Dropping the first two games of the Eastern Conference Final at home is not how the Tampa Bay Lightning hoped to start the series.
Both teams entered the game red-hot on the power play, and the Lightning's unsafe extra-man unit continued its terrorizing ways.
Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Ellers each had a goal and two assists as six different Capitals scored. "We didn't get 113 points by playing that way". The Capitals know first hand how unsafe it can be to squander a 2-0 lead at home, having survived being in the Lightning's position in the opening round when they dropped the first two games to the Columbus Blue Jackets only to win three straight road games en route to a 4-2 series win.
Washington left wing Alex Ovechkin is excited about his team's series lead but knows they still have a long way to go before clinching a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Tampa Bay won for the first time in the series and will try to pull even in Game 4, which is set for Thursday night in Washington.
The Caps are 7-1 on the road in the playoffs and 3-4 at Capital One Arena.
The goal put the Lightning at 4/8 on the power play in this series.
"If there is one thing I can sit here and say about these two games, it's we just played tentative and a little bit slow", Lightning coach Jon Cooper told NHL.com.
It wasn't ideal, but it was a more complete effort from Tampa Bay, which jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Brett Connolly answered for Washington in the second. "You've got to make them chase the game", Cooper said.
So far, the Stamkos we're seeing tonight - rather than the one of the previous two games - appears to be who he really is. "He's our best player".
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby allowed four goals on 23 shots, though power-play one-timers by Stamkos and Kucherov were nearly impossible to stop. He's always there for us, and we did a good job for him tonight. "I think that gives him some confidence, too, that he knows we're on and that's the way it should be".
"We haven't done anything yet", Stamkos said.