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Capitals' Backstrom Returns, Expects to Be Back to Normal Soon

18 May 2018

Brayden Point scored a goal and picked up an assist in Thursday's 4-2 Game 4 win over the Washington Capitals.

The Capitals controlled the puck for the majority of the game, outshooting Tampa Bay 38-20. Dmitry Orlov made a nice spin move at the blue line to the keep the play alive. The goalie also stuffed T.J. Oshie's attempt at a putback, but Oshie flung the puck back to Orlov at the left circle for another try, and he scored on a slap shot. Yanni Gourde, Tyler Johnson and Point took advantage of a bad giveaway from Michal Kempny to use some quick passing and beat Braden Holtby for Tampa's first goal of the night. Stamkos and Point had first-period goals as Tampa Bay overcame an early 1-0 deficit. And yet, there were four penalties in the first period and another two in the second and third periods.

Tony Cirelli added an empty-netter with a mere two seconds left to cap an improbable victory.

Washington was the better team. Sometimes that's what it takes to win the Stanley Cup. Because of Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made a decision to take on the game-stealer role. The Tampa Bay Lighting are averaging 3.5 goals per game and are scoring on 23.9 percent of their power play opportunities. The Lightning have produced 11 power-play goals over their last nine games, with at least one in each. The Tampa Bay Lighting have allowed three or less goals in six of their last eight games.

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Stamkos had five power-play goals in 13 playoff games heading into Thursday's Game 4 against the Capitals. It's a best-of-three series thanks to the Russian goaltender.

The Lightning host Game 5 on Saturday night, with Game 6 back in Washington on Monday.

A hard-luck loss included two penalties by fill-in No. 2 center Lars Eller, who has five penalties in the past two games. By the time Killorn slid the puck past Holtby, Eller wasn't even in the picture. Instead, the Lightning evened the conference finals at 2-2 with a 4-2 win against the Capitals.

All three Tampa goals came on Holtby's right side of the net, and perhaps Tampa has figured out his weakness. Note to Washington, you may want to put a body on the guy who finished the regular season fifth in power play goals. "Hes one of the best in the world, and he shows that every game, and especially tonight". Against the Pittsburgh Penguins after that, the two teams split the first two games 1-1 before going 2-2. They outshot the Lightning 15-7, but they either misfired or chose to not shoot on several key opportunities.

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Instead, the Caps lost both games at home.

It was a performance much like the one Marc-Andre Fleury turned in during Game 3 of the series between the Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets.

They won despite falling behind about 4 1/2 minutes into the game.

Maybe it just isn't in the cards for the home team in this series. And if Steven Stamkos and Co. can rise to the occasion again in Game 4, they'll head back home all tied up.

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Further complicating matters was that Ovechkin spent virtually all six minutes of the futile power plays on the ice and logged a game-high 10:42 of first-period ice time on his 32-year-old legs.

Capitals' Backstrom Returns, Expects to Be Back to Normal Soon