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undergroundnewsroom.com May 27, 2018


Lightning strike back, beat Capitals in Washington

16 May 2018, 12:43 | Nina Mathis

Eastern Conference Finals, Game 3: Tampa Bay vs. Washington

NHL Playoffs 2018: Washington Capitals are the new favorites to win the Stanley Cup

Thanks to strong performances from their four All-Stars they came away with a 4-2 victory to cut the Capitals series lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

This is who the Lightning are: They defended expertly, limiting the odd-man rushes the Capitals used to outscore them 10-4 in the first two games.

The Washington Capitals host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday.

The Capitals are 0-2 all-time after winning Games 1 and 2 on the road.

Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals gives up a goal. They scored first courtesy of Steven Stamkos on the power play. Hedman assisted on that one too; and then Kucherov fed Hedman for a goal 1:47 later to make it 3-0.

Victor Hedman scored his first goal of the playoffs less than two minutes later on what amounted to an empty net goal off a feed from Kucherov. We'll see what happens for Game 4 Thursday night (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

"They came in here, they're desperate and they played that way", said Capitals coach Barry Trotz.

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In 11 playoff games so far this season, Backstrom has three goals and 10 assists for 13 points. The cameras dispersed. He turned and walked toward the dressing room, leaving only one matter unsettled: Whose goal was nicer, Kucherov's or his?

Now, Kucherov has not been the unsafe weapon he normally is ever since scoring five goals in the Lightning's five-game elimination of the New Jersey Devils in the opening round. Brayden Point got the Lightning back ahead 4-1 into the second intermission on a goal assisted by Braydon Coburn and Tyler Johnson.

"They got some looks, but he was right there".

The forecheck that helped Tampa Bay defeat the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins in the first two rounds has been a nonfactor against Washington. I don't know who you're grouping in the top players, but you think of Kucherov and Stamkos, those guys leading the charge, when we've needed them in the big games ... those guys have delivered when we've needed them.

"That is when you need your best players to step up", Stralman said. Vasilevskiy went into the game 3-1 on the road in the playoffs, however, after leading the National Hockey League with 18 road wins in the regular season.

"A big thing for us, and I think it's worked I guess in the three games, is the team that really gets the lead is the team that's in the driver's seat", Cooper said. "Maybe they play a little different". Those last-second power play goals, including a buzzer-beater, aren't exactly routine, especially in back-to-back games. But Washington's power play could not connect on its opportunities the way that Tampa Bay had.

They did. And if they can do it again, this series could be heading back to Tampa all tied up.



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