TAMPA, Fla. --Alex Ovechkin had one of his best periods of the season to help the Washington Capitals claim a rare lead against the Tampa Bay Lightning going into the second intermission. However, he and his teammates couldn't duplicate their effort in the final 20 minutes.
Ovechkin finished Game 3 with a goal, an assist and five shots on net in more than 24 minutes of ice time. He was on the ice for 5:45 of the final 11:01 as the Capitals tried to rally after yielding two quick goals, but the Lightning prevailed 4-3 and now lead this Eastern Conference Semifinal series 3-0.
Ovechkin's goal came on the power play, but it was during a two-man advantage as the Capitals again struggled to generate offense in 5-on-4 situations. Mike Green got a shot to the net from near the right point, and Ovechkin was able to find the puck in the ensuing scrum to beat Dwayne Roloson, who had lost his stick during the play.
It was Ovechkin's team-leading fifth goal of this postseason. He also set up Mike Knuble's goal 59 seconds into the period with a great individual effort to steal a pass by Martin St. Louis, skate to the other end and after Roloson poked the puck away from him he retrieved it in the corner and threw it back in front of the net where Knuble was waiting.
Here's what Ovechkin had to say after the game:
Q: Every time you had a lead, it was gone. How frustrating was that for you?
A: Yeah, it is a situation where they have two chances and they score on two chances. Again, I think we dominate them all game -- simple as that. They just score on their chances. They play solid game in defense and Roloson play again great, but it is not over. It is what it is. We're going to fight and we're going to win.
Q: Did you guys play too safe in the third period?
A: I think we knew they were going to come hard when we were up 3-2 and we have a lead. Again, we make mistakes. They used two mistakes and they score.
Q: How would you describe what you're up against now. Is this still winnable?
A: It is not over. We won't give up. We're going to win.
Q: You've gotten so comfortable in one-goal games, with one-goal leads. Why couldn't you do it tonight?
A: We try but again, they have to score and they score. We have to defend our lead and play our game, but we didn't. I think when we get the puck deep only one guy was chasing. We tried to play too safe. We didn't play our way at all.
Q: Did you think after the second period that you guys had things under control?
A: I think we've had all three games in our hands, but we lost all three. It is hockey and it is hockey. Again, it is not over. They win three. We can win three. It is going to be a battle.