Backstrom is a key member of the Capitals’ penalty kill, and the unit has suffered without him. For a moment, the crowd exhaled.
Mikhail Sergachev held the puck in the zone, sent it to Ondrej Palat, who backhanded it to Alex Killorn in the middle of three Capitals defenders, who slid it past goalie Braden Holtby.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Jon Cooper’s Tampa Bay Lightning won Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final despite going the equivalent of more than a period without a shot on goal. This new verse was about Andrei Vasilevskiy recording 9 of his 36 saves in the final period.
“I can call it what it is”.
Backstrom missed just one game in the regular season, and had 71 points while centring that second line unit.
But even in a series that has dominated by the road teams, it might be too much for the Capitals to win another game at Amalie Arena and stem the momentum the Lightning have built the past two games.
After his score, Killorn said, “We played our best hockey”. “Hes one of the best in the world, and he shows that every game, and especially tonight”.
“Right from the start, we knew (he was on)”, forward Alex Killorn said.
“We’ll battle through it”, Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. This group has been resilient. Nothing’s come easy for this team. “When Nicky’s ready to go, he’s ready to go”, Trotz said. They did that on Tuesday, but they stole Game 4.
Washington had a number of looks after pulling Holtby with about two minutes to play, but a combination of unlucky bounces and clutch saves by Vasilevskiy denied the Capitals the equalizer. In 2010, Yaroslav Halak stopped 131 of 134 shots in the final three games of a first round series to lead Montreal over the highest scoring team of the 21st century. Neither of those games looked even a little bit competitive.
“Obviously (he has) got great hands and makes some nice plays”, Lightning defenseman and fellow Swede Victor Hedman said. Defensively, the Washington Capitals are allowing 2.9 goals per game and are killing 80.3 percent of their opponents power plays. They outshot the Lightning 15-7, but they either misfired or made a decision to not shoot on several key opportunities.
“We needed the period to end there”. He’s a guy who makes this team click and makes us go. I didn’t think we were as focused as we have been normally on the road.
Just a couple of days ago, Tampa Bay was hanging over the edge of the cliff, barely hanging on with a couple of fingertips. Ovechkin finished the game with an assist and three shots on goal but he and his teammates will leave the game with a bitter taste in their mouth after outshooting the Lightning 38-20 and going 0-4 on the power play.
The Capitals were much better at the outset of the second, recording the period’s initial eight shots and making it 2-all when Kuznetsov took a flipped backhand pass from Ovechkin and put the puck between Vasilevskiy’s pads.
“We’re going to Tampa and play our game and try to get a victory and come back home”. But after clear frustration on the ice, Ovechkin had a different tone in the dressing room. The Lightning are 42-16 in their last 58 games playing on 1 days rest, 4-1 in their last 5 games following a win and 72-34 in their last 106 overall.