Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Caps' Backstrom appears closer to return from injury

Caps' Backstrom appears closer to return from injury

Through the first three games, Tampa Bay has 27 per cent of the goals, 42 per cent of the scoring chances and 47 per cent of the shots. Washington led 4-0 over Tampa in game one before the Lightning made the score look close at 4-2 and the Caps rattled off five straight goals in game two for a 6-2 thrashing.

The center missed the previous four games with a right-hand injury.

Holtby is the implied home starter versus the Lightning for Game 4 of the conference finals Thursday, according to The Washington Post. "Obviously, they expect you to do well and have a playoff run". With AP Photos.Nicklas Backstrom could return to the Capitals' lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. With this game taking place at the Capital One Arena, the team is looking to have the crowd rally behind them for a 3-1 victory.

And as they have in other critical junctures of this postseason, the Lightning relied on their best players to rise to the occasion and rescue a series that had been firmly in their opponents' grasp. Washington leads the series 2-1. "I don't really think I was myself" after the play, Wilson said Thursday, adding that he expected he would be for Game 4.

"You need everyone chipping in and it seems at times that those guys have gone quiet in games", Cooper said.

Stamkos said he felt like the team had a bit of a chip on its shoulder after last season's disappointing finish and believed the team had put itself in position for playoff success this year.

For starters, it can't be a good sign when so many of your key players - as is the case with Tampa Bay - are getting crushed at 5-on-5.

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"When they go in the net, they're all nice", he said.

To illustrate how infrequent this is, I graphed out the distribution of Tampa Bay's performance by those same scoring chance and shot attempt numbers over three-game segments in the last three years. "Maybe they play a little different. Simpler play. Just a kind of, like, more gritty style".

We're dealing with small samples here, but the reality is a playoff series is, at most, seven games and you just can't play poorly for very long. "Just a little simpler". We all know it's going to be a tough series.

"I think we always feel like we owe him", defenseman Anton Stralman said.

"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.

This was how it should be for Tampa Bay.

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