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

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"It's unacceptable to let in that many [power-play] goals against our unit". He's always there for us, and we did a good job for him tonight. Their penalty kill's gone from 75.6 percent in the regular season to 73.2 percent in the playoffs.

That he was able to answer the bell in Game 3 bodes well for the Lightning - regardless of their depth. Heading into the All-Star Game, Kucherov led all scorers with 64 points; Stamkos was tied for third with 58.

The slick Swede has missed the past four games with a hand injury that didn't prevent him from signing a broom handed to him by Capitals fans anticipating a sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning prior to Game 3. It's not quite the "14 years of frustration" that Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said Alex Ovechkin has endured. Taking advantage of home ice will be absolutely pivotal - as such, look for the team's superstars to score early and play a relentless two-way game. "That can change in a heartbeat, just as the games do". But that didn't stop Cooper from marvelling at the speed, accuracy and sheer power of a shot that simply can not be stopped.

"When they go in the net, they're all nice", he said. "We weren't executing the way we normally did in the last couple of games". Hedman assisted on that one too; and then Kucherov fed Hedman for a goal 1:47 later to make it 3-0. Tampa Bay scored on each resulting power play.

"I think we always feel like we owe him", defenseman Anton Stralman said. "They [converted] in all three games on the power play". Strong performances from the likes of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy was the central avenue through which the Lightning snatched victory from the jaws of defeat so as to usher forth their first victory of the series.

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Stamkos, who leads the playoffs with five power-play goals and 11 power-play points, has scored a power-play goal in each of the three games against Washington, each on a one-timer from the left circle.

"Those are some of the top two, top 10, in my opinion, goal-scorers in the League with those two guys", Capitals forward Alex Chiasson said. "Obviously to get him back would be huge".

The Capitals have yet to find the right balance between pressuring Hedman at the point and closing the passing lane through the slot between Stamkos and Kucherov.

"We're in a position now where we can win one more game and get back home and really make a series of it", Stamkos said with Game 4 slated for Thursday here.

Hedman has a goal and 10 assists during an eight-game point streak. "That says a lot right there". "We're going to go over it". "We've had this core for a long time now and being so close, losing in the final (in 2015), everyone had a sense that we'd be a team that would have a chance to win every year".