Lightning won’t rest on laurels against Capitals

The Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t impressed with their surprising

2-0 NHL playoff lead over the Washington Capitals.

Coach Guy Boucher and his players know there’s still much work

to be done to pull off an upset in the Eastern Conference

semifinals.

With the top-seeded Capitals vowing to find a way to overcome

their slow start in the best-of-seven matchup, the Lightning know

first-hand why they can’t take anything for granted when the series

resumes with Game 3 on Tuesday night.

Tampa Bay rallied a 3-1 deficit to eliminate the Pittsburgh

Penguins in the first round.

Boucher shrugged off a suggestion Monday that his team finds

itself in a reverse role returning home after winning twice on the

road to begin the series.

”It’s because for me, the roles are not reversed. For me, it’s

one game, and every game’s a championship game,” the first-year

coach said. ”That’s what we try to do all year long. We never try

to look at standings. We never stressed where we were in the big

picture. We kept it very limited to what we have to do.

”I think it’s basically like walking on a tightrope. If you

think you’re high and you look down, you’ll start wobbling. If you

look up because you think you’re not good enough you start

wobbling, too, and you’ll be shaky,” Boucher added. ”You just

look ahead, and if you focus on the task and what you need to do

… you tend to do things the right way.”

Vincent Lecavalier’s goal 6:19 into overtime gave the

fifth-seeded Lightning 3-2 victory Sunday night and left the

Capitals searching for answers to what it will take to get the

team’s sputtering power-play on a track before the series gets

away.

The Lightning had Monday off, mindful that it needs to conserve

as much energy as possible with the next two games being played on

consecutive nights at the St. Pete Times Forum.

The Capitals held an optional skate before traveling to Florida.

Only about a half-dozen players who appeared in Game 2

participated.

Ovechkin was not among them and did not speak to reporters

before the team flight. Coach Bruce Boudreau and Ovechkin’s

teammates echoed the two-time league MVP’s contention that the

Capitals not only are capable, but confident of bouncing back.

”Well, they have to win four. And we have been in tough

situations this year, and we’ve bounced back. And we’re going in

there to win Tuesday night,” Boudreau said. ”I think the games

have been so close that, I mean, it’s one move here, one move

there. … It’s not like we’re going to go in there and throw in

the towel. We’re ready to play.”

The Capitals outshot the Lightning in each of the first two

games, however they’re 0-for-11 on power-play opportunities and

Ovechkin has been limited to a single point on the goal he scored

with just over a minute left in regulation to send Game 2 into

overtime.

Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson continued to sparkle,

stopping 35 of 37 shots while also helping Tampa Bay’s penalty-kill

unit extend its success in the playoffs.

”Pittsburgh was 1 for 35. We’re 0 for 11. So they’ve got to be

doing a good job,” Boudreau said. ”But I still think we could

generate more opportunities to score.”

The coach rejected the notion, though, that Ovechkin has to do

more if the Southeast Division champions are going to come back to

win the series.

”Everybody wants more from Alex. I think he’s trying out there.

He’s working hard,” Boudreau said. ”What are you going to say?

… We need more from everybody. We don’t just need more from

Alex.”

Tampa Bay’s power-play has produced a goal in each of the first

two games. Lecavalier scored twice and Martin St. Louis, a finalist

for league MVP, had his first goal of the series as the Lightning

claimed Game 2 despite playing without injured left wing Simon

Gagne and defenseman Pavel Kubina, who remain day to day.

Washington endured an eight-game losing streak in December and

insists there’s no reason to panic.

”You’ve just got to keep plugging,” left wing Jason Chimera

said. ”We’ve been there before – this team’s won 14 in a row and

nine in a row, so we can do it.”

The Capitals even feel the series schedule, which does not

include a day off between Games 3 and 4, could work to their

advantage.

Provided they first win Tuesday night.

”If there’s a team that can do it, it’s our team,” defenseman

John Carlson said. ”We got the guys in here – the workhorses in

here – to do it. And I think back-to-back games will be good for

us. We get hot here, and then it’s back (to Washington) for Game 5.

We’ve got to do the same thing that they did to us, really.”

It’s the Lightning’s job to prevent that.

”We’re up 2-0. We’re happy about it, but we can’t put our

guards down,” Lecavalier said. ”We’ve got to keep going, got to

keep pushing.”

Boucher agreed.

”We’re playing a team now that can easily win four in a row,”

Boucher said before rejecting a suggestion that there’s pressure on

the Lightning to take advantage of having the next two games at

home.

”For me, the minute you start looking at pressure, you start

thinking of failure,” Boucher said. ”For me, it’s 0-0 starting

(Tuesday night). It’s an isolated game for us. It makes no

difference if we’re 2-0, 3-1 or 3-0. Our approach emotionally,

technically and mentally will not change.”

AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich in Washington contributed to

this report.