WASHINGTON — With reports of their demise proven premature Cody Latimer Jersey , 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.
With a win, the Lightning can regain the home-ice advantage — or disadvantage, as the visiting team has won the first three games — before the teams travel to Tampa Bay for Saturday’s Game 5.
The Lightning climbed back into the series with Tuesday’s 4-2 win, improving to 4-1 on the road in the 2018 playoffs.
Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point each had a goal and an assist, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves as Tampa Bay built a 3-0 lead and short-circuited Washington’s rally.
“We haven’t done anything yet, we haven’t accomplished anything yet,” Stamkos, who has five goals and four assists in a six-game point streak, told reporters on Wednesday. “We got ourselves back in the series by playing a lot more of a structured game and we’re confident we can do that again.”
In Game 3. the Lightning righted some of the wrongs that plagued them in Games 1 and 2 Johnny Townsend Jersey , including scoring two even-strength goals — after scoring a total of two in the first two games — and winning the special teams battle, finishing 2-for-5 on the power play while Washington went 0-for-3.
Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper also opted to juggle his top three lines and was rewarded with additional offense without hurting his defense.
“Yeah, we tweaked our lines,” Cooper told the team’s website Wednesday. “Was that the recipe? It was the way we played. That was the recipe. … We played better as a team.”
Brett Connolly’s goal pulled the Capitals within 3-1 and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored late as Washington fell to 3-4 at home in the playoffs.
Braden Holtby made 19 saves, allowing four goals for the first time in the postseason.
Now it’s Washington’s turn to respond.
“We weren’t playing as sharp as we normally can,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz told nhl.com. “We weren’t executing the way we normally did in the last couple of games. We were just off a little bit, and you can’t be off in this game to have success. We will be better next game.”
Washington could get a boost if center Nicklas Backstrom, who has missed the last four games with an injured hand, returns. He has been skating with the team and participated in Wednesday’s optional practice.
Backstrom had 21 goals and 50 assists in the regular season and has three goals and 10 assists in 11 playoff games.
“You can’t replace a guy like him,” Jay Beagle told the Washington Post. “He’s one of our key leaders and one of our best players. He’s a guy who makes this team click and makes us go. Obviously to get him back would be huge.”
This is the fifth time since conference finals started in 1982 that the first three games were all won by the road team Sterling Shepard Jersey , according to STATS, Inc.
The 1995 series (New Jersey-Philadelphia) and the 2004 series (Calgary-San Jose) both had the road team win the first five games before the home team closed it out in Game 6. There has not been a best-of-five or best-of-seven playoff series in which the road team won every game.
Washington will look to end the visiting streak in this series.
“You have to have a short memory and get the rest, regroup and have fun, enjoy the game,” Kuznetsov told nhl.com. “No one expected 4-0, right? We all know it’s going to be a tough series. We just have to relax a little bit and stay positive.”
Odubel Herrera smiled when told he was being compared to Ichiro Suzuki and Vladimir Guerrero. He has potential to be known by his first name just like Ichiro and Vlad, too.
Herrera hit a tiebreaking, solo homer in the seventh inning, Cesar Hernandez hit a two-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 Wednesday to win their third straight series.
”What he’s doing is special,” manager Gabe Kapler said Keanu Neal Jersey , adding that Herrera reminds him of Suzuki. ”It’s elite.”
Herrera is batting .419 (13 for 31) with two doubles, five homers and eight RBI in the last seven games.
”He’s a different breed,” starter Jake Arrieta said before mentioning Guerrero’s name with Herrera. ”When he gets hot, he’s fun to watch.”
Herrera had a tough stretch after an excellent start before finding his stroke again.
”It’s very satisfying to be compared to two legends,” he said.
Yadier Molina hit a pair of homers for the Cardinals, who lost starter Michael Wacha to injury.
Philadelphia’s beleaguered bullpen tossed three scoreless innings after Arrieta had another so-so outing, giving up both of Molina’s homers. Edubray Ramos (2-0) got five outs and Adam Morgan retired the last two batters with the tying run on second for his first career save.
”It was cool to go out there and succeed,” Morgan said.
The Phillies took two of three to win a series against the Cardinals for the first time since August 2014.
Arrieta gave up three runs and four hits in six innings to remain winless in June after posting a 0.90 ERA in five starts in May. Arrieta, who is earning $30 million this season as part of a three-year, $75 million contract Matt Schaub Jersey , has a 6.97 ERA in four starts this month.
Wacha left in the fourth with a left oblique strain. The right-hander allowed three runs – one earned – and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He’ll have an MRI on Thursday.
”Feeling a little bit better,” Wacha said. ”I’m hoping for the best.”
Herrera ripped a 91 mph slider from Sam Tuivailala (1-3) off the scoreboard on the facing of the second deck in right field to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead. Herrera has a homer in four straight games.
Pinch hitter Jedd Gyorko hit a one-out double off Victor Arano in the ninth. Morgan entered to get Matt Carpenter on a foul pop and Tommy Pham on a grounder.
Molina drove a 3-2 pitch the opposite-way into the seats in right-center for his fifth career multihomer game in the sixth to tie it at 3.
A throwing error by Carpenter led to a pair of unearned runs in the fourth. Jorge Alfaro reached with one out when Carpenter’s throw pulled first baseman Jose Martinez off the bag. With two outs, Hernandez lined a 1-2 change-up to the seats in right for a 3-1 lead.
The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the first after Rhys Hoskins hit a single, advanced to third on Herrera’s double and scored on Carlos Santana’s sacrifice fly.
Molina crushed Arrieta’s first pitch in the second inning to left to tie it at 1.
Wacha worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third by striking out Scott Kingery and retiring Nick Williams on a bouncer.
Seven of Herrera’s 12 homers have given Philadelphia a lead.
PHILLIES: INF J.P. Crawford was placed on the 10-day disabled list after breaking his hand Tuesday night. INF Mitch Walding was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to replace him. … Williams returned to the lineup after he broke his nose in the field on Monday night.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (3-3, 2.73 ERA) takes the mound for the start of a four-game set at Milwaukee. He’s 6-4, 1.95 vs. the Brewers.
Phillies: After a day off, RHP Zach Eflin (4-2, 3.43 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at Washington on Friday night. Eflin has never faced the Nationals.
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