Point picked up an assist on Steven Stamkos' power-play goal in the first period. The goals were mirror images of each other, with Stamkos blasting a one-timer from the left side and Kucherov from the right. Hedman assisted on that one too; and then Kucherov fed Hedman for a goal 1:47 later to make it 3-0. Brett Connolly cut the lead to 3-1 halfway through the period, but Tampa Bay regained a three goal lead with four minutes remain in the period on a quick shot by Brayden Point.
In the first two games against the Lightning, the Caps benefited from some puck luck that rarely occurs in such bunches even during the regular season.
This was the first game the Capitals have lost since Nicklas Backstrom left Game 5 against Pittsburgh with an upper-body injury.
Tampa Bay did not look good in in opening the Eastern Conference finals by getting swept at home but the team rose to the occasion in game three to avoid an 0-3 hole.
Tomas Tatar scored the first goal of the game at 13:23 of the first.
Hedman, who had primary assists on both power-play tallies, lit the lamp himself 1:47 later off a nifty pass from Kucherov. It wasn't ideal, but the Lightning began to make it up to Vasilevskiy for hanging him out to dry on so many odd-man rushes in Games 1 and 2 by improving their defensive-zone play. They needed to do more 5-on-5 if they were going to get back in this series.More news: Last-gasp Jesus goal takes City to 100 points
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Kuznetsov scored to make it 4-2 at 16:58 of the third after Washington pulled Holtby for the extra attacker.
But Tampa restored the three-goal lead when Point somehow found a puck in a scrum in front the Washington goal and whacked it through the legs of Stephenson to beat Holtby.
Washington Capitals fans will be able to ride the subway after Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals thanks to Qatar. Two first-period goals paced the way for the Golden Knights to get ahead of the Jets and their raucous crowd.
Cooper pointed to Game 4 against the Boston Bruins in the conference semifinals, when Kucherov and Stamkos scored in a game that basically put that series out of reach. "When you get to the playoffs, really it's the team that wins". The Norris Trophy finalist who played a team-high 25:08 was most proud of successful penalty kills.
In the third period, with hope fading, the Capitals started taking undisciplined penalties. But if Kucherov even received a phone call from the NHL Department of Player Safety, the conversation was little more than a "Hi, how are ya?" for there he was in the lineup on Tuesday.