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article imageNHL: Lightning take stranglehold on series with win over Caps

By Dustin Pollack     May 4, 2011 in Sports
It’s one of the old adages when it comes to NHL playoff hockey. That being, it’s not always the team with the most front-end talent that comes out with a victory, yet the team with the deepest roster.
And while the Tampa Bay Lightning have three of the most prolific players in the NHL, in Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, they’ve shown that their forward roster goes a lot deeper than their top six.
More specifically the line of Sean Bergenheim, Dominic Moore and Steve Downie. The threesome had combined for 19 points in the playoffs going into Game 3 and they got the ball rolling in the Lightning’s 4-3 win tonight as Downie and Bergenheim played give-and-go before Bergenheim put it through the legs of Washington Capitals goaltender Michael Neuvirth to make it 1-0 in the first period.
The goal was Bergenheim’s fifth of the playoffs and now puts him into a tie for the team lead and with the win the Lightning have set themselves up with a chance to sweep the series Thursday night.
“It means a lot. Once again they played a great game,” Lecavalier told TSN when asked if it was important to snag two games on the road to begin this series. “They came after us, but 'Rolie' made some huge saves all night. Even in overtime, they played pretty solid. We took advantage of our chances.”
But it wasn’t all Lightning tonight, Washington didn’t go down easy scoring three goals in the second period including one on the powerplay by Alex Ovechkin that put the Capitals up 3-2 going into the third.
However just 5:23 into the third period Steven Stamkos pounced on a loose puck and ripped one over the blocker of Neuvirth and just 24 seconds later Nate Thompson threw a puck towards the Capitals net and it took an awkward bounce off the skate of Ryan Malone and in to put Tampa Bay up 4-3.
“We always come back in the third period,” Lightning Coach Guy Boucher told the Washington Post. “I think everything’s a habit. And we’ve made it a habit this year to believe that in third periods, we can make it happen. It’s all in the mind.”
Other game notes…
• Alex Ovechkin’s goal was the first the Capitals have scored on the powerplay in this series.
• Nicklas Backstrom has now gone eight playoff games without a goal.
• Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina both missed Game 2 and 3 with injuries.
More about Tampa bay lightning, Washington capitals, Nhl playoffs, NHL, Hockey
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