Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Culture | By Margie Dunn

Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning - 5/17/18 NHL Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning - 5/17/18 NHL Pick, Odds, and Prediction

In other words, the first Eastern Conference final on Washington's home ice in 20 years didn't go exactly as planned for the Capitals, though the raising of a new banner to the rafters - it says "All Caps" and was ridden by the team mascot, an eagle named Slapshot - went off without a hitch pre-game, and the crowd didn't give up on their "Let's go Caps!" until it was officially over. And the Lightning, who are still down 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, will try to do it again in Game 4 in Washington on Thursday.

"I think we always feel like we owe him", defenseman Anton Stralman said. "It's how we're playing and our effort, our game plan".

Both teams entered the game red-hot on the power play, and the Lightning's risky extra-man unit continued its terrorizing ways.

Stamkos stepped up his game with a 60% CF%, Vasilevskiy was solid, and the Lightning checked enough of the boxes elsewhere to get themselves back into the series, defeating the Capitals 4-2 in Game 3.

"I'm put in a position to produce, and I put that pressure on myself to do it", said Hedman, who has a goal and 10 assists during an eight-game point streak. Two minutes after that, they went on the power play, and Steven Stamkos blistered a one-timer less than a minute into it to give Tampa Bay a lead it never gave up.

Just 1:47 after Kucherov put the Lightning up 2-0, Victor Hedman pushed the lead to three goals with his score on a wide-open net after Kucherov did most of the heavy lifting to get Hedman a free look in the slot.

"Thats just guys sacrificing their body for the team", center Brayden Point said.

And Braden Holtby, who had been largely lights-out since regaining his starting goaltender spot in the second game of the playoffs, suffered through arguably his worst night of the postseason.

Eller's first penalty led to Tampa Bay's second goal, via Nikita Kucherov. And Evgeny Kuznetsov netted an odd-angled attempt with about three minutes left. Less than 10 minutes to go.

"We have so much confidence in (him)", Stamkos said.

But the Capitals did not get away with that cleanly, because Michal Kempny committed a cross-check 16 seconds later and forced them into defending a 4-on-3 rather than mounting a comeback. "Like I said, hes been outstanding for us all year, and he was great tonight".

"When you're in a situation like we were, we needed to do it tonight". "It's been a heck of a run, but we really haven't changed our lineup at all getting to this point". "There's no secret. We've dug ourselves a hole here, but by no means is it something that we can't overcome". "We know they're really risky off the rush and we're trying limit their odd-man rushes". But if anyone should know better than to look too far ahead, it's the Capitals and their long-suffering supporters.

"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. "We've made it a series".

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