Stanley Cup Playoffs: Tampa Bay Lightning pulls even in East

Friday's Sports in Brief

Friday's Sports in Brief

Nicklas Backstrom returned to the Washington Capitals lineup Thursday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. But while the Lightning went 1-for-2 on the power play and scored the game-winner with Eller having just left the penalty box, the Capitals couldn't take advantage of any of their four opportunities. The latest setback was a 4-2 loss to the Lightning on Tuesday, after victories at Tampa Bay by a combined score of 10-4 in the final's opening two games. Dmitry Orlov made a nice spin move at the blue line to the keep the play alive. He had six total goals and nine assists in these playoffs after scoring 27 goals and 59 assists in the regular season.

Before Orlov's name could be announced over the loudspeaker, Brayden Point finished off a handsome passing play set up by Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde.

Tampa Bay converted on Steven Stamkos look in the first period for a 2-1 lead. And yet, there were four penalties in the first period and another two in the second and third periods. When Andrei Vasilevskiy leads his teammates on to the ice to start a game, he scurries by them like he's rushing to get to the washroom. 3, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 7 (Miller, Point), 8:32 (pp). During the regular season, he accounted for 21 goals and 50 assists in 81 regular season games. And sometimes, the better team doesn't win.

The Capitals controlled the puck for the majority of the game, outshooting Tampa Bay 38-20.

Meantime, the rest of the Lightning's best players - names such as Stamkos, Hedman, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point - have continued to be the Lightning's best players. If the puck were a metaphor for criticism in these last two games, the Tampa netminder has shut that nonsense down. The bad news for the Capitals, counterintuitive as it may be: They host Game 4. "If we get one at home, it's a different series", said forward Tom Wilson, after a game that saw the Capitals tilt the ice with 65 shot attempts to 45 for the Lightning. It's a best-of-three series thanks to the Russian goaltender.

There was also that second-period power play when Tyler Johnson was missing a stick that they couldn't convert on. Washington would get one goal back on the ninth goal of the playoffs by Evgeny Kuznetsov, with 3:02 left, but the Lightning would not allow it to get any closer.

The go-ahead goal came thanks to a defensive breakdown, when Killorn was left pretty much alone and scored 6 seconds after a Tampa Bay power play expired, putting in a pass from Ondrej Palat. He has three goals and 10 assists in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games this year.

Remarkably, all four games this series have now been taken by the road team. Call it whatever you want.

Can anyone win at home? The road team has won every game in the series so far. Unfortunately for the Lightning, they have home ice disadvantage. Not to mention it has to depressing going back to Tampa Bay with the series tied when you already won on the road twice.

He had another scare in the third period of Game 3 in Washington after he took a slap shot off his leg. Maybe there was more pressure or distractions at home. It wasn't until the midway point of the second that they recorded their first shot on goal of the period, snapping a 20-plus-minute drought without one.

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