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Lightning pull game back in Eastern Conference final

16 May, 2018, 12:44 | Author: Greg Wolfe
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The Washington Capitals' captain eyed the sliver of open net, stood poised at point-blank range to Vasilevskiy's left, ready to net a tying goal late in the first period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals at Capital One Arena.

Backstrom missed most of the third period in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins and was held out for Game 6 as the Capitals clinched the series.

Backstrom has participated in morning skates with the Capitals, but has not taken line rushes or any time with their power-play units. "I thought he was in the zone tonight right from the get-go, but I thought our team helped him out this time, where I don't think we help him out in Games 1 and 2".

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).

After the first two games, it seemed possible that the Caps would return back to Washington and simply end the series against Tampa Bay. The brief flames kept getting extinguished by Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, in a 180-degree turn from the series' first two games.

That's a 5-5 goal with 16:04 left in the second. Even with the horrendous calls in the first period of Game 2, the Caps prevailed, and it wasn't even close.

The Bolts get a power play.

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To Cooper, the issue is that "for two games, we've dried up". 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.

As clinically as Tampa Bay eliminated New Jersey and Boston in five games apiece, Washington is rolling behind the scoring of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov and the goaltending of Braden Holtby, who has stopped 52 of 56 shots through two games. Part of it was Vasilevskiy, who made the big saves when he needed to, but the bigger difference was that the Lightning was not constantly putting their goalie in a position to bail them out of trouble.

It was especially true in the third period, when the Capitals took three penalties while trying to claw back into a game they trailed 3-1.

4 on 3 for the Bolts.

The Capitals finally got on the board when Brett Connolly scored at 10:31 of the second. They will set out to show the home crowd that Tuesday's special teams shortcomings were an aberration. You can only play with fire so long before you get burnt.

"Power play make everything". "Not good enough for power play, but we will be better for sure".

"It's hard to cover all of them", Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman said.

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