The Lightning found a spark

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The Lightning found a spark

Postby officialsbaseball » 06 Dec 2018, 06:12

TAMPA Cam Ward Jersey Womens , Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Lightning stormed back in the Eastern Conference final against the Washington Capitals, thanks in part to a thriving power play and suddenly reliable penalty-killing unit.To regain control of the best-of-seven matchup that continues Saturday night, the Caps need a lift from their special teams, too.”The series is tied 2-2,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ”It doesn’t matter how you got there.”Tampa Bay, which has taken two straight in a series in which the home team has yet to win, believes it hasn’t played its best.Washington was dominant in winning twice on the road, then sputtered – particularly on the Alex Ovechkin-led power play – while dropping the next two games at home.”I think we look at it realistically,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. ”I mean, I said to everybody in September, even yesterday, and they’re saying the same thing: Sign me up. Best-of-three, got a chance to maybe go to the Stanley Cup Final, sign me up.”I don’t think anybody thought the series would go four straight or anything like that. There’s two really high-quality teams that are going to go nose-to-nose,” Trotz added. ”There’s twists and turns in the road sometimes. … It’s just another layer of adversity. This group has taken on any adversity that has been thrown its way all year.”Since yielding three power-play goals in the first two games of the series, two of them in the closing seconds of a period, the Lightning have gone 7-for-7 killing penalties over the past two games.Not bad for a team that had one of the most potent power plays (third, 23.9 percent) in the NHL during the regular season http://www.islandersfanproshop.com/authentic-adam-pelech-jersey , while also ranking among the league’s worst at killing penalties (28th, 76.1 percent).Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has a power-play goal in each of the first four games of the conference final.Six of his seven goals this postseason have come in man-advantage situations, including his franchise-best 11th career playoff power-play goal (snapping a tie with Martin St. Louis) in Game 4 on Thursday night.”Desperation. Realizing how important it is, especially in this series against the group that they have,” Stamkos said of the improved play on the penalty kill.”It starts with the goaltending, and then it starts with guys willing to sacrifice. I think it’s been a challenge,” Stamkos added. ”When the power play is going well like we are, the PK wants to step up and be just as good, and vice versa when it’s the other way. … It’s been a lot of fun to watch.”Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 36 of 38 shots in Game 4. He has bounced back nicely since allowing 10 goals over five periods in the first two games.Center Nicklas Backstrom, who returned to Washington’s lineup Thursday night after missing four games with a hand injury, thinks the Capitals need to create more traffic in front of the Lightning goaltender.”He’s actually too good of a goalie if you’re going to shoot from outside with no traffic, so maybe we can get some more traffic and find these rebounds like we did the first couple of games,” Backstrom said.”We have pretty good chances. We just don’t execute,” Ovechkin said after the Washington power play was shut out for the second straight game. ”We tried. … We had so (many) shots, and we just didn’t score one more goal.”But just as Tampa Bay embraced the challenge of battling its way back into the series after losing Games 1 and 2, the Capitals are excited about the opportunity ahead, beginning Saturday night.Not only is Washington is 7-1 on the road this postseason, but the Caps went on eliminate Columbus in the first round and Pittsburgh in the conference semifinal in six games after those series were each tied at 2.”I think we’ve played three out of the four games pretty well Anders Lee Jersey ,” Trotz said. ”I’m not disappointed at all.”The Lightning are confident, too.”Clearly home-ice advantage has been a disadvantage in this series,” Cooper said. ”Now, in saying that, I’d rather have Game 5 at home. I believe we’ll be a different team here than we showed up in Game 1 and 2.”— TAMPA, Fla. (AP) With their latest run, the NHL-best Tampa Bay Lightning have reached a new milestone: first in the league to 100 points.Nikita Kucherov scored the tying goal in the third period and converted in the fourth round of the shootout, and Tampa Bay beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Saturday. The Lightning improved to 9-0-1 in their last 10 games, with six victories coming in overtime or in the shootout.”You have to give credit to the guys. They’ve found a way to get points and that’s what you have to do,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.Kucherov scored his 33rd of the season with 6:17 left in regulation, standing on top of the crease to convert a pass from Steven Stamkos to beat Antti Niemi and force overtime. It was the seventh time in the past eight games that the Lightning were tied at the end of regulation.The Canadiens – third-worst in the Eastern Conference with 62 points – gave the Lightning all they could handle, never trailing in the game. Montreal kept in check a Tampa Bay team that had scored three or more goals 14 times in its previous 15 games.”I don’t want to make it sound like I’m OK with losing because I’m not and we’re not,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said, ”but I appreciated the effort this afternoon. I thought our guys played hard and we really pushed.”Artturi Lehkonen put Montreal in front early with a power-play goal on a one-timer after the rebound of Charles Hudon’s shot was blocked and landed right in his path at 4:10 of the opening period. Tyler Johnson responded with his 20th of the season, also on the power play, at 13:43 to tie the game.Alex Galchenyuk put the Canadiens back in front at 3:00 of the second period after Ryan McDonagh, playing his first game with Tampa Bay since being acquired from the New York Rangers on Feb. 26, had his cross-ice pass intercepted by Hudon Andrew Ladd Jersey , which led to a 3-on-1 break the other way.But Montreal was unable to create more separation, failing to convert on a pair of third-period power-play chances.”You have to make sure to capitalize on those chances and get a two-goal lead,” former Lightning winger Jonathan Drouin said. ”Especially when you’re playing a team like that with so much offense and so much power. We just couldn’t get it done.”The Lightning found a spark when J.T. Miller, acquired from the Rangers at the trade deadline, was moved onto the line with Stamkos and Kucherov to start the third period. On the tying goal, Miller forced a turnover behind the net to get the puck to Stamkos.”If you told me a while ago I would have been playing on a line with those two, I would have laughed,” said Miller, who has two goals and six points in six games since the trade. ”It’s a heck of an opportunity. It makes my job easy playing with those guys. Fortunate to get one in the third there and come out with the win.”NOTES: The Lightning reached the 100-point mark for the fifth time in franchise history. … Montreal C Phillip Danault missed the first 10 minutes of the third period and played just two shifts total. .. Tampa Bay G Louis Domingue started his seventh game of the season with the Lightning, his first at home. … Tyler Johnson became the sixth player to reach 20 goals this season for Tampa Bay, which includes Vladislav Namestnikov, who was traded to the New York Rangers on Feb. 26. … Lightning D Ryan McDonagh appeared in his first game since Feb. 7, logging 19 minutes, 15 seconds of ice time in his Tampa Bay debut.UP NEXTLightning: Host Ottawa on Tuesday.Canadiens: At Columbus on Monday.—
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