Tampa Bay Lightning look to even series vs. Washington Capitals

Friday's Sports in Brief

It's Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning and temperatures are flaring early. Also seen is Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86), of Russian Federation.

The Tampa Bay Lightning did not play their best game in Game 4 against the Washington Capitals, but they still managed a 4-2 victory behind the brilliance of Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Nicklas Backstrom - After missing the previous four games with a hand injury, the Capitals centre returned to the lineup and played almost 19 minutes in the Game Four loss to Tampa Bay. Orlov's second goal of the playoffs was assisted by T.J. Oshie and Matt Niskanen.

Anton Stralman - The Tampa Bay defenceman was on the wrong side of the puck (11 for, 19 against, 36.7 CF%, 5-11 scoring chances) and was on the ice for both goals against in a 4-2 Game Four win at Washington. "They ask what the series is at, and we came in here and regardless of how well Washington played - which, I think they played really well - we found a way to win two games".

Interestingly, even though the Lightning had a rough second period, they ended up with three glorious scoring chances in those final 10 minutes. Their poor decisions drew loud boos from their fans as the Lightning led 2-1 at intermission.

Hear the highlights of Game 4 (below) as called by John Walton and Ken Sabourin on the Capitals Radio Network. Nicklas Backstrom returned to the lineup for the first time since blocking a shot with his hand in game five of their Pittsburgh series. You can't have someone standing beside Stamkos near the left wing circle like a guard, but there's got to be someway you can prevent his teammates the puck there with a half open net during the power play ...

The break between periods seemed to rejuvenate Ovechkin, who assisted on Kuznetsov's game-tying goal 5:18 into the second period.

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Following one flubbed chance, Ovechkin threw his head back and looked up, the very picture of disappointment.

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. The fact that they killed off all three is a testament to the penalty killers and to Vasilevskiy, who made seven tough saves during the three kills. A minute and five seconds into the power play, Stamkos took a Point pass and whistled it through Braden Holtby to put Tampa Bay ahead 2-1. Almost all of their damage came with the man-advantage and it didn't help them as they fell in a 0-2 rut and through three games they had been outscored 8-3 at 5-on-5. He allowed 10 goals in two games and his team was down two games to the Washington Capitals.

But before the arena announcer had even finished announcing that one, Point struck for Tampa Bay on a giveaway that Michal Kempny will be having nightmares about.

Game 5 is Saturday night.

Finally, we had a game worth watching right to the end. Kuznetsov's 21 points equaled Ovechkin (2009) for the most by a Capitals player in one postseason. Then the Lightning captain yelled "F-ing right!" and Point yelled "Let's F-ing go!"

Even not at 100 percent, Backstrom gives Washington another threat on the power play, which has so far been a deciding factor in the series. However, no one could solve Vasilevskiy late in the game. Stamkos showed zero effects from being hit in the face by a puck during the morning skate Thursday; he briefly left the practice ice before returning. But it came just six seconds after Lars Eller was paroled from the penalty box after his second violation of the night.

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