Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals Matchup 5/17/18

Hedman, Lightning beat Caps to cut East final deficit to 2-1 NHL: Tampa Bay cut the lead in the series against Washington
Lucia Summers | 18 May, 2018, 04:07

He had an assist on power play goals by Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov and helped kill three penalties.

Washington could get a boost if center Nicklas Backstrom, who has missed the last four games with an injured hand, returns.

With a win in Game 4 on Thursday, the Washington Capitals can take a 3-1 over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL's Eastern Conference finals.

They possessed the puck, making the Capitals chase the game rather than chasing it themselves, thanks to some tactical adjustments and line scrambling.

With a win, the Lightning can regain the home-ice advantage - or disadvantage, as the visiting team has won the first three games - before the teams travel to Tampa Bay for Saturday's Game 5. Those numbers were around 60% in the first two games.

Washington now has something to play for.

If one looks at the Washington Capitals, they are 3-4 at home, but they are 7-1 on the road. The road team is 4-0 in the last four meetings.

Don't get fooled into thinking the road team will win every game just because it has happened so far.

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"Of course, you feel it a little bit when your ownership - management - goes out and makes some big trades", Stamkos said. Heading into the All-Star Game, Kucherov led all scorers with 64 points; Stamkos was tied for third with 58.

"When they go in the net, they're all nice", he said.

Hedman has a goal and 10 assists during an eight-game point streak.

The Lightning would still like to cut down on the quality chances Vasilevskiy has to stop in Game 4 on Thursday and beyond, like the one Brett Connolly scored on after a turnover by Ondrej Palat. The team's had to kill penalties 8.8 minutes per game over their last five outings. If they aren't moving the needle against Washington's best players, it's going to be the biggest reason why the Lightning don't rally back and claim the East. "He's one of our key leaders and one of our best players".

As you'd expect, with Washington up 2-1 and hosting Game 4, they are the clear favorites, according to our numbers, with a 66.4% chance to win the series. Vasilevskiy was on his game, but so was the team in front of him. We all know it's going to be a tough series. "I think we had a little chip on our shoulder coming in and we've put ourselves in a position to do that again this year".

If Barry Trotz and company can repeat their magic over the next few games, we could finally see an Ovechkin-led Capitals team play in a Stanley Cup final.

This was how it should be for Tampa Bay.

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