January 22, 2019

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

16 May 2018, 09:18 | Anna Jefferson

Around the NHL: Capitals Halfway to Reaching Final

Capitals jump out to 2-0 series lead, return home for Game 3 tonight

All three were out for the Game 6 series clincher in Pittsburgh, the 2-1 overtime win that not only immortalized Evgeny Kuznestov, but may well have overturned the team's faint-of-heart postseason rep - largely because they overcame that many missing key players. Sure, Stamkos has two goals and one assist so far - but all of those points have been courtesy of the power play unit. Much like the first two games of the series, a strong start will be important as the teams battle for the lead, and that means on both ends of the ice in a series already defined by quick offensive outbursts. And they found one in their headline players. Among the other Knights to come up big in Game 2 was Tomas Tatar, who provided a big boost with the opening goal while replacing David Perron in the lineup. But Tuesday was a different story.

Tampa Bay gets a shot at knotting the series in Thursday's Game 4 at Capital One Arena.

NOTES: C Lars Eller took three of Washington's six penalties. Brayden Point of the Lightning deflated them 5 minutes and 32 seconds later with his sixth goal of the playoffs. Sixteen seconds into the power play and 1:50 into the second period, Nikita Kucherov fired a one timer of his own past Holtby for a 2-0 lead.

In Game One, the Capitals took the lead early with two goals in the first period and never trailed, taking the series lead with a 4-2 win on Friday night. The Bolts suffered a gut punch in Game 1, and came back to win. With home ice, you get four games where you get the last change. Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper offered his perspective on home ice after the game: "Home ice advantage is Game Seven to me".

The Lightning rebounded to take a 2-1 lead in the first period of Game Two, but the Capitals responded with 5 unanswered goals to take a convincing 2-0 series lead.

And another Lightning goal!

Coach Barry Trotz said on Tuesday that Backstrom remains "day-to-day". We all knew what was happening - the Capitals most of all - and they were powerless to stop it.

It wasn't ideal, but it was a more complete effort from Tampa Bay, which jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Brett Connolly answered for Washington in the second.

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. They are seeking their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final since the 1997-98 season.

"We know (the Capitals) have a great power play, and they obviously played around in the first two games and got some big goals", Hedman said.

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