The plan was simple: Score early against a weary opponent and ride the momentum the rest of the way.
The Tampa Bay Lightning carried out the strategy perfectly, turning a big first period into a huge 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night in a showdown between division leaders in the Eastern Conference.
Washington had played in Buffalo one day earlier, and that played significantly into the game-plan of Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper.
"The big thing for us is, we knew they played (Monday). The key for that is you've got to get the lead," Cooper said.
Brayden Point sandwiched two goals around a tally by Chris Kunitz to make it 3-0...