The Capitals regained their number one (two?) center ahead of Game Four and looked to extend their series lead to two once again. Unfortunately for Washington it would be Alex Killorn providing the game winning goal with eight minutes to play to knot the series at two games apiece.
Here’s Thursday night's Plus/Minus:
Plus: The Capitals’ second period was nearly flawless and allowed them to claw their way back to a temporary tie with Tampa Bay.
Minus: Washington must stay out of the penalty box through this series’ final two or three contests. Lars Eller was whistled for a pair of minor penalties which both cost the Capitals.
Ten more notes on the game.
- Nicklas Backstrom made his return to the Washington lineup (forcing Alex Chiasson to nacho-duty). Backstrom’s 13 points through 11 contests this postseason were welcomed back with open arms.
- Less than five minutes into the contest Dmitry Orlov put the Capitals ahead with a wicked slap shot that pierced Andrei Vasilevskiy on his glove side. With pressure mounting in the offensive zone T.J. Oshie worked the puck to Orlov on the wall and his one-touched shot touched twine.
- But seventy seconds later Brayden Point got the Lightning on the board with a goal of his own. A horrendous giveaway from Michal Kempny allowed Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson to work the puck to Point would scored into the wide open net.
- And before the first period was halfway through Tampa Bay struck again, this time with the man advantage, With Eller in the box for a marginal Holding minor Steven Stamkos crept in from the left circle and fired home a second Lightning goal.
- Early in the second period Evgeny Kuznetsov skated in alone and rifled a shot between Vasilevskiy’s pads to knot the score at two. An excellent primary assist from Alex Ovechkin allowed Kuznetsov the time and space necessary to play head games with Vasilevskiy before breaking the goal line’s plane.
- Washington continued their excellent play throughout the second period, outshooting the Lightning 8 to 0 through the frame’s opening eleven minutes. Through a full forty minutes of play the Capitals were outshooting their guests 29 to 13.
- Midway through the third period Eller was whistled for his second minor penalty of the contest, bringing Tampa Bay’s red hot power play back onto the ice.
- And for a second time, of course, they scored. Killorn picked up a puck in the slot and deked around Braden Holtby to put Tampa Bay ahead 3 to 2 with 8:03 to play.
- Killorn’s tally would provide the margin of victory, sending the Capitals back to Amalie Arena with the series tied at two games.
- With one second remaining Anthony Cirelli would extend Tampa Bay’s lead to 4 to 2 with an empty net goal.