Already on an insane goal-scoring pace at 33 years old, Alex Ovechkin...
Adversity Is Good. The Caps Will Bounce Back From This.
Barry Trotz after Game 3. (Caps Outsider)
In the first two games against the Lightning, the Caps benefited from some puck luck that rarely occurs in such bunches even during the regular season. Michal Kempny‘s goal from the point threaded a needle that likely goes wide if he tried it nine more times. Those last-second power play goals, including a buzzer-beater, aren’t exactly routine, especially in back-to-back games. That Brett Connolly scoop shot that floated in typically doesn’t happen that way, if at all. Even with the horrendous calls in the first period of Game 2, the Caps prevailed, and it wasn’t even close.
This isn’t to say the Caps played poorly and still won in those games because of fluky goals. But in Game 3 on Tuesday, that puck luck disappeared, the Lightning stepped up their play, and the Caps couldn’t answer. The Lightning even got some bounces themselves. John Carlson described the Tampa Bay power play, which scored another two goals, as ‘deadly.’ It had been ‘deadly’ even in the Lightning losses.
After the first two games, it seemed possible that the Caps would return back to Washington and simply end the series against Tampa Bay. Perhaps they could have if those deflections and odd shots kept going in, but of course that wouldn’t keep happening. Even golfers can have an amazing round, then on the very same course, miss those same shots that went in the previous day.
Typically teams without home-ice advantage try to steal one on the road. The Caps didn’t steal, but dominated both road games. The Lightning got their road game. The Caps need to throw everything at the Lightning on Thursday to keep this series from being tied.
They can, and they will.