By Rodger M. WoodUntil they reverted back to their “old run and gun offense” near the end of the second period, the Caps were comfortably beating the Lightning 2-1, but then, looking a gift horse in the mouth, they ended up losing the first game of the semifinal playoffs to Tampa 4-2.On an assist by Marcos Sturm, Alexander Semin tied the score up 1-1 at the 4:08 mark of the first period, and Eric Fehr, assisted by line mates, Jason Chimera and Marcus Johanssen put the Caps ahead 2-1 at 1:51 of the second period.Midway through the second period, Brooks Laich appeared to have slammed the puck past Lightning goalie Dwayne Rolason, which if the goal had not been disallowed, would have the home team ahead3-1Looking like they were on a ten minute power play in the second period in the Lightning’s end, the Caps were dominating. They were hitting hard and blocking shots. Defenseman’s Scott Hannan’s check took Lightning LW Simon Gagne out of the game, and Jason Chimera’s smashing check on Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina also took him out of the game. Crashing the net, Caps forwards had Lightning’s goalie Dwayne Roloson on the ropes ready to take a 10 – count, and Caps goalie, Michal Neuvirth was stopping everything in sight.It was the Caps game and you couldn’t help thinking it could be a blowout, but then Lady Luck suddenly turned her head on the Caps. On a fluke goal off Caps defenseman Scott Hannan’s stick, Steve Downie scored the tying goal, and on a power play with less than a minute to go in the second period, Steven Stamkos scored the go ahead goal to give Tampa a 3-2 lead.Caps stars resorted to the old routine which failed against the Canadiens in last year’s playoffs. Alex Ovechkin, Niklaus Backstrom, Alexander Semin, and Mike Green, who all played a -1 game, tried carrying the puck up the ice, and winning the game themselves. The Lightning 1-3 -1 scheme, which the Caps were beating earlier in the game, stopped them dead in their tracks. On both power plays in the third period, Ovie and Backstrom were whistled off sides three times. They did not shoot the puck in the Lightning’s end, or work for possession in the corner, which worked the second half of the regular season and against the Rangers in the quarterfinals.And you would have thought they’d be believers in the system by now.Without the home team advantage, the Caps face Tampa in the second at home 7 PM Sunday.
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