Tampa Bay Lightning even series at 2-2 with clutch road win


The Tampa Bay Lightning won Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals despite going the equivalent of more than a period without a shot on goal. Also seen is Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86), of Russian Federation.

Stamkos had five power-play goals in 13 playoff games heading into Thursday's Game 4 against the Capitals. Orlov's second goal of the playoffs was assisted by T.J. Oshie and Matt Niskanen.

Remarkably, all four games this series have now been taken by the road team.

With an unblemished 6-0 all-time record in games played in Washington's home rink, the Lightning probably figured they didn't have to resort to such tactics.

So after killing three power plays in the first period, in which Tampa Bay's unit scrambled to block shots with their bodies and clear pucks at every turn - the fourth was trickier without Hedman, perhaps the team's most versatile player. And the Capitals' power-play struggles cost them Game 4. Especially in the playoffs, when the games are so important.

And so it was vital that Vasilevskiy played just like the Vezina Trophy finalist he is. Vasilevskiy robbed Brett Connolly on a redirect.

After one flubbed chance, Ovechkin threw his head back and looked up, the very picture of disappointment.

With Tampa Bay on its heels, Washington tied the game when Alex Ovechkin flipped a pass to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who snuck behind the defence and slipped a shot through Vasilevskiy's pads.

More news: Bill Gates has some scary anecdotes about Donald Trump

Less than a minute after the opening faceoff, injured forward Nicklas Backstrom took the ice for his first shift of the Eastern Conference final and received a standing ovation.

That's partially because the Lightning made some adjustments on their penalty kill in an effort to neutralize Alex Ovechkin.

Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point each had a goal and an assist, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves as Tampa Bay built a 3-0 lead and short-circuited Washington's rally.

The Capitals are 14-2 in their last 16 road games, 77-32 in their last 109 games playing on 1 days rest and 10-4 in their last 14 overall.

- Bay Invasion (@BayInvasion) May 18, 2018Caps fans just booed the Caps and their power play, which while the team is up 2 games to 1 in their first ECF in 20 years, seems slightly aggressive. As late as February, Tampa Bay Coach John Cooper simply called the penalty kill woes a "sore subject". They put 38 shots on Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, and got two pucks by him. "We're going to Tampa and play our game and try to get a victory and come back home". They managed just one shot on a second-period man advantage, even after the Lightning's Tyler Johnson had to discard his broken stick and skated stickless for almost half the two-minute penalty kill.

They've managed to fend off one curse this postseason. Then the Lightning captain yelled "F-ing right!" and Point yelled "Let's F-ing go!"

Taking a cue from their coach, the Capitals' dressing room was an optimistic place after Game 4, despite a parade of frustrating squandered chances. Stamkos showed zero effects from being hit in the face by a puck during the morning skate Thursday; he briefly left the practice ice before returning.

The situation got worse for DC as Lars Eller took an ill-advised holding minor. He has been sent to the box five times in the past two games.