Game 3 preview: Lightning face near must-win situation against Capitals

Game 3 preview: Lightning face near must-win situation against Capitals

Even when they are on the road.

Steven Stamkos picked up a goal and an assist in Tuesday's 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. When six different players scored in Game 5 against Pittsburgh, Eller and Connolly were among them as well. "It's going to be pretty cool and pretty special".

The Capitals enter Tuesday's game with a 2-0 series lead over the Lightning.

It wasn't ideal, 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.

Carrying all of that into a Game 3 against a desperate team doesn't guarantee anything.

"We're going to need that to keep going", defenseman Victor Hedman said. We all knew what was happening - the Capitals most of all - and they were powerless to stop it. And as for Thurday's Game 4... the hero was not who you would expect.

The expansion Vegas Golden Knights, meanwhile, are slight favorites over their Western Conference opponents, the Winnipeg Jets, even though the latter has more first-line firepower and the series is even at 1-1. "I always like that, and I think that it brings out in the best in me, and now with Nick out I've just been playing more minutes".

The Lightning rebounded to take a 2-1 lead in the first period of Game Two, but the Capitals responded with 5 unanswered goals to take a convincing 2-0 series lead. Braden Holtby made 33 saves for Washington and has stopped 52 of 56 shots in two games, winning the goaltending battle with Andrei Vasilevskiy.

And Vasilevskiy looked much less worn out than he did in the first two games, where he allowed 10 goals in five periods of play and never eclipsed a.850 save percentage.

Nicklas Backstrom was expected to miss his fourth straight game Tuesday, and it's a testament to how well his teammates have played in his absence that coach Barry Trotz is in absolutely no hurry to rush him back. "For us to get two goals today and shut them down on the PK was big".

Did the Lightning feel they owed their goalie one, after hanging him out to dry for 10 goals in the first two games? "These first two games, that's the way we've played".

He had to be particularly good late in the game after Evgeny Kuznetsov (no surprise) found paydirt from a dirty angle for his sixth point in the series with Washington's net empty. "The goal is to win a championship, but we can't look too far ahead", Stamkos told reporters following the game. "Now we are, so we'll see what type of team we are".