Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Kristi Paul

Lightning ride three-goal second period in 4-2 win

Lightning ride three-goal second period in 4-2 win

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who made primary assists on both power-play goals and then scored his first goal of the playoffs, said he was "more satisfied" with his team's performance on the penalty kill than the power play. Vasilevskiy had 36 saves in the 4-2 win, stymieing the Capitals offensive power from the first two games and advancing the series to 2-1 to ensure the Lightning will return home at least one more time. "It's how we're playing and our effort, our game plan. Vasilevskiy's going to have to play unbelievably well unless the Capitals take a step back". Those last-second power play goals, including a buzzer-beater, aren't exactly routine, especially in back-to-back games.

And Vasilevskiy looked much less worn out than he did in the first two games, where he allowed 10 goals in five periods of play and never eclipsed a.850 save percentage.

If the Lightning can't figure out how to fix many of their problems from the net out, it'll be a short series.

The Bolts are fighting off a Caps power play with a little over 15 minutes left in the period.

The Capitals certainly aren't panicking at 2-1, but they need to be wary of their own ugly history when winning the first two games on the road (they're 0-2 in a series where they do that).

"Thats just guys sacrificing their body for the team", center Brayden Point said.

The Capitals outshot the Lightning 38-23 but didn't help goaltender Braden Holtby with six minor penalties.

It was about an hour before the start of Game 3 when Nikita Kucherov grabbed a ball and glove and began to play catch in the middle of a hallway with a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning's communications staff. And Evgeny Kuznetsov netted an odd-angled attempt with about three minutes left.

While Brett Connolly breathed life back into these Capitals and this crowd when he made it 3-1 mid-way through the second, beating Vasilevskiy blocker-side, the euphoria was short-lived. "I liked the way we responded tonight". He's always there, he's always there for us and tonight we did a good job in front of him. Pointer getting that fourth one kind of popped the balloon. But you have to make adjustments at some point to give your team what you feel is it's best chance to succeed.

"You think of Kucherov and Stamkos, those guys leading the charge", coach Jon Cooper said, "when we've needed them in big games ... those guys have delivered". "It just happened to work out for us".

"A big thing for us, and I think it's worked I guess in the three games, is the team that really gets the lead is the team that's in the driver's seat", Cooper said. The Lightning held the Devils to 7 goals in the Lightning's four wins [VIDEO] in the opening round and preventing the Bruins from scoring a 5-on-5 goal for the final three games of their series.

"We checked. That was it", he said. But if anyone should know better than to look too far ahead, it's the Capitals and their long-suffering supporters. "There's no secret. We've dug ourselves a hole here, but by no means is it something that we can't overcome".

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