Capitals have Lightning in a precarious position

Hedman, Lightning beat Caps to cut East final deficit to 2-1

Hedman, Lightning beat Caps to cut East final deficit to 2-1

BC-HKN-Capitals-Backstrom, 1st Ld-Writethru, 442Caps' Backstrom appears closer to return from injuryAP Photo PAGP108Eds: Adds quotes, details.

Unlike the previous updates, though, was the reference to the Capitals' center's status for that night's Game 4 of the East finals as being up to the medical staff.

With a win, the Lightning can regain the home-ice advantage - or disadvantage, as the visiting team has won the first three games - before the teams travel to Tampa Bay for Saturday's Game 5. As has been the case since late in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the coach was talking about Nicklas Backstrom's game status. Currently, the series is 2-1 in favor of the Capitals.

With a win in Game 4 on Thursday, the Washington Capitals can take a 3-1 over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL's Eastern Conference finals. The 2016 Vezina Trophy victor could get some extra help offensively in this next one, as premier puck pusher Nicklas Backstrom (undisclosed) reportedly took morning line rushes and has a chance to suit up.

"It would be pretty cool", captain Alex Ovechkin said. If hes going to be in the lineup, its going to give us more room to create with the lines and the teams going to be happy. "He's our leader. We all love him".


On the eighth anniversary of Backstrom signing a 10-year, $67 million deal, the second-longest tenured player in the organization is appearing in the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in his National Hockey League career. If Backstrom plays, it's possible he doesn't take faceoffs.

Hedman has a goal and 10 assists during an eight-game point streak.

"You look at last night, (defenceman Matt) Niskanen was over there and (goaltender Braden) Holtby was set and (Stamkos) still found a way". "Its always nice to have Nick in the lineup. He's a one-of-a-kind player".

"Those guys have delivered when we've needed them", said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "You've got to make them chase the game", Cooper said. "Hes a fabulous player". Just another guy that's a puck possessor, sees the ice. You get on the road and you're just with the guys. Washington had far more shots on goal in Game 3 and Holtby should be able to bounce back from a subpar effort, although the Lightning did do a good job placing shots in the top shelf where even the best goalie would struggle to stop them. "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".

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