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.
Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper didnt waver on his young goalies status "Hes our guy", Cooper said before Tuesday nights game at Capital One Arena and Vasilevskiy delivered on his coachs confidence. The Capitals know first hand how unsafe it can be to squander a 2-0 lead at home, having survived being in the Lightning's position in the opening round when they dropped the first two games to the Columbus Blue Jackets only to win three straight road games en route to a 4-2 series win. "It's how we're playing and our effort, our game plan". When you have a really good team like they do across the way, if you're going to give them open ice to make their plays, that team will kill you - and they did it for two games. In Game 3, the Lightning's stars shined back in a 4-2 win that turned this into a series again.
And the goal was a big one, because finally it meant the Lightning earned an early lead, and because, in the early goings of Game 3, they really did not look like a team that deserved to win this one.
If the Lightning can't figure out how to fix many of their problems from the net out, it'll be a short series.
But soon after, Steven Stamkos rocketed the Lightnings first goal a one-timer on a power play from the left circle and Tampa Bay didnt let up. He then added a tally of his own late in the second frame to push the Lightning's lead to 4-1.
"Thats just guys sacrificing their body for the team", center Brayden Point said. Washington saw Braden Holtby allow four goals on 23 shots to fall 10-3-1 in the playoffs.
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Evgeny Kuznetsov - Washington's playmaking centre scored a goal and had 15 shot attempts (12 SOG) in the 4-2 Game Three loss against Tampa Bay. Stamkos converted first, with about six minutes to go in the opening period, wiring one home from his usual spot on the off-wing-that shot you know is coming, but you still can't stop it. "They scored, we didn't and that's on us", Kuznetsov said.
The Bolts did a number of other positive things in Game 3 to get back in the series and perhaps change the tide. I mean, that being said, I think we should be probably mentally stronger to not let that affect us. He's always there, he's always there for us and tonight we did a good job in front of him.
"We haven't done anything yet", Stamkos says.
And though they may not admit it, thrashing the Lightning twice on the road may have sent the message that the hardest part of the Cup quest was over. But you have to make adjustments at some point to give your team what you feel is it's best chance to succeed.
"We checked. That was it", said Cooper, on the differences between the first two games and Game 3. "It just happened to work out for us". "That's what we came in here tonight to do". "We've made it a series".