Game 3 preview: Lightning face near must-win situation against Capitals

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"They know and we know both teams have pretty good special teams and if we're going to play like that, they're going to use it", Alex Ovechkin said.

Which power-play blast did Cooper like better? Cooper explained the difference in his goalie's peformances from the first two games to tonight. But Tuesday was a different story. Brayden Point's goal less than five minutes later allowed the Atlantic Division champions to play with a comfortable lead that survived Evgeny Kuznetsov's 6-on-5 goal with 3:02 remaining. Coincidentally, Lars Eller, who had been thriving in Backstrom's usual spot as second-line center, had a rough evening and went to the penalty box three times. Before that, Steven Stamkos opened scoring for the Lightning late in the first period after Braden Holtby was called for tripping.

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. They're already in as enviable a position as there is: since 1975, teams with 2-0 leads in a conference finals or semifinals are 39-2. He has four points in two games. The undersized forward notched a pair of goals in the win over the Jets in Winnipeg, giving the Knights a road split ahead of Wednesday's Game 3 at home and reminding everyone of the sizable chip on their shoulder.


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). Washington outscored Tampa Bay a combined 7-1 during 5-on-5 in Games 1 and 2.

And as they have in other critical junctures of this postseason, the Lightning relied on their best players to rise to the occasion and rescue a series that had been firmly in their opponents' grasp.

"It took a lot of flow out of our game", Trotz said. "I think we showed the hockey world that we [earned] the right to be here and we're able to play against a great team", he said.


With the lead, Tampa came out of intermission playing like their regular season selves, dominating in the neutral zone and capitalizing on mistakes.

Stamkos's only shot on goal for the night was a goal and that's essentially because he fired it as hard as he possibly could.

4 on 3 for the Bolts. It was the first time they've netted the opening score in the Eastern Conference Final.


We remain scoreless with nearly six minutes played in the first period. "For us to get two goals today and shut them down on the PK was big".

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