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Lightning vs. Capitals odds, Game 3: Data scientist who's 22-7 releases 2018 NHL playoffs picks

Lightning vs. Capitals odds, Game 3: Data scientist who's 22-7 releases 2018 NHL playoffs picks

The Capitals' power play and penalty kill both have thrived during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It was Stamkos' sixth goal of the playoffs and his third power play goal of the Eastern Conference final. But Tuesday was a different story.

The Lightning had four All-Stars this season with Stamkos joined by right-wing Nikita Kucherov, defenseman Victor Hedman, and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, and all four combined to hand the Lightning a dominant 3-0 lead early in the second period.

The first came courtesy of Lightning captain Steven Stamkos in the first period, 35 feet deep according to the box score, stationed at his usual power play perch near the left dot. And apparently some people there are so committed to pleasing their D.C. business partners that they're willing to drop 100 grand on hockey fans riding the subway. That's probably because, to put it simply, the Golden Knights have looked the most like this year's team of destiny, rallying behind Marc-Andre Fleury and incredible offensive balance to defy the forecasts that maybe had them as a competent, not contending, team in their first year of existence.

Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals gives up a goal.

Vasilevskiy came pretty close to saving the Lightning's season with his 36-save, 4-2 win that prevented them from going down three games to none.

What Cooper didn't tell was he already had an inkling of some line shuffling in mind to try to spark the Bolts offense, which had accounted for just one 5-on-5 goal entering Game 3.

And another Lightning goal! Coach Barry Trotz said Backstrom was a game-time decision before each of the games in the conference final.

"The big thing for us is, and I think it's worked I guess in the three games, the team that gets the lead is the team that's in the driver's seat", Cooper said. He stopped the Caps from cashing in the chances they had, never let them jump ahead, never let the fans in Capital One Arena overwhelm the scene and kept his team in it until it could take over at the other end.

While Brett Connolly breathed life back into these Capitals and this crowd when he made it 3-1 mid-way through the second, beating Vasilevskiy blocker-side, the euphoria was short-lived.

In the lead and in charge, the Lightning took control of the game with two goals in the first four minutes of the second period.

And Vasilevskiy looked much less worn out than he did in the first two games, where he allowed 10 goals in five periods of play and never eclipsed a.850 save percentage.

"It doesn't matter who scores as long as we win, but it's nice to perform at this time of the year", Stamkos said. "We're going to need that to keep going".

Indeed. With a 4-2 road victory on Tuesday that saw Tampa Bay lead from start to finish, the perennial contenders at this stage have made it a series with the Capitals, cutting Washington's lead to 2-1.

But as Tuesday night proved, they can't take anything for granted.

"Power play make everything".

"We have to regroup", Tom Wilson said.

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