Friday, May 18, 2018

Morning Playoff Notes (May 18)

Nicklas Backstrom returned from his hand injury, dressing for the Capitals for the first time in four games, as they tried to put the Lightning behind the 8-ball with the first home win of this series.  The resiliency of the Lightning, however, was the determining factor of this game, as the Capitals had their chances to put Game 4 away in their favour, but came up a little bit short.

The Capitals got off to a quick start with a Dmitry Orlov goal, less than five minutes in, but the Lightning were having nothing with that, as Brayden Point scored 1:10 afterwards and Steven Stamkos scored three minutes later and the away team had a 2-1 lead heading into the first break.  Evgeny Kuznetsov was able to tie the game in the 2nd period and it was a brand new game heading into the 3rd.

The 3rd period was a great battle, no one really wanting to give up space and it was a very good back-and-forth, where the goalies were standing tall.  But just when the Capitals thought they had killed a 3rd period penalty, Alex Killorn shoveled in a loose puck at the side of the net, six seconds after the penalty expired and the Lightning broke through, not long after the midway point of the final frame and then it was lock down time.  The Bolts added an empty-netter just before the buzzer and that was your final, 4-2, another away team win.

There's no home-ice advantage, thus far, in the Eastern Conference Finals and this series heads back to Tampa Bay for Game 5, which will be played on Saturday night and the series now becomes a best-of-three.

Killorn with the bonus point, Point also tallied an assist and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves for the win, all picking up a pair of points each.  If those were your three Lightning players, you were certainly in luck.

Heading into the weekend, Tony's team holds a more comfortable 14-point lead on Neil's team, which had some gains with Vegas' recent success in the last couple of games, but Neil's team can't seem to gain any ground, despite having some good match-ups in both the Conference Finals.  I think Neil's best shot at the money will be if Winnipeg can come back on Vegas and Tampa sneaking through past Washington.  Otherwise, it could truly be curtains.

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