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Animosity Is Good. The Caps Will Bounce Back From This

Animosity Is Good. The Caps Will Bounce Back From This

"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 Lightning under Cooper haven't lost the first two games of a series since 2014, when they were swept in the first round by Montreal.

After dropping the opening two games of the Eastern Conference Finals at home to the Washington Capitals, the Tampa Bay Lightning needed a win on the road to avoid being pushed to the brink of elimination.

Game 3 on Tuesday night in Washington can't come soon enough for the Lightning, who are in a historically hard spot after losing twice at home to open the series.

"I can't wait to go home and play the game", Alex Ovechkin told the Washington Post after Game 2. Their first two goals in Game 3 came on the power play. Two minutes after that, they went on the power play, and Steven Stamkos blistered a one-timer less than a minute into it to give Tampa Bay a lead it never gave up. Hedman assisted on that one too; and then Kucherov fed Hedman for a goal 1:47 later to make it 3-0.

The Capitals finally got on the board when Brett Connolly scored at 10:31 of the second. Plenty other firepower lifted the Atlantic Division champs Tuesday night-Hedman's three points, goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy's 36 saves, a penalty kill responsible for snuffing all three of Washington's 5-on-4 chances, to name several-everything stemmed from Stamkos and Kucherov igniting the fuse.




"They came in here, they're desperate and they played that way", said Capitals coach Barry Trotz.

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. 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. To be fair to the rest of the Lightning, though, he had a lot of help at his end, as much as he had from the goal scorers who broke the game open.

"They got some looks, but he was right there".

Eller's first penalty led to Tampa Bay's second goal, via Nikita Kucherov. "They've got a ton of experience and when their backs have been against the wall, they've shown a propensity to fight back".

Throughout the regular season, the Lightning had the best record in the Eastern Conference. "Not good enough for power play, but we will be better for sure".

It was true last round against Boston, when the linemates combined for two goals and an assist in a Game 4 road win. But Washington's power play could not connect on its opportunities the way that Tampa Bay had. Quite the difference from Game 2.