Tampa Bay Lighting Hope To Bounce Back in Game 3

Tampa Bay Lighting Hope To Bounce Back in Game 3

Tampa Bay Lighting Hope To Bounce Back in Game 3

National Hockey League teams taking a 2-0 lead in a best of seven series go on to win the series 89 percent of the time.

Keeping them scoreless was never more crucial than in the first 10 minutes, when most of the game was played in the Lightning's end.

The Capitals' 4-2 loss Tuesday to the Tampa Bay Lightning was the first time Washington had lost since Backstrom injured his hand.

Vasilevskiy was a big part of holding on to the lead as he made seven saves on the penalty kill as part of a bounce-back performance after being criticized for his play earlier in the series.

For the Lightning to win one or two games, they'll need to get better production out of captain Steven Stamkos and winger Nikita Kucherov and better play out of goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who hasn't been at his best.

Victor Hedman scored his first goal of the playoffs less than two minutes later on what amounted to an empty net goal off a feed from Kucherov.

Eller and Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and two assists in Game 2, and Ovechkin and Tom Wilson each had a goal and an assist. Capitals coach Barry Trotz said before Tuesday's game that Backstrom remains "day-to-day".

Vasilevskiy came pretty close to saving the Lightning's season with his 36-save, 4-2 win that prevented them from going down three games to none. With the Lightning again on a power play, Kucherov ripped it from the right circle. The stop allowed Tampa Bay to enter the first intermission with a lead.

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"When we're letting your goalie see pucks and eliminating those Grade-A (scoring chances), it's going to help", Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

Throughout the regular season, the Lightning had the best record in the Eastern Conference. Brett Connolly cut the lead to 3-1 halfway through the period, but Tampa Bay regained a three goal lead with four minutes remain in the period on a quick shot by Brayden Point.

This isn't to say the Caps played poorly and still won in those games because of fluky goals. "Any time you look on the screen, there's five guys and that just means you're playing as a group of five, and you're playing connected and playing with real good structure and responsibility".

Washington didn't have much of the magic they found in abundance in Tampa, although their possession numbers showed they controlled the majority of the shot share. "If you can dominate the wall plays, you can usually have success and create odd-man rushes, and [we] do a good job of that".

As Cooper had said of Games 1 and 2: "It's 2-on-1 after 2-on-1". Those last-second power play goals, including a buzzer-beater, aren't exactly routine, especially in back-to-back games.

This was how it should be for Tampa Bay.

"We're confident in what he does for us", Cooper said.

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