Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Culture | By Glenn Strickland

Lightning lead Capitals 4-1 in 3rd

Lightning lead Capitals 4-1 in 3rd

In the first two games against the Lightning, the Caps benefited from some puck luck that rarely occurs in such bunches even during the regular season.

These were not the same Washington Capitals that dominated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Games 1 and 2 in Florida, not the same team that outscored its opponent 10-4 in those games. The Capitals know first hand how risky it can be to squander a 2-0 lead at home, having survived being in the Lightning's position in the opening round when they dropped the first two games to the Columbus Blue Jackets only to win three straight road games en route to a 4-2 series win.

"It wasnt really fair for him the first couple", defenseman Anton Stralman said. Most nights, if he's' going well, we're going well as a team, so another big effort from him tonight. "He played great, and I think he liked the fact that we played a good team game and had good structure and made his life a little bit easier".

Sure, the Lightning had a brief lead in Game 2 from about the midpoint of the first period to early in the second. The Caps need to throw everything at the Lightning on Thursday to keep this series from being tied.

The Bolts are fighting off a Caps power play with a little over 15 minutes left in the period.

The Capitals are up, 2-0, as the series moves to Washington.

Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals gives up a goal
Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals gives up a goal

"Thats just guys sacrificing their body for the team", center Brayden Point said.

"We can take a few things that we've done on the road and put it into our home game", goalie Braden Holtby said.

And the constant in the first three goals Tampa scored on Tuesday was Hedman, with his long-awaited goal to make it 3-0 early in the second period coming on his 29th shot of these playoffs. And Evgeny Kuznetsov netted an odd-angled attempt with about three minutes left. That score deflated the crowd after Brett Connolly had given the home team some rare optimism by scoring midway through the period.

"We've thought about different things, but for me and our staff, we don't feel it's a personnel issue with how things are going", he said.

But the Capitals did not get away with that cleanly, because Michal Kempny committed a cross-check 16 seconds later and forced them into defending a 4-on-3 rather than mounting a comeback. He's always there for us and tonight we did a good job in front of him. "It's been a heck of a run, but we really haven't changed our lineup at all getting to this point". He wants the Lightning to be feeling better but not too good still down 2-1. "We know they're really unsafe off the rush and we're trying limit their odd-man rushes. It just happened to work out for us". Having said that, I believe Washington rebounds in game four... "There's no secret. We've dug ourselves a hole here, but by no means is it something that we can't overcome". But if anyone should know better than to look too far ahead, it's the Capitals and their long-suffering supporters.

"We know exactly what we have to do", Alexander Ovechkin said.

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