Lightning desperate to fix problems down 0-2 to Capitals


It was also one of the few times in this series that the Lightning weren't chasing the game, something that the Capitals had exploited in Games 1 and 2.

And for a moment - and almost the next 40 minutes after - the criticism that had peppered Vasilevskiy in the first two games of this series came to a screeching halt.

Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Amalie Arena on May 13, 2018 in Tampa, Florida.

Tampa Bay won for the first time in the series and will try to pull even in Game 4, which is set for Thursday night in Washington.

The Capitals are 0-2 all-time after winning Games 1 and 2 on the road.

In the first two games of the series, the Capitals' dominance appeared in the score sheet not in special teams, but in even-strength goals.

The power plays have canceled out with each team going 3-for-7, so the difference is at 5-on-5, when the Capitals have outscored the Lightning 7-1.

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It wasn't flawless, but it was a more complete effort from Tampa Bay, which jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Brett Connolly answered for Washington in the second. Less than two minutes later, Victor Hedman made it 3-0 Lightning. Brayden Point's goal less than five minutes later allowed the Atlantic Division champions to play with a comfortable lead that survived Evgeny Kuznetsov's 6-on-5 goal with 3:02 remaining. 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.

Which power-play blast did Cooper like better? A lone bright spot in the poor homestand was captain Steven Stamkos appearing to heat up [VIDEO]after a slow start to the playoffs, and Stamkos and the rest of the Lightning's marquee names all came through huge in game three.

"We had to check tonight, and it helped it go in our favor".

The Lightning had the third best power play during the regular season.

"A big thing for us, and I think it's worked I guess in the three games, is the team that really gets the lead is the team that's in the driver's seat", Cooper said. Heading into Game 3 against the Caps, he had just one goal in seven games.

"Ones where it just come off the stick", Stamkos said later, "and you know it feels really good".

"Those guys have delivered when we've needed them", said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. But Washington's power play could not connect on its opportunities the way that Tampa Bay had. "The goal is to win a championship, but you can't look too far ahead", Stamkos said.