NHL Playoffs: Capitals Fall at Home to Lightning


The conditions were ripe for the Capitals to blow the Eastern Conference finals wide open Tuesday night.

Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos scored Game 2 goals - Vasilevskiy made 31 saves - for Tampa Bay, which lost two games in a row for the first time this postseason.

Road teams that have taken a 2-0 series lead in the National Hockey League conference finals have an 18-1 series record.

"We haven't done anything yet", said Stamkos.

To Cooper, the issue is that "for two games, we've dried up". It paid off with Kuznetsov's goal with 3:02 to play. "We've got the guys that are in the playoffs for the first time, guys have been through this, and we're capable of handling that".

"We know (the Capitals) have a great power play, and they obviously played around in the first two games and got some big goals", Hedman said.

They were damn near mirror images, cannonballs with silencers fixed to the muzzles, scorched from opposite faceoff circles into nothing but net.

It is the same deficit the Lightning erased against the Capitals in 2003.

"You just have different threats out there", Stamkos said. "They got to focus on just winning the next game".

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Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who made primary assists on both power-play goals and then scored his first goal of the playoffs, said he was "more satisfied" with his team's performance on the penalty kill than the power play.

Both teams entered the game red-hot on the power play, and the Lightning's risky extra-man unit continued its terrorizing ways. Those two penalties led to the first two goals for Tampa Bay.

Here are three takeaways from Tampa Bay's victory.

Andrei Vasilevskiy slid to his right, the puck rocketing from Alex Ovechkin's stick and hitting the 6-foot-3, 207-pound goaltender in the chest. "We're happy about getting ourselves back in the series, but definitely not satisfied". Capitals goalie Braden Holtby had no chance.

The Capitals strike back with 9:29 left in the 2nd.

"We're off to a heck of a start, but we've got to take care of business at home", defenseman Matt Niskanen said.

But as the final horn sounded in D.C. and Vasilevskiy skated off the ice as teammates went over to pat him on the helmet, the Lightning had changed the momentum of the series.

The Capitals scored twice late in the second period to take a 4-2 lead, including a power-play goal by Kuznetsov with three seconds left, and cruised home.

"Nobody said it was going to be easy", said Ovechkin. "Vasilevskiy's going to have to play unbelievably well unless the Capitals take a step back". Aside from the swell and the chill, though, everything indeed felt, as he said earlier, really good. This marks the fourth straight game he has missed. The Caps need to throw everything at the Lightning on Thursday to keep this series from being tied.