Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Downie coming up big for Tampa

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Steve Downie leads Tampa in playoff scoring with nine points. (Associated Press) Steve Downie leads Tampa in playoff scoring with nine points. (Associated Press)

By Stephen Whyno

Through the Lightning's first eight playoff games, their leading scorer isn't Marty St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier or Steven Stamkos.

It's Steve Downie, who has made at least a few people forget about his first-round suspension and on-edge style by producing - two goals and seven assists.

Coach Guy Boucher said he's not surprised that Downie has been his team's top offensive weapon.

"He makes plays, doesn't panic when he's got the puck and he's being pressured," Boucher said. "That's his biggest asset: He can make plays under pressure."

Lightning struck twice

Two hits Friday night cost Tampa Bay two key players in Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina. On Saturday Boucher termed them both day to day but added that "one [is] better than the other" while both are "pretty good."

He wouldn't divulge which forward would replace Gagne for Sunday night's Game 2 but confirmed Randy Jones would return for Kubina. They'll stick with seven defenceman, so "We're not asking Randy to come in as a saviour," Boucher said.

What went wrong for Capitals?

Since everything isn't an option, players said it was a matter of losing patience. When they fell behind, the young Capitals strayed from their system and started turning the puck over often.

"When you get a young bunch and a young group you play your hearts out for the first round and things don't go your way in the second round or in a game sometimes you tend to panic a little bit and get away from your game plan," veteran centre Jason Arnott said.

Going Green too much

Friday night's injury to rookie defenceman John Carlson meant a lot more ice time for Mike Green - 27:05 including 11:25 in the third period. Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said he'd like to get Green back to playing 18 to 20 minutes as he was productive with that ice time in the first round.

The All-Star defenceman agreed that he played too much.

"To be effective, especially in playoffs, you gotta keep your shifts short and be fresh and I felt like I was out there a little too much and wasn't able to as productive as I felt I could've been," Green said.

Boucher said there's a "pretty good chance" Carlson returns for Game 2.

Ancient Roloson?

It seems like every reference to Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson (26 saves on 28 shots in Game 1 win) includes his age. When a reporter brought up to Roloson the constant mentions of him being "ancient," the usually bland Roloson drew laughs.

"That's probably the first time I had ancient thrown into an interview," he said. "To me, it's a number and it doesn't matter."

By the way, he's 41.

No discipline for Chimera

Jason Chimera's elbow to Kubina's head drew a penalty that led to the Lightning's go-ahead goal in Game 1. But it did not lead to a suspension or any disciplinary action for the Capitals forward, who wasn't even happy about the call. His coach admitted it was a penalty but didn't see anything more coming of it. Boucher said Saturday that "it would be wise for me not to comment."

View from the press box

Out of the lineup again, Capitals veteran right-winger Mike Knuble was able to again watch from up top and point to some stuff his teammates needed to work on. One is getting more traffic in front of Roloson.

"You make it difficult," Knuble said. "You gotta get bodies there, you gotta make it uncomfortable to see the puck vision-wise, get bodies in the way and being around the net."

Stephen Whyno covers the Capitals for The Washington Times.