Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the top-seeded Capitals kept repeating the thought, almost as if trying to convince themselves.
“Well,’’ Ovechkin said, “the series is not over.’’
That is true, of course.
At the moment, though, the Tampa Bay Lightning have a chance to end things pretty quickly.
With a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal, the streaking Lightning are halfway to eliminating the Capitals. The series shifts to Tampa for Game 3 tonight, followed by Game 4 tomorrow night in a scheduling quirk prompted by a University of South Florida graduation ceremony scheduled for Thursday at the Lightning’s arena.
“We’re going there, and we’re going to win two games,’’ Ovechkin said. “It’s going to be hard, but right now in this situation, we have to win.’’
That’s because the Capitals’ captain was outdone by the Lightning’s captain, Vincent Lecavalier, in Game 2 Sunday night. Lecavalier netted his second goal of the game 6:19 into overtime, and the fifth-seeded Lightning beat the Capitals, 3-2.
Washington’s power play went 0 for 6 on Sunday, and is 0 for 11 in the series. The Lightning have turned aside 45 of 46 shorthanded situations this postseason.
“We didn’t capitalize on special teams,’’ Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said, “and that was the big key.’’
Said Ovechkin, who tied the game with 67 seconds left in regulation for his first point of the series: “We just have to go to the net and find the puck.’’
Cooking at home? The Red Wings need their home ice to be an advantage against the Sharks or they’ll be making vacation plans soon.
The Sharks have a 2-0 lead over Detroit after a pair of one-goal wins at home in their Western Conference semifinal.
“You can’t feel sorry for yourself,’’ Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We have to rebound as a team. It’s been two close games and they’ve got the break each time.’’
San Jose went ahead by two goals early in the third period of Game 2 Sunday and held on for a 2-1 win. Benn Ferriero scored 7:03 into overtime of the series opener for a 2-1 win Friday night.
When the series shifts to Joe Louis Arena for Game 3 tomorrow night, the Sharks hope to match Detroit’s sense of urgency.
“We’re going to expect two desperate teams to be playing — we want to be one of them,’’ said San Jose coach Todd McLellan.
The Red Wings have lost the first two games of a series seven times during their two-decade postseason streak and they’ve rallied only once, beating Vancouver in six games in 2002.