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game recap

Lightning power past Capitals in Game 3 for first win of Eastern Final

Hedman has goal, two assists for Tampa Bay, which scores twice with man-advantage

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- Victor Hedman had a goal and two assists, and the Tampa Bay Lightning responded after back-to-back home losses by defeating the Washington Capitals 4-2 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final at Capital One Arena on Tuesday.

Game 4 of the best-of-7 series is here Thursday.

"We believed all along," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "We knew we weren't good enough, and credit to them, they played really good hockey the first two games. We needed to make adjustments. We did that. We worked on it. The players went out there and did what we needed to do."


[WATCH: All Lightning vs. Capitals highlights | Complete Lightning vs. Capitals series coverage]


Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point each had a goal and an assist, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves for the Lightning, who are 4-1 on the road in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Vasilevskiy allowed 10 goals on 62 shots in the first two games of the series.

"He's our best player," Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman said. "He's always there for us, and we did a good job for him tonight. When we're on, that gives him confidence. And that's how it should be."

Brett Connolly and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored, and Braden Holtby made 19 saves for the Capitals, who are 3-4 at home in the playoffs.

Video: TBL@WSH, Gm3: Connolly wires home Stephenson's pass

"We weren't playing as sharp as we normally can," Washington coach Barry Trotz said. "We weren't executing the way we normally did in the last couple of games. We were just off a little bit, and you can't be off in this game to have success. We will be better next game."

The Capitals put part of the blame for the loss on their lack of discipline. They were shorthanded five times, and the Lightning got power-play goals from Stamkos in the first period and Kucherov in the second.

Washington was 0-for-3 on the power play.

The Lightning scored two 5-on-5 goals after scoring one in the first two games.

"We were chasing the game all along," Trotz said.

Stamkos gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead with his third power-play goal in as many games at 13:53 of the first period. His one-timer from the left face-off circle beat Holtby high into the right corner of the net.

Stamkos has five goals and four assists in a six-game point streak.

"It doesn't matter who scores, as long as we win," Stamkos said. "But obviously, it's nice to perform at this time of the year. You always want to step up."

Kucherov made it 2-0 with a one-timer to the short side from the right circle at 1:50 of the second period. He has two goals, each on the power play, and four assists in a five-game point streak.

Video: TBL@WSH, Gm3: Kucherov beats Holtby on power play

Hedman extended the lead to 3-0 with his first goal of the playoffs at 3:37 of the second. He has an eight-game point streak (one goal, 10 assists), the longest by a defenseman in the NHL playoffs since Larry Murphy had a nine-game streak with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1995.

"I'm put in a position to produce, and I put that pressure on myself to do it," Hedman said.

Connolly cut the Tampa Bay lead to 3-1 at 10:31 of the second, but Point scored to make it 4-1 at 16:03.

"[Point] getting that fourth one kind of popped the balloon," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "It's just so much better to play with the lead."

Kuznetsov scored to make it 4-2 at 16:58 of the third after Washington pulled Holtby for the extra attacker.

Video: TBL@WSH, Gm3: Kuznetsov buries sharp-angle shot

"Nobody said it was going to be easy," Ovechkin said. "They're not going to give us two wins in a row in our house. We just have to play more desperate and play smarter."


Goal of the game

Stamkos' goal at 13:53 of the first period.

Video: TBL@WSH, Gm3: Stamkos blasts one-timer for PPG


Save of the game

Vasilevskiy stopping Ovechkin at 17:54 of the third period.

Video: TBL@WSH, Gm3: Vasilevskiy turns away Ovechkin's blast


Highlight of the game

Hedman's goal at 3:37 of the second period.

Video: TBL@WSH, Gm3: Hedman finishes Kucherov's great pass


They said it

"We checked. That was it. You've got to check in this league. When you have a really good team like they do across the way, if you're going to give them open ice to make their plays, that team will kill you, and they did it for two games. We had to check tonight, and it helped it go in our favor." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper


"You have to have a short memory and get the rest, regroup and have fun, enjoy the game. No one expected 4-0, right? We all know it's going to be a tough series. We just have to relax a little bit and stay positive. It's still fun." -- Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov


"We know they have a great power play, and they obviously played around in the first two games and got some big goals. For us to get two (power-play) goals today and shut them down on the PK was big. We're going to need that to keep going." -- Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman


Need to know

Trotz coached his 54th playoff game with the Capitals to pass Bryan Murray for most in Washington history. … Stamkos tied Martin St. Louis for most power-play goals in the playoffs (10) in Lightning history.


What's next

Game 4 of Eastern Conference Final at Capital One Arena on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)


Video: Lightning trim Capitals' series lead with Game 3 win



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