Published: Fri, May 18, 2018

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals - 5/19/18 NHL Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals - 5/19/18 NHL Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Nicklas Backstrom returned to the Washington Capitals lineup Thursday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, of Russian Federation, stops the puck during the third period of Game 4 of the team's NHL hockey Eastern Conference finals against the Washington Capitals, Thursday, May 17, 2018 in Washington.

The Lightning went up 2-1 lead less than 3 minutes later, with Stamkos putting the teams lone shot of a power play in off the left post.

Washington's blueliner had a tough game (10 for, 13 against, 43.5 CF%, 3-7 scoring chances) and was on the ice for three goals against in a 4-2 Game Four loss to Tampa Bay.

Both teams had the offense clicking early. In particular, the goalies came to play.

NOTES: In the Western Conference final, the Vegas Golden Knights hold a 2-1 series lead over the Winnipeg Jets.

They won despite falling behind about 4½ minutes into the game.

Still, the Lightning can't feel too great with how they played in Game 4. But unless they figure out their issues with or without a man advantage, they may squander another golden opportunity. Game 4 is in Las Vegas on Friday night. It's not easy winning three road games in a series, especially against a team that's better than you on paper. The worst job at Capital One Arena did not belong to one of the cleaners or parking attendants or the security guy with an obstructed view of the game. The Lightning won 4-2. The Capitals, who had been without Backstrom for the previous four games, kept the crowd on its feet a few minutes later when Dmitri Orlov blasted a one-timer into the far-right top corner. Contributing to the Washington momentum surge was the play of the home team.

With just over eight minutes left in regulation, the Washington Capitals survived the most lethal power play in the postseason. Stealing the puck was Tyler Johnson, who converted a tic-tac-toe passing play with Yanni Gourde and Brayden Point - dubbed the "waterbugs" by head coach Jon Cooper - to tie the game.

Stamkos now has a goal in all four games this series.

It was as if the Capitals had briefly forgotten what had given them success.

"(Vasilevskiy) was wonderful. The best player on the ice, for sure", Ondrej Palat said. Killorn was left pretty much alone during a defensive breakdown by Washington and scored 6 seconds after a Tampa Bay power play expired. Yes, the Lightning had a rough second period - and I'll detail how that unfolded in a bit.

In Game 3, the Lightning righted some of the wrongs that plagued them in Games 1 and 2, including scoring two even-strength goals - after scoring a total of two in the first two games - and winning the special teams battle, finishing 2-for-5 on the power play while Washington went 0-for-3. "He can pass the puck and he's been here for a long time and he's a world-class player".

So after killing three power plays in the first period, in which Tampa Bay's unit scrambled to block shots with their bodies and clear pucks at every turn - the fourth was trickier without Hedman, perhaps the team's most versatile player. Orlov's second goal of the playoffs was assisted by T.J. Oshie and Matt Niskanen. And soon enough, the rest of the Capitals followed.

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby didn't get a chance to make almost as many saves, given the shot discrepancy: Washington ended up with 38 to Tampa Bay's 20.

Based on the shot attempts, Washington should have had plenty more.

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