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5 Keys: Capitals at Lightning, Game 5

Washington needs more from power play; Tampa Bay wants more shots

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

CAPITALS at LIGHTNING

7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVAS

Best-of-7 series tied 2-2

 

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will move within one win of reaching the Stanley Cup Final if they become the first team to win a home game in the Eastern Conference Final. They play Game 5 against the Washington Capitals at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

 

[RELATED: Complete Lightning vs. Capitals series coverage]

 

The Capitals will move within one win of their first Cup Final in 20 years if they win their fourth consecutive road game. They're 7-1 away from Washington in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here are 5 keys for Game 5:

 

1. Pucks in deep

Players and coaches always talk about getting pucks in deep, which means putting it behind the defensemen to allow the forecheckers to create chaos that leads to turnovers.

The Lightning thrive off this style. They haven't done so consistently in this series. Turnovers have been a problem at times.

"When you do that, you're just continually chasing yourself back into your own end," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

 

2. Eller's discipline

Capitals center Lars Eller committed five minor penalties in Games 3 and 4, giving the Lightning four power plays (one was a matching minor). They scored on two of them.

Eller has been good in this series, especially in the absence of Nicklas Backstrom in Games 1-3. He had four points in the first two games, including a goal and two assists in Game 1. But he can't keep parading to the box.

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm2: Eller redirects home Vrana's pass

 

3. Tampa Bay's discipline

A big issue for the Lightning in Game 4 was penalty problems, especially in the first period. They gave the Capitals three power plays in the final 8:40 and then one at 7:08 of the second.

The Lightning killed all four, but the string of penalties in the first limited the ice time for some of their most dangerous offensive players, including forwards Brayden Point, J.T. Miller and Yanni Gourde, and defenseman Mikhail Sergachev.

They all struggled to feel their way back into the game in the second period, when the Lightning were outshot 14-6.

It's asking a lot of the penalty killers to keep Washington's power play off the board if given that many opportunities again.

 

4. Capitals power play must step up

Washington was 0-for-7 with the extra man in Games 3 and 4. Worse yet, Tampa Bay scored on three of its seven opportunities.

The Capitals need their power play to step up, which means getting the puck to Alex Ovechkin in the left face-off circle or T.J. Oshie in the slot.

Video: WSH@TBL, Gm2: Ovechkin buries Kuznetsov's setup

Ovechkin had three shots on Washington's first power play in Game 4; none on its next three. Oshie had two shots on goal on the power play in Game 4; they were his only two shot attempts.

Tampa Bay had 14 blocked shots on the PK in the past two games, including six in Game 4.

"I think we're getting looks, we just need to put it in, really," Oshie said. "They're going to do a good job. You see [Ryan] Callahan last game. They're willing to pay the price. We have to work it fast enough so they don't get a chance to have those big blocks."

 

5. Lightning need more shots

Tampa Bay won Games 3 and 4 despite getting outshot 76-43, including 60-35 at even strength. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 72 saves.

Tampa Bay needs to have more of a shot-first mentality.

"We'll spend 30-35 seconds in their end, not get a shot," Cooper said. "Everybody is just skating around, skating around, tiring themselves out looking for the perfect shot when sometimes it's the 'C' and 'B' chances that create the 'A' chances."

 

Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Tom Wilson

Chandler Stephenson -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Jakub Vrana -- Lars Eller -- Brett Connolly

Devante Smith-Pelly -- Jay Beagle -- Alex Chiasson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Michal Kempny -- John Carlson

Brooks Orpik -- Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Andre Burakovsky, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek, Shane Gersich, Travis Boyd, Nathan Walker, Pheonix Copley

Injured: None

 

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Steven Stamkos -- Nikita Kucherov

Yanni Gourde -- Brayden Point -- Tyler Johnson

Alex Killorn -- Anthony Cirelli -- J.T. Miller

Chris Kunitz -- Cedric Paquette -- Ryan Callahan

Victor Hedman -- Dan Girardi

Ryan McDonagh -- Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn -- Mikhail Sergachev

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Louis Domingue

Scratched: Andrej Sustr, Jake Dotchin, Slater Koekkoek, Cory Conacher, Peter Budaj

Injured: Adam Erne (lower body)

 

Status report

Backstrom will move back into his usual spot as the No. 2 center after playing on the third line in Game 4, his first game after missing four in a row with an injury to his right hand. Eller had been on the second line. … Chiasson is returning after being scratched in Game 4. Burakovsky, who played in the first four games of the series, is out.

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