Quick news and notes from Tuesday's morning skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex as the Caps [16-12-2] face the Lightning [17-10-2] at Verizon Center [7 p.m., CSN]:
On March 25, J.T. Brown was in Worcester, Mass., playing for the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs in the NCAA tournament. Less than a week later, he was in Tampa, playing for the Lightning in the NHL.
It has been one unbelievable "M*A*S*H" kind of year for the Lightning, with injuries contributing to a season that started with lofty expectations but went off the rails. But Tampa Bay is suddenly getting healthier — getting back the likes of Victor Hedman, Tom Pyatt and Ryan Shannon perhaps just in time.
Every year, the Washington Capitals try to turn their playoff losses into learning experiences. There's no finger pointing, no big roster upheaval, no emotion of any kind, really. They just take a step back, survey the wreckage and say: What could we have done better? What should we have done better?
Mike Smith was perfect in relief of goalie Dwayne Roloson, and Simon Gagne snapped a tie in the third period for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who erased an early three-goal deficit and evened the Eastern Conference finals with a 5-3 win in Game 4 over the Boston Bruins on Saturday.
Of all the nights for officials to become part of the story, Bruce Boudreau and the Washington Capitals didn't want it to be this one.
Poised after 40 minutes to make this a series and ensure a Game 5 Saturday at Verizon Center, the Washington Capitals needed less than a minute to melt down.
If you love or hate the idea of back-to-back games in the playoffs, thank the University of South Florida and its commencement ceremonies set for Thursday at St. Pete Times Forum.
Since the Penguins last won the Stanley Cup in 1992, their opponent in Game 1 of the finals tonight, the Detroit Red Wings, captured hockey's greatest prize three times and have become the NHL's model franchise. The Penguins, one of the league's original expansion teams in 1967, have been anything but. <li type="square"><p style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 9pt"> <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20080524/SPORTS/322944307/1005/SPORTS">Stanley Cup Finals Preview</a>