The Washington Capitals' captain eyed the sliver of open net, stood poised at point-blank range to Vasilevskiy's left, ready to net a tying goal late in the first period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals at Capital One Arena. And the Lightning, who are still down 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, will try to do it again in Game 4 in Washington on Thursday.
Backstrom missed most of the third period in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins and was held out for Game 6 as the Capitals clinched the series.
Asked what the Lightning needed to do better, three-time Cup-winning defenseman Ken Daneyko responded, "Where do we begin?".
Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom remained out of the lineup despite going through the morning skate.
The Capitals will look to take a 3-0 series lead with a victory tonight.
Teams that win the first two games on the road in the playoffs have a series record of 71-20.
The second was whipped by winger Nikita Kucherov in the second period, 39 feet out on the right side, just above the hashmarks where he is often seen quarterbacking Tampa Bay's man advantage. But after getting rolling Tuesday with the pair of power-play goals, the Lightning scored twice more at 5-on-5.
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Steve Stamkos' one-time blast from the left circle put the Lightning ahead at 13:53 of the first. Even with the horrendous calls in the first period of Game 2, the Caps prevailed, and it wasn't even close. "There's no panic. We're obviously not happy with losing two games on home ice, but that is not something that goes into our locker room. Maybe they play a little different".
Stamkos, Kucherov and Point each had a goal and an assist, Hedman had a goal and two assists, while Vasilevskiy, who stopped 36 of 38 shots, reminded everyone why he was named a Vezina Trophy finalist this season. Their first two goals in Game 3 came on the power play.
The Capitals have generated rush chances off Lightning turnovers and limited their speed with a 1-1-3 defensive setup. "We're going to need that to keep going".
Meanwhile, the Capitals' vaunted power play, which features Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie, Lars Eller (in Backstrom's place) and John Carlson on the top half, failed to convert on one opportunity in every period.
"We've got the experience". They will set out to show the home crowd that Tuesday's special teams shortcomings were an aberration. "It's how we're playing and our effort, our game plan".
"Power play make everything".
Washington didn't have much of the magic they found in abundance in Tampa, although their possession numbers showed they controlled the majority of the shot share.