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Lightning-Capitals Game 4: Nicklas Backstrom might be back in the lineup

O54OJSDORQY4DEFBOQFSPFJSZU - Lightning-Capitals Game 4: Nicklas Backstrom might be back in the lineup

Evgeny Kuznetsov and the Caps took a large punch in Recreation Three. Can they soar again? (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Submit)

Jap Convention finals: Recreation four

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals

Collection: Capitals lead 2-1

Thursday, Capital One Area, eight p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN

• Nicklas Backstrom might be again within the lineup after lacking 4 video games with a proper hand harm. (Learn extra)

• Evgeny Kuznetsov has 20 issues via 15 playoff video games and is 2 issues in need of surroundings a franchise document. (Learn extra)

• The Capitals had been observed as green to begin the season, however the crew thinks its early life at ease them because the 12 months went on. (Learn extra)

Most sensible tale traces

• Backstrom (may well be) again, all proper: The highest heart is formally a “game-time determination,” in keeping with Trainer Barry Trotz, however it surely looks like Backstrom may play his first recreation of the Jap Convention finals on Thursday night time. Backstrom took some line rushes for a primary time since he injured his proper hand two weeks in the past, and he practiced with the highest power-play unit. It’s unclear if he would be capable to take faceoffs right through the sport, however the Capitals may pair him with flexible winger Chandler Stephenson to take the attracts for him. Backstrom scored 20 targets with 51 assists right through the common season, and he has 3 targets with 10 assists in 11 playoff video games.

“It will be lovely cool,” captain Alex Ovechkin mentioned. “So, we’ll see. He desires to [be] again. He desires to be a part of the luck, and he’s our highest heart. If he’s going to be within the lineup, it’s going to present us more space to create with the traces and the crew’s going to be at liberty. He’s our chief. All of us love him. However we’ll see what occurs.”

Energy play: The Capitals’ man-advantage unit has been sizzling all postseason, however the Lightning’s persistent play was once the adaptation in Recreation Three. As Tampa Bay scored two targets, Washington went Zero-for-Three when it had five-on-four scenarios. The Capitals need to do a greater task staying out of the penalty field in Recreation four — the crew has been referred to as for essentially the most minor consequences this postseason — they usually hope to capitalize on their very own possibilities higher.

“We now have possibilities,” Ovechkin mentioned. “I neglected a few probability and that’s blame on me. The fellows attempt to to find me over there and in the event that they to find me I’ve to place it in. On this scenario, it is going to come this night. So, we’ll see.”

Whilst the Capitals have Ovechkin taking pictures one-timers from the left faceoff circle, the Lightning have Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov doing that from all sides, which is what makes the Tampa Bay persistent play so difficult to shield.

“They’re clearly making it tricky,” goaltender Braden Holtby mentioned. “It’s difficult as it’s shifting via slightly of a display the place a man goes proper sooner than they’re taking pictures, so that you roughly lose that liberate. However that was once only a accident as a result of I do know Kucherov had a pair sooner than Stamkos’s function within the first and I had sight line on them. The whole lot in goaltending revolves round some form of sight line. Taking a look at them, possibly there are some spaces the place I can lean other ways so I will get a faster view and I will learn the ones releases. You are feeling assured for your skill to  forestall any puck you’ll be able to, so it’s about fighting for that sight line and going from there.

“The only house we need to alter is simply restricting it to 1 choice as a substitute of getting each. It makes it tough on everybody when each choices are to be had. You’ll’t look ahead to as neatly, it’s important to react extra. It makes for a bit of little bit of a prolong. So, we’re going to make some changes and I’m going to battle more difficult for the ones sight traces. I don’t suppose it’s the rate with which he’s passing. I’m beating the puck there. It’s simply beating the sight line there.”

House-ice virtue? Following a playoff-wide development, the Capitals were higher at the street, however to keep away from squandering the two-games-to-none collection lead that Washington left Tampa with, the crew must win Recreation four at Capital One Area. A minimum of one participant has recommended that with the house crew having ultimate trade, most likely the street crew can get into a greater rhythm as it doesn’t fear about matchups as a lot.

“I feel it’s us towards the arena whilst you’re at the street, so it at all times does really feel other,” Trotz mentioned. “I simply suppose that any time within the playoffs that a crew form of loses a recreation, their funding degree is going upper and better. When you have everyone for your bench simply being down two p.c and everyone on their bench going up two p.c, the entire unexpected there’s a large trade for your desperation degree all through your lineup. We’re the crew that misplaced. We’ve were given to be determined.”

Avid gamers to observe

Evgeny Kuznetsov: Centering a most sensible line with Alex Ovechkin right through the playoffs, Kuznetsov has led Washington in scoring with 9 targets and 11 assists via 15 video games. That implies he’s simply two issues shy of surroundings a franchise document for essentially the most issues in a single postseason. As a comparability, Kuznetsov had part as many issues (10) in simply two fewer video games (13) within the Capitals’ playoff run a 12 months in the past. He and Ovechkin usually are matched towards Tampa Bay’s fourth line with heart Cedric Paquette and wingers Ryan Callahan and Chris Kunitz in Recreation four.

Brayden Level: Level had a two-point effort in Recreation Three together with his function and power-play help. It was once Level’s fourth multi-point efficiency of the postseason. Previously 13 video games, he’s scored six targets, had 8 assists and 14 issues. Handiest 22 years outdated, Level strangely made the Tampa coaching camp roster ultimate 12 months, however blossomed as accidents in entrance of him left him the highest heart at season’s finish. This 12 months, Level anchored the highest line, which was once automatically matched up towards the combatants’ most sensible traces. All over the common season, Level scored 32 targets and had 34 assists.

“He’s a hockey participant,” Tampa Trainer Jon Cooper mentioned. “The puck drops and its recreation on for him. A large number of those youngsters, he’s within the convention ultimate, however he’s captained Canada’s global junior crew. He’s been in some lovely large environments to play in, so he’s been in this degree sooner than. However his competitiveness is off the charts. He’s simply a type of youngsters that gained’t be denied. He simply has a large number of appreciate within the locker room as a result of he’s in reality quiet, unassuming, doesn’t say very a lot. He simply shall we his play do the speaking for him.”

Postgame studying

Immerse your self within the Capitals’ postseason with The Submit’s protection of the Stanley Cup playoffs:

Unburdened through earlier playoff luggage, Capitals’ younger avid gamers lend a hand raise the weight

After an uncharacteristic playoff efficiency, Braden Holtby takes inventory — and strikes on

Victor Hedman is ‘in every single place the ice’ in Lightning’s Recreation Three win over Capitals

After being blamed for Recreation Three loss, Caps enthusiasts break broom signed through Nicklas Backstrom

I’ll have what Alex Ovechkin is having: Fanatics can’t get sufficient of Mamma Lucia’s rooster Parmesan

Steven Stamkos is wholesome, assured and in a position to guide the Lightning’s comeback

In what might be his ultimate run with Capitals, relentless Jay Beagle refuses to yield

Tony Kornheiser at the Capitals: ‘They’re going to win the Stanley Cup’

Between most cancers therapies on the Mayo Hospital, Caps fan flies house to wait Recreation Three

Caps fan’s viral selfie with Evgeny Kuznetsov was once much more fascinating than it appeared

Caps are in the end fortunate and excellent within the playoffs

The Caps and Nats are rolling, and Barry Trotz and Dave Martinez can’t forestall texting each and every different

Those Stanley Cup playoffs have given the Capitals all they may be able to deal with. And so they’ve treated it simply tremendous.

Lars Eller steps out of injured Nicklas Backstrom’s shadow and into the highlight

Lightning defenseman attempted to duplicate Alex Ovechkin’s strikes. Now he’s looking to forestall them.

All at once, the Capitals are at the proper aspect of a chain of lucky occasions

‘We’re all in regards to the Rangers South’: Capitals face acquainted playoff foes in Tampa

Barry Trotz lacks a freelance extension, however has viewpoint as Capitals pursue Stanley Cup

Washington’s anticipated lineup

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana-Lars Eller-T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky-Chandler Stephenson-Brett Connolly
Devante Smith-Pelly-Jay Beagle-Alex Chiasson

Defensemen
Michal Kempny-John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov-Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik-Christian Djoos

Goaltenders
Braden Holtby (starter)
Philipp Grubauer

Tampa Bay’s anticipated lineup

Forwards
J.T. Miller-Steven Stamkos-Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat-Brayden Level-Tyler Johnson
Alex Killorn-Anthony Cirelli-Yanni Gourde
Chris Kunitz-Cedric Paquette-Ryan Callahan

Defensemen
Victor Hedman-Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh-Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn-Mikahil Sergachev

Goaltenders
Andrei Vasilevskiy (starter)
Louis Domingue

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