Bolts have Capitals on the Brink with come from Behind Victory 4-3, up 3-0 in Series

By on May 4, 2011

Tampa, Fl. (RSEN) The Tampa Bay Lightning have a strangle hold on their Eastern Conference Semi-Final Series with the Washington Capitals after their thrilling 4-3 come from behind victory in front a raucous crowd 20,613 at the St Pete Times Forum.

It was a night when the leaders of this team refused to lose from the captain of this team to last man on the bench.  The Lightning played a game that has frustrated the Caps and has them defelated after this game on the verge of bowing out of the playoffs early once again.

A "THOR" line in action in the first period. Steve Downie (9) battles John Erskine (4) for a loose puck, wins, gets it ahead to teammate Sean Bergenheim (10) who ends up playing give and go 2 on 1 with teammate Dominic Moore. Bergenheim would score the first goal of the game. (photo by Kim Klement/USPresswire)

A “THOR” line of Sean Bergenheim, Steve Downie and Dominic Moore struck the Caps in the heart in the first period as Downie kept the puck in the zone which led directly to a 2 on 1 as  Moore then fed Bergenheim for the goal past Michal Neuvirth for a 1-0 lead at 11:03, for Bergenheim it is his sixth goal of the playoffs.

This line has 21 points since the Bolts went down 3-1 to the Penguins in the last round which as coincided with the win streak the team is currently enjoying.

Washington opened the second period knowing that it season was hanging by a thread and got a kick start to the period as Marty St. Louis turned the puck over  to Alex Ovechkin, who skated down a breakaway.  Dwayne Roloson made a sprawling save but Ovechkin was able to get the puck out of the corner and pass it to Mike Knuble who slipped the it past the Lightning goalie to tie the score at one, with just 59 seconds into the period.

Washington continued to build on that first goal and the ensueing pressure led to a second goal which John Carlson was able to get a puck through the five hole past Roloson, who was screened in front by Eric Fehr at 7:58 of the period to give the Caps a 2-1 lead.  You could see Washington was finally feeling better about the way they are playing after that first goal of the game.

Not so fast, the Lightning leaders continue to refuse to lose as Vinnie Lecavalier scored his fifth goal of the playoffs on a play that St. Louis just got the puck to the front of the net and Lecavalier knocked it home to tie the score at 2.  It was a shift that Lecavalier, St Louis and Teddy Purcell cycled the puck in the offensive zone before they were able to score.

The Capitals also broke through on the power play in this series, as they scored on the power play.  It took a 5 on 3 for them to get the job down as Mike Green fired a shot from the point which Alex Semin poked free from Roloson.  As the puck then pin balled out to Ovechkin in the slot  he was able to shoot the puck in the empty net as Roloson was down in his crease at 17:27 to give the Caps a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission. 

At the start of the third period the Lightning came out of the locker room flying, playing well when the Bolts blow the roof off St Pete Times Forum, as Steven Stamkos finally made an appearance in the series in a huge moment to tie the score.  Just 24 seconds later Ryan Malone had the puck bounce in off his skate to give the Lightning the lead 4-3 which they would never surrender, it was the two fastest goals in team playoff history.

For Steven Stamkos who has been getting better with every game in the playoffs, tonight was the night when he had his first moment in the Stanley Cup playoffs as he scored a huge game tying goal.  So you can certainly feel his confidence growing even more with every shift of experience he gets in the playoffs.  Coach Guy Boucher talked about how he (Stamkos) wanted to go out on the ice to close out the game, not to score the empty net goal and he was ready to send him out there if they needed it.

“This was a character test in the third period tonight” said Nate Thompson talking about how the Lightning came out in the third period. 

Coach Boucher beamed as he talked about how his players in the room were the ones we was righting the ship not the coaching staff.  It signifies how far this team has come in a short period of time.

The team was flying and at one point they were out shooting the Caps 13-1 as they came roaring back from the 3-2 deficit at the start of the period.  Tampa played the third period like they were the team down 0-2 in the series not Washington. 

It is plan to see that the Caps are on the verge of tapping out in this series and the Bolts will have their chance to close out the series tomorrow night at the St Pete Times Forum at 7pm.

If you would have read the keys to the game on Rocket Sports & Entertainment website you could have skipped watching the game as our staff writers picked this game to a “T” tonight.  So it pays to listen to the radio program on Saturday mornings from 10am to Noon on your ESPN 1040 Tampa Bay and read the website at rocketsports-ent.com to get the best hockey analysis , period.

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