Tampa Bay was favored over Washington going into the Eastern Conference Final, but the Capitals were the team that came out strong, winning Games 1 and 2 in Tampa Bay fairly decisively. With that the series headed to Washington with all the pressure on the Lightning to turn things around now.
Tampa Bay did just that, capitalizing on a pair of power-play opportunities and then never looking back in Tuesday’s 4-2 victory. Washington still leads the series 2-1 and if Tampa Bay can’t even the series in Game 4 then it’ll still find its back against the wall, but at least the Lightning turned this first step towards digging themselves out of the hole they dug for themselves.
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TAMPA BAY 4 WASHINGTON 2 (Capitals lead series 2-1)
Victor Hedman scored the game-winning goal and registered two assists. The goal was his first of the 2018 playoffs and he now has 11 points in 13 contests.
Steven Stamkos found the back of the net and registered an assist. That extended his point streak to six games.
Nikita Kucherov also had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay. He has seven goals and 16 points in 13 playoff contests.
Brett Connolly scored the Capials’ first goal at 10:31 of the second period. It only reduced the Lightning’s lead to 3-1 though.
Washington didn’t score again until 16:58 of the third frame when Evgeny Kuznetsov found the back of the net. It was his ninth goal and 20th point in 15 postseason games.
Braden Holtby turned aside 19 of 23 Lightning shots. He has a 10-4 record, 2.18 GAA, and .921 save percentage in 14 playoff contests.
Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 36 of 38 shots last night. He bounced back after surrendering a combined 10 goals over the first two games of the series.
Game 4 is set for Thursday at 8:00 p.m. ET.