Hedman shines as Lightning strike down Capitals

Friday's Sports in Brief

So far, Washington is 7-1 in away games this postseason, closing out each of its first two series on the road.

Washington could get a boost if center Nicklas Backstrom, who has missed the last four games with an injured hand, returns.

With reports of their demise proven premature, the Tampa Bay Lightning will look to even their Eastern Conference Final with the Washington Capitals when the teams meet in Game 4 on Thursday night.

"We weren't playing as sharp as we normally can", Capitals coach Barry Trotz told nhl.com.

This is the fifth time since conference finals started in 1982 that the first three games were all won by the road team, according to STATS, Inc.

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"We need to be smarter and not give stupid penalties", Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov said. "We played better as a team". "They [converted] in all three games on the power play".

The Lightning completed a series-high 56 per cent of their passes to the slot in Game 3, led by Nikita Kucherov, who completed six of his eight attempts, including his brilliant setup on Victor Hedman's game-winning goal. Gourde played alongside Tyler Johnson and Brayden Point in the contest.

Having Kucherov, who has two power-play goals and nine power-play points during the playoffs, in the right circle presents a double-barreled problem for penalty killers. "Obviously they're going to get some of their looks". He fed Stamkos for his one-timer from the left circle that opened the scoring with 6:07 remaining in the first period and then went the other direction to set up Kucherov's one-timer that made it 2-0 at 1:50 of the second. Nikita Kucherov in most got enough time to strike a sighting shot in the upper left corner of the goal, "Washington", and two minutes later Victor Hedman to the two assists he added in his debut playoff goal, sending the puck into the nearly unguarded net after a pass Kucherov.

"The struggle right now is that balance", Beagle said. We were just off a little bit, and you can't be off in this game to have success.

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