The Washington Capitals spent plenty of time on offense, but Andrei Vasilevskiy helped the Tampa Bay Lightning steal Game 4 with a 4-2 win. Tampa Bay has evened the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Final series with Washington at two games apiece.
The Lightning got the game-winner from Alex Killorn 11:57 into the third period just after a power play expired. Steven Stamkos earned his fourth power play goal of the series and Brayden Point continued his great series with another goal. Anthony Cirelli added an empty-netter with two seconds left.
Here are three keys to the game.
Andrei Vasilevskiy Steals Show
The Russian goalie dealt with a lot of shots as he made 36 saves to help Tampa Bay even the series. Washington dominated play for long stretches of time as it held Tampa without a shot for 21 minutes at one point.
Vasilevskiy was also vital in shutting down the Capitals power play, which was held scoreless in four chances. Many of these saves came in clusters where Vasilevskiy had to scramble into position. The Caps put plenty of late pressure on the Lightning net with an extra attacker. However, no one could solve Vasilevskiy late in the game.
It was a performance much like the one Marc-Andre Fleury turned in during Game 3 of the series between the Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets. Hot goalies are a key to winning a series and Vasilevskiy could be doing the same for Tampa.
Powerful Penalty Kill
One of the turning points of the game was the Lightning killing off four straight Washington power plays. The Capitals got plenty of good chances with the extra man, but Tampa Bay was able to tighten the kill up on later kills.
Players like Ryan Callahan were blocking shots and interrupting passing lanes. Tyler Johnson made some key plays without a stick on the fourth penalty kill. Effort like that will often will spur a team to victory.
Washington has a deadly power play, but Tampa Bay’s great penalty kill helped win Game 4. The Caps need to cash in chances when they get the extra skater.
It’s been a good series for the visitors as they have won all four games so far. Washington took a pair in St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay returned the favor in D.C.
A home-team is likely going to win a game in this series and it will be a critical one. Tampa Bay has only lost one game on the road this postseason.
Alex Ovechkin was absolutely frustrated at the end of the game as he slammed his stick in disgust. It could be the old sinking feeling again for the Capitals as they had a 2-0 series lead. The demons of not being able to take control of a series could be coming back. Game 5 will be the turning point of this series.
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