It was perfectly executed - an unstoppable, momentum-changing shot. Both will skate on Thursday morning and be ready for the turning point game of the series.
With the Washington Capitals leading the series 2-1, the Tampa Bay Lightning are in a do-or-die game. The Lightning rode that flash of energy from Stamkos's power-play goal for the remainder of Game 3, en route to a 4-2 victory at Capital One Arena in Washington.
Washington skaters have been whistled for penalties 4.1 times per game in total this season, 4.4 per game over their last five games total, and 4.6 per game over their last five home outings. If I'm wearing a helmet from five years ago, I think I'm probably unconscious. "You play the whole year a certain way and then the playoffs come and it's a little faster and bit more physical, but you still play the same way". He's a huge leader for us and guys want to do it for him if he's out of the lineup. Their Game 3 performance was... less impressive. Nikita Kucherov in most got enough time to strike a sighting shot in the upper left corner of the goal, "Washington", and two minutes later Victor Hedman to the two assists he added in his debut playoff goal, sending the puck into the nearly unguarded net after a pass Kucherov.
Did the Lightning feel they owed their goalie one, after hanging him out to dry for 10 goals in the first two games? It was a bounce-back performance for the veteran player, after missing almost all of the 2016-17 campaign due to injury.
Stamkos would take the opening goal for Tampa Bay at six minutes into the first period on Tuesday. Coach Barry Trotz called him a game-time decision and said early Thursday that Backstrom had not yet been medically cleared. "Any team would say that", he said.
There is a league-wide trend here: Road teams are 38-34 in these playoffs. You get on the road and you're just with the guys. If he's going to be in the lineup, it's going to give us more room to create with the lines and the team's going to be happy. In 2013-14, he suffered a broken leg.
Point, on the other hand, has remained consistent, as though these last two months have been continuation of the regular season. A Lightning victory guarantees a sixth game. "Obviously, when things start going and the confidence level gets higher and you find yourself wanting the puck more, wanting to make plays and wanting to shoot it".
"We don't think about it", the three-time NHL MVP said. "I don't think he's a malicious player, at all".
He had another scare in the third period of Game 3 in Washington after he took a slap shot off his leg.