Caps' Backstrom appears closer to return from injury

Alex Ovechkin

His return would be a significant boost for Washington, which leads the series 2-1.

The Lightning climbed back into the series with Tuesday's 4-2 win, improving to 4-1 on the road in the 2018 playoffs.

Hedman had the primary assist on power-play goals by Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov and was a key part of three big penalty kills that gave Tampa Bay some much-needed momentum. Backstrom had five points (one goal, four assists) in five games in the second round. If Tampa wins, we've got ourselves a dandy of a series. 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.

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper also opted to juggle his top three lines and was rewarded with additional offense without hurting his defense. "Was that the recipe?" That was the recipe.

Both the Lightning and the Capitals have a center who is questionable to play tonight.

Now it's Washington's turn to respond.

Asked what his club could do to fare better at home, Capitals coach Barry Trotz said: "Just play the way we do on the road". "We weren't executing the way we normally did in the last couple of games". "I know when we go on the road, I think maybe we feel a bit more relaxed, and when we do make mistakes, maybe we don't let the groaning affect us or whatnot". We're invested there. We're playing with real good focus.

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Washington Capitals Center Nicklas Backstrom (19) in warm ups prior to the regular season National Hockey League game between the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs on April 4, 2017 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, ON. Neither team skated on Wednesday.

On the other side, you have all of Washington's big weapons - from Evgeny Kuznetsov to Alexander Ovechkin to T.J Oshie and so on - seeing heaps of scoring chances in their favour.

"You can't replace a guy like him", Jay Beagle told the Washington Post. Then you have some guys up front who can hurt you if you don't take care of the puck. "Obviously to get him back would be huge".

It wasn't an issue, of course, because the team cruised past the Devils and Bruins in five games each.

We're dealing with small samples here, but the reality is a playoff series is, at most, seven games and you just can't play poorly for very long. He was originally drafted in the first round, fourth overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals. "No one expected 4-0, right?"

"We had to check tonight, and it helped it go in our favor". "Just a little simpler".

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