fewer goals in seven of their last 14 meetings.

Super Carly - John Carlson is tied for third among all NHL defensemen with 11 points (3g, 8a) in the playoffs and is now one point shy of tying the Capitals' franchise mark for points by a defenseman in the playoffs (Kevin Hatcher, 1988: 5g, 7a; Scott Stevens, 1988: 1g, 11; Carlson, 2016: 5g, 7a). In 88 career playoff games, which is the second most in franchise history among defensemen, Carlson has 46 points (16g, 30a) and one game-winning goal. Carlson’s 68 points (15g, 53a) led the NHL this season and are the seventh-highest single season total by a Capital in franchise history. Carlson became the third Capitals defenseman to lead the NHL in points since 2000 (Sergei Gonchar: 2001-02, 59 points; Mike Green: 2008-09, 2009-10: 73 and 76 points, respectively).   

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: Caps Prepare to Take on Tampa Bay Team D

Washington Post: ‘We are all about the Rangers South’: Capitals face familiar playoff foes in Tampa / hBarry Trotz lacks a contract extension, but has perspective as Capitals pursue Stanley Cup / Svrluga: Capitals aren’t expected to beat the Lightning. That might be just what they need. / Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom, Andre Burakovsky progressing from injuries, questionable for Game 1 / D.C. Sports Bog: Michael Wilbon calls D.C. a ‘minor league sports town’ after Caps celebration. Deep sigh. / D.C. Sports Bog: Toronto is now the saddest sports city. Unless it’s Cincinnati. Or maybe it’s still Washington. / Fancy Stats: Do the Capitals look like a true Stanley Cup contender? (No.) / 15 things to do in the D.C. area this weekend

Washington Times: Capitals ready to get ‘greedy’ against Tampa / Backstrom, Burakovsky make progress before Game 1

NBC Sports Washington: Capitals at Lightning Game 1 Eastern Conference Finals 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream / 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Capitals vs. Lightning Odds, Betting lines, spread / Tom Wilson offers detailed rebuttal of the league's interpretation of his hit to Aston-Reese / Lightning arena going to great lengths to keep Capitals fans from rocking the red in Tampa / Caps' youth movement has helped the team get over the hump / Can the Caps move on from an emotional win over Pittsburgh? / Eastern Conference Final: Capitals vs. Lightning predictions, projections Backstrom skates, day to day for Capitals heading into conference final / Connolly facing friends for Capitals against Lightning in East Final / Kuznetsov raising game for Capitals with conference final on tap / Stanley Cup Playoffs conference finals predictions

AP: Kucherov relishes chance to face Ovechkin in East Final / ‘Saucer-eyed’: Caps, others count on rookies in NHL playoffs / NHL makes history with new blood in conference finals

ARL Now: Rosslyn to Host Outdoor Capitals Watch Party Friday

Buffalo News: Inside the NHL: All eyes on Ovechkin in Caps' first trip to East final since '98 win over Sabres

Canoe: JETS SNAPS: Perreault happy for Ovi, Caps, lessons for young Jets, Copp mic'd up for Game 7

D.C. Refined: Weekend Report: 12 events to attend for a rocking weekend (Capitals mentioned)

ESPN: Eastern Conference Final preview: Why the Lightning will end the Capitals' playoff run / Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom skates, but Game 1 up in air

FOX 5 DC: DC council member proposes idea of holding Capitals viewing party outside Capital One Arena Maximilian Kammerer moves to the Washington Capitals (Link in German) Twenty years after Joé Juneau, Capitals give Washington a smile

National Post: With the pressure off, the Capitals are excited to meet experienced Lightning in conference final Caps in the final of the conference after twenty years, Tampa for the third time in the last four years (Link in Czech) NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Eastern Conference Finals preview, prediction

Omnisport: NHL playoffs 2018: Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom, Andre Burakovsky upgraded to day to day Hundreds Pack First Capitals Practice Since Game 6 (Photos) Capitals must return to the ground, Lightning bet on experience (Link in Slovak)

Sporting News: Lightning vs. Capitals: Predictions, odds, schedule for Eastern Conference finals / NHL playoffs 2018: Tired Alex Ovechkin narratives can be laid to rest with Capitals in East finals / NHL Playoffs 2018: Capitals' Tom Wilson did not agree with three-game suspension / Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon miss context of Capitals' victory over Penguins / F-bombs, Evgeny Kuznetsov fly after Capitals 'finally' overcome Penguins, themselves

Sports Capitol: Capitals rookies pulling their weight, enjoying ride

Sports Illustrated: Eastern Conference Finals Preview: Can Underdog Capitals Keep Run Going vs. Lightning?

Star-Tribune: Travis Boyd gets first taste of NHL playoffs with the Capitals

STATS LLC: Eastern Conference final matches hungry Caps, savvy Lightning

USA Today: NHL playoffs 2018: Who advances to Stanley Cup Final? (Capitals mentioned)

Vavel: Previous Tampa Bay Lightning - Washington Capitals: the heads of division face to face (Link in Spanish) / Nicklas Backstrom, of the Capitals, in doubt for the first game of the final in the East (Link in Spanish)

Washingtonian: Things to Do in DC This Weekend (May 10-13): The Caps in the Conference Finals, A Boqueria Cookbook, and the Fifth Funk Parade Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals: What you need to know ahead of Game 1

WTOP: DC could shut down street near arena for Caps’ playoff games

TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals: Brooks Orpik | May 10 / Chandler Stephenson | May 10 / Rinkside Update | Brett Connolly / Matt Niskanen | May 10 / Barry Trotz | May 10

Japers’ Rink Radio: JRR Episode 81: Third Round Preview

NBC Sports: Point, Palat and Johnson will test Capitals

NBC Sports Washington: Capitals-Lightning Preview: What's difference for the Caps? / Eastern Conference Final: How the Caps got here / Dynamic Duos for Caps-Bolts NHL LiveWire: WSH vs. PIT, Gm6

NHL Network: NHL Tonight: Backstrom's injury / NHL Now on Backstrom's injury / Hat Trick Challenge for Friday (Jakub Vrana mentioned)

Sports Capitol: Red Line: Talking Tampa Bay with Joe Smith and Caps history with Peter Bondra

SportsNet: 31 Thoughts, The Podcast: The euphoria in Washington for Caps fans / Stamkos Doesn’t Buy Theory That Capitals Are Due For Letdown

TSN Toronto 1050: McGuire: Not many coaches would have pulled Rinne after 2 bad goals (Capitals mentioned) / LeBrun: There is pressure on Jets to win when they have all their pieces (Capitals mentioned)

WJLA-TV ABC 7: On Game 1 and the Caps Viewing Party at Gateway Park (4 a.m.) / On Game 1 and the Caps Viewing Party at Gateway Park (5 a.m.)

WTTG-TV FOX 5: On Game 1 and the Caps Viewing Party at Gateway Park (5 a.m.) / On Game 1 and the Caps Viewing Party at Gateway Park (5 a.m.) / On Game 1 and the Caps Viewing Party at Gateway Park (6 a.m.) / Weather and the Caps Viewing Party at Gateway Park (7 a.m.) / Weather and the Caps Viewing Party at Gateway Park (7 a.m.) / On Game 1 and the Caps Viewing Party at Gateway Park (8 a.m.)

WUSA-TV CBS 9: On Game 1 and the Caps Viewing Party at Gateway Park (4 a.m.) / On Game 1 and the Caps Viewing Party at Gateway Park (5 a.m.) / On Game 1 and the Caps Viewing Party at Gateway Park (6 a.m.)

Lightning Clips:

The Athletic: Nikita Kucherov unmasked: Inside the Lightning star’s rise Stamkos, Hedman better prepared for Lightning series vs. Capitals

Raw Charge: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals: NHL Eastern Conference Final Preview / Fact vs. Fiction: Amalie Arena restricts away jerseys to areas outside of Club seating / Syracuse Crunch black aces to head to Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Times: Lightning-Capitals: Matchups that could define the Eastern Conference final / Phil Esposito on the Russians: ‘Everyone’s the same. They want the Cup’ / Lightning’s Point line ready for its next challenge / Lightning-Capitals: All eyes on the Russian connection / Lightning-Capitals: Checking the thermostat in Tampa Bay’s locker room