The road teams continue to dominate in the series, and Tampa has cut the series lead to one. Can they even up at the series at two, or can the Capitals take a 3-1 stranglehold?
Once again these playoffs, the road teams continue to dominate, and the Tampa Bay Lightning got on the board in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a 4-2 win over the Capitals at Capital One Arena.
After two no-shows in the first two games on home ice, the Lightning found their groove and got it together like they needed to in order to make this a series. Steven Stamkos stayed red hot with a powerplay goal for a third straight game, and that Tampa Bay powerplay has been booming all series long. Andrei Vasilevskiy has also seemed to found his game again after allowing ten goals in the first two games, and posted a 36 save bounce back performance in Game 3. This is the Lightning we have been accustomed to seeing all season long, scoring at any opportunity and getting top notch goaltending. If they keep this up, they’ll be in good shape to take all momentum back.
The Capitals played far from their best game in Game 3, and it seemed at several points like they weren’t really trying that hard. The main thing they need to figure out before Game 4 is what has happened to their once-impeccable penalty kill. In the first two rounds, they killed about 20 consecutive penalties in the Columbus and Pittsburgh series but have now allowed five powerplay goals in three games this series. While they did win three straight without Nicklas Backstrom in the lineup, they need him back now. It was passable for a little while, but his playmaking ability and underrated defensive aspects were evidently needed in Game 3.
If both teams can finally show up on the ice at the same time this series, we’ve got the potential for a barnburner in Game 4. Eventually a home team has to win a game… right? This postseason has also been incredibly light on the overtimes, and we’ve got to be due for one eventually. Both Holtby and Vasilevskiy have 30-plus save performances to force extra time, and John Carlson sneaks a shot through traffic to put the Capitals up 3-1 in the series.
Game 4 Prediction: Capitals defeat Lightning 3-2 in Overtime