The Tampa Bay Lightning were no-shows in Game 1 and Game 2, but they woke up as the series shifted to Washington. The Lightning struck back against the Capitals with a 4-2 win to take Game 3 and cut Washington's series lead down to 2-1.
Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov each scored on the power play to put Tampa up 2-0. Victor Hedman then struck to make it 3-0 and the game felt lost. Brett Connolly woke the Caps up briefly to make it 3-1, but Brayden Point soon restored the Lightning's three-goal lead less than six minutes later.
Here are the three stars of the game.
3 Stars of Capitals vs. Lightning Game 3
1. Victor Hedman: When you work the point of a power play and get to choose between setting up Stamkos or Kucherov for the one-timer, that’s a pretty good place to be. Hedman recorded the primary assist on both of Tampa’s first power play goals, first setting up Stamkos and then Kucherov as Tampa took a 2-0 lead.
Hedman then provided the dagger as he tapped the puck into an open net less than two minutes later to make it 3-0 in the second period.
That was the point when it felt like the game had really gotten away from the Caps.
2. Steven Stamkos: With their backs against the wall, the Lightning needed their best players to step up. Stamkos answered the call with a goal and an assist. He got the Lightning on the board in the first period with a blistering one-timer to the top corner from Alex Ovechkin’s office. The puck stayed flat all the way until it hit net.
3. Brett Connolly: The Caps looked completely out of sorts for much of the game, but Connolly gave them a wake-up call midway through the second period. Matt Niskanen pinched at the offensive blue line to keep the puck in the zone and it went right to Chandler Stephenson who fed Connolly for the one-timer. The Caps looked better after that until Point’s goal again took the wind out of their sails.
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