Thursday’s Game 4 played out very differently than Game 3, but in the end the result was the same as the Tampa Bay Lightning evened up the series against the Capitals with a 4-2 win.
After dominating both games in Tampa Bay, the Capitals were outplayed in Game 3 and were handed the loss. That was not the case on Thursday. Washington was by far the better team, dominating the Lightning for most of the game. Yet, they still could not get the win.
An ill-advised pass
You have to be careful with the puck in the defensive zone. Michal Kempny was not in the first period. He attempted a blind, backhanded pass up the middle while in his own zone as he tried to get the puck to John Carlson.
It never got there.
The pass was off target and Yanni Gourde picked it up. That started a tic-tac-toe play as Gourde passed to Tyler Johnson who passed to Brayden Point for the goal.
That goal really stung considering just 70 seconds earlier, Dmitry Orlov had put Washington up 1-0.
The Caps lost Game 3 by two goals after allowing Tampa Bay to score twice on the power play. In Game 4, special teams were again a factor.
The Lightning had only two power play opportunities on the night. Steven Stamkos scored on the first attempt in the first period to put Tampa Bay up 2-1. The second opportunity came midway through the third period. The Caps technically killed it off, but just six seconds after the penalty expired, Alex Killorn scored the game-winner. So while the scoresheet says the Lightning had one power play goal, the power play actually set up two of their tallies on the night.
Washington, meanwhile did not score on any of their four power plays, including three in the first period.
Considering how good Tampa Bay’s power play is, the Capitals really needed to stay out of the penalty box. They did for the most part taking only two penalties in 60 minutes. Eller, however, took both. In the past two games he has been called for five minor penalties. That’s far too much considering Washington’s penalty kill still has not figured out how to defend against the Lightning’s power play unit.
Goalies can turn a series and Vasilevskiy absolutely has done that. He has been brilliant since the series turned to Washington. He was torched by the Caps in Game 1 and Game 2, but saved 72 of the 76 shots he faced in the past two games, both wins, for a save percentage of .947.
More Caps News:
- 3 stars: Bolts even series