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game recap

Lightning 4, Capitals 3

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

Lonnie Herman - TBL.com correspondent

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Lightning 4, Capitals 3
Washington Capitals 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 4

The Tampa Bay Lightning moved one big step closer to a sweep of the Washington Capitals with a 4-3 win at the St. Pete Times Forum tonight.

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To call the victory hard fought would be an understatement but by any measure it was well-earned as the Lightning had to withstand and bounce back from a second period surge by the Capitals which left the visitors entering the final period with a 3-2 lead.

Tampa Bay jumped out early to a 1-0 advantage when Sean Bergenheim continuing, his strong playoff performance, completed a give-and-go with Dominic Moore for his fifth playoff goal at 11:03 of the first period. Steve Downie also earned an assist on the goal, his eighth of the playoffs.

The goal came amid a first period that saw the Capitals open the game with determination, collecting seven of the first eight shots on net, including one that slipped passed Lightning netminder Dwayne Roloson, but was called back because Washington had too many men on the ice.

The Capitals continued to battle in the second period, tying the game with a goal by Mike Knuble just 59 seconds into the stanza. Washington grabbed the lead, 2-1, seven minutes later when John Carlson’s shot from the point worked its way past a crowd in front of Roloson and found the net.

Vincent Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis combined to re-tie the game at 11:51 of the period when Lecavalier deposited a centering feed from St. Louis past Capital netminder Michal Neuvirth. The goal was Lecavalier’s fifth of the playoffs, tying him for the team lead with St. Louis. Teddy Purcell was credited with his ninth assist of the playoffs on the score.

The goal was a brief respite in the Washington assault, however, as the Capitals regained the lead on a five-on-three power play as Alex Ovechkin swooped on a Roloson rebound and finished the play for his fifth playoff goal, and a 3-2 advantage that the Capitals took into the locker room.

But in the final period the Lightning put on a demonstration of hockey determination and persistence as they dominated the final 20 minutes of play.

The numbers tell the story of the third period as Tampa Bay fired 15 shots on goal, equally their total for the first two periods, while holding the Capitals to only 5 shots on net. The Lightning produced 10 scoring chances to only 3 for Washington, blocked 7 Washington shots and held Alex Ovechkin to only 1 shot on net.

Along the way, they pounded two pucks past Neuvirth 24 seconds apart to grab a 4-3 lead which dogged defensive play made stand up. The first score, a patented Steven Stamkos blast from the high slot into the upper corner of the net was assisted by Victor Hedman. The winning goal came off Ryan Malone’s stick as he converted a centering pass from NateThompson. Adam Hall earned his third assist of the post-season on the goal.

Roloson again put on a virtuoso performance in the Lightning net, stopping 29 of 32 shots, while Lecavalier and Stamkos shared the lead in shots on goal with 4 apiece.  Mattias Ohlund blocked a game-high five shots while Malone and Downie led both teams with five hits apiece.

In addition to putting the Capitals on the brink of elimination, the third period comeback seemed to send a message to the Washington locker room.

“They are uncanny when they want to get a goal,” Capital forward Mike Knuble said. “It’s like they just snap their fingers or hit a button. It’s like they flip a switch. I don’t know what it is but it leaves you flabbergasted.”

But Tampa Bay, going into game 4 tomorrow night, is taking nothing for granted.

“Washington is a good team,” St. Louis said. “It’s going to be hard to win four games, so we just have to reload for tomorrow.”

Tomorrow will be here soon enough, but at least for tonight, the win was sweet.

scoring summary
1st Period
11:03
TBL
Sean Bergenheim (5) Wrist shot - ASST: Dominic Moore (4), Steve Downie (8)
1 - 0 TBL
2nd Period
00:59
WSH
Mike Knuble (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Alex Ovechkin (4)
1 - 1 Tie
07:58
WSH
John Carlson (1) Slapshot - ASST: Jason Chimera (2), Marcus Johansson (4)
2 - 1 WSH
11:51
TBL
Vincent Lecavalier (5) Tip-in - ASST: Martin St. Louis (6), Teddy Purcell (8)
2 - 2 Tie
17:27
WSH
PPG - Alex Ovechkin (5) Wrist shot - ASST: Alexander Semin (2), Mike Green (5)
3 - 2 WSH
3rd Period
05:23
TBL
Steven Stamkos (4) Snap shot - ASST: Victor Hedman (3)
3 - 3 Tie
05:47
TBL
Ryan Malone (2) Tip-in - ASST: Nate Thompson (2), Adam Hall (3)
4 - 3 TBL
penalty summary
1st Period
07:13
TBL
Randy Jones  Interference against  Jason Chimera
07:48
WSH
Alex Ovechkin  Too many men/ice - bench
15:27
WSH
Mike Knuble  Elbowing against  Ryan Malone
2nd Period
12:45
WSH
Nicklas Backstrom  Holding the stick against  Mattias Ohlund
13:50
TBL
Eric Brewer  Holding against  Marcus Johansson
15:52
TBL
Brett Clark  Hooking against  Alex Ovechkin
16:26
TBL
Adam Hall  Hooking against  Brooks Laich
17:51
WSH
Jason Arnott  Slashing against  Brett Clark
3rd Period
08:57
TBL
Adam Hall  Hooking against  Nicklas Backstrom
goalie stats
Michal Neuvirth
Michal Neuvirth
4-4-0
SA: 30TOI: 58:03
Saves: 26EV: 23 - 27
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 2
SV%: .867SH: 1 - 1
Dwayne Roloson
SA: 32TOI: 59:56
Saves: 29EV: 27 - 29
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 2
SV%: .906SH: 1 - 1