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Kucherov snaps out of funk in must win game for Lightning

16 May, 2018, 12:46 | Author: Christina Hansen
  • Caps Fans Grab Some Of Their Teams Swagger Going Into Game 3 Tonight

Thanks to strong performances from their four All-Stars they came away with a 4-2 victory to cut the Capitals series lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

"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.

Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom did not play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning because of a hand injury.

Tampa Bay won for the first time in the series and will try to pull even in Game 4, which is set for Thursday night in Washington.

Stamkos opened the scoring with 6:07 remaining in the first period.

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Truthfully, Vasilevskiy didn't have to perform magic very often, but for 2 1/2 periods, he stopped everything, and it was 3-0 and looking very lopsided before the Caps finally beat him. "We believe in ourselves and in this group", Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman told the team's website.

Meanwhile, the Capitals' vaunted power play, which features Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie, Lars Eller (in Backstrom's place) and John Carlson on the top half, failed to convert on one opportunity in every period. Washington D Michal Kempny was fined $2,419 - the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement - for cross-checking Lightning F Cedric Paquette during Game 2.

"You're going to see there's a lot of five guys in the picture", Washington coach Barry Trotz said. The three All-Star skaters combined for 7 points (3 goals, four assists) during the 3-goal blitz, which took just 9:44, while Vasilevskiy posted a.947 save percentage including several big saves while the game was still close to prevent the Capitals from gaining any momentum. But if Kucherov even received a phone call from the NHL Department of Player Safety, the conversation was little more than a "Hi, how are ya?" for there he was in the lineup on Tuesday.

The score remains 4-1 in Tampa's favor with 3:41 left in the game. We rely on him a ton, he's a horse and most nights if he's going well, we're going well as a team. "We've got to go out there and win games on the road, and we've done that in the playoffs and we've got to do it again".

But in the first 20 minutes on this must-win night for Tampa, Kucherov was worse than invisible. "It's just so much better to play with the lead".

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"I just thought he was in the zone tonight right from the get go", Tampa Bay Coach Jon Cooper said. "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".

Both teams entered the game red-hot on the power play, and the Lightning's unsafe extra-man unit continued its terrorizing ways.

Did the Lightning feel they owed their goalie one, after hanging him out to dry for 10 goals in the first two games?

"We checked. That was it", said Cooper, on the differences between the first two games and Game 3.

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