The Washington Capitals looked like a different team when they got back home. They had a desperate Tampa Bay Lightning on their hands and didn’t know how to handle it. The Caps played like they had a freebie in their back pocket, because there wasn’t much urgency from this group at all. Stamkos and Kucherov both tickled the twine with blasts past Holtby. They were both laser guided middles from pretty well the same spots on the ice from opposite sides. Stamkos just slapped it in a tight spot over Holtby, while he wasn’t able to get across in time against Kucherov. The Lightning must come out with the same energy and effort as they did in Game 3.
It was easy for the Capitals to play too loosely in Game 3. Playing loosely can be a blessing or curse sometimes, but the Caps came off as way too loose, like they didn’t care much. They maybe should have cared a little more because a win would have forced the Lightning to win three in a row. It was a must-win and the Bolts showed up. There isn’t some big secret regarding the Lightning. Stamkos and Kucherov have good games then they’re very tough to beat. Do a disappearing act and the results look like Game 1 and 2 at home in Tampa. Let’s get straight to our Lightning vs Capitals Game 4 pick below.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals Game 4 Pick
Jon Cooper was played like a fiddle on home ice in Game 1 and 2. There was no room for Stamkos and Kucherov to operate. With that said, the Caps did an excellent job at neutralizing the two main superstars of the Lightning. The same can’t be said for the poor job in Game 3. The large blanket placed on Stamkos and Kucherov was missing. Giving either a lane in their wheelhouse is dangerous. That’s exactly what the Capitals did, as the sun was giftwrapped. There was a brief glimmer of hope for Washington at one point, but the Lightning responded fast.
The Capitals have already lost both of their first home games in a series. Back in the first-round, they were down 2-0 to the Blue Jackets but were ultimately able to stage a 4-2 series victory. Here they are again, with another situation where they could find themselves going 0-2 in the first two home games. I don’t know if they allow that to happen again, though. On a scale of 1 to 10, the Caps hit a 2 on the excitement scale in Game 3. There was little spark or jump in their step like we saw in Tampa. I’m not going to fall off the Capital’s bandwagon just yet. Ovechkin and Oshie should be able to go with the counter punch on Stamkos and Kucherov on Thursday. I’d look for a Caps win after a much better performance in Game 4.