Lightning-Capitals: Can Tampa Bay produce another Game 2 bounce back?

Washington’s Tom Wilson heads to the penalty box during Game 3 against Pittsburgh

And while he's been inspired by other Russian players - especially teammates Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy - no one has had more influence on his game than Ovechkin.

But the party had to end. "They want to see plays, they want to see goals and good saves". Braden Holtby has given up 25 goals on 332 shots faced and Philipp Grubauer has allowed eight goals on 49 shots. But then refocus. Put it out of our minds. "For us, we've got to keep them under pressure and it starts with that first forechecker being hard".

The Capitals, who haven't been to a conference final since winning the Eastern Conference title in 1998, held the Lightning to 10 shots on goal through the first two periods as they controlled the game while building a four-goal lead.

"Obviously now playing against him, it is one of the best things", Sergachev said.

"I guess the positive side is we've been here before, so we've seen this". It's paid dividends for us. Only two garbage time goals by Tampa kept the game from getting completely out of hand.

"Well, it's just a response", said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.

"It's tough, especially when there is not much time left in the period".

They began the process of fixing what went wrong with a high-pace, high-energy practice Saturday that featured a lot of work on dump-ins, breakouts and special teams. "It was one of those things where, throughout the game, I think they outplayed us in all periods", Lightning forward Alex Killorn said. "Early in the Columbus series, (Vrana) had a little bit of those saucer eyes".

Washington now leads Tampa 1-0 in the series. They did it in the second round against the Bruins after losing Game 1 6-2.

Sergachev's admiration for Ovechkin has forced the young Russian's family to remain mum about the fact that the two are sharing the same ice in these playoffs.

The Capitals know the Lightning lost the first game of their second-round series against Boston, 6-2 on home ice.

"We want to make it enjoyable for [the fans]", Kucherov said. Everybody was all in and everybody was paying the price.

Is this game a must win situation for the Lightning?

The Eastern Conference Final is officially underway. "We beat Boston, and Washington came and just slapped us". I'm not trying to take anything from Washington. "They were that close to being where they are now if some breaks here and there had have gone their way". And since Jon Cooper has served as Lightning coach, Tampa Bay has dropped the first game of a series seven times in 11 tries. "You can play the flawless game and still not win, but at least you give your chance to win". Impressive performances from the likes of Alexander Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Lars Eller and Jay Beagle was the central avenue through which the Capitals not only sent a commanding message to fans at Amalie Arena, but also walked away with a 1-0 series lead. That loss had an effort Cooper and his players could be satisfied with. "You can feel good about the way you played and look back at it and say, 'Hey we had some chances that didn't go in or what not, ' but when you play like the way we did and they show up and won the way they did, it's kind of a wake-up call that we're playing a really good hockey team and we've got to sharpen up if we're going to have a chance to win". "And this is the result you get".