The Washington Capitals finally know who their second round opponent will be — the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Caps overtook the Bolts in the latter months of the season to win the Southeast division. Tampa Bay finished off the Pittsburgh Penguins last night to advance.
Here is how the series looks:
Friday, April 29 – 7 p.m. – WASHINGTON (VERSUS)
Sunday, May 1 – 7 p.m. – WASHINGTON (VERSUS)
Tuesday, May 3 – TBD – TAMPA BAY (VERSUS)
Wednesday, May 4 – 7 p.m. – TAMPA BAY (TBD) Wait, back to back? Is Yanni playing the St. Pete Times Forum? Wrestling? Did the schedule makers think the Caps were playing Pittsburgh and built in a back to back out of habit? It turns out it is the University of South Florida graduation (The Wash. Times)on the 5th forcing the back-to-back.
Saturday, May 7 – 12:30 p.m. – WASHINGTON (NBC, Channel 4 in DC)*
Monday, May 9 – TBD – TAMPA BAY (VERSUS)*
Wednesday, May 11 – TBD – WASHINGTON (VERSUS)*
The only NHL playoff games I ever attended were against the Lightning in 2003. The Caps, in their lone playoff appearance with Jaomir Jagr, went up 2-0 in Tampa and then lost the next four games. I was there for games 3 and 4 and learned to hate Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavilier after that series. That was the beginning of the tear-down. The home games did not sell out and Ted Leonsis realized that the collection of veterans would never win him a Stanley Cup, so he blew it up the next year. Now, 8 years later, redemption is at hand if Alex Ovechkin and company can go out and take it.
I’ll come up with a series prediction tomorrow.