The Tampa Bay Lightning are trying to prove odds makers wrong! The Lightning was down two games to the Washington Capitals heading into game three of the Eastern Conference Finals. But, in a surprising swing of momentum, the Lightning hammered the Capitals in a 4-2 win in game three. The score made it look like a closer game than it was.
First, let me say this about the odds, full credit to sportswriters at NBC Sports as they were one of the first media outlets to notice how far winning two games on your opponent’s ice pays off.
Were the Odds Right After Game Two?
As of Tuesday, the Washington Capitals were the favorite team to not only win the Eastern – but to go on and win the 2018 Stanley Cup! But, the win for the Lightning in Game three proves that should not count Tampa Bay out yet! They came to play in game three to prove oddsmakers wrong!
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These are the numbers heading into game three. The Capitals had risen to the top now that teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators have been eliminated. Note; these odds are prior to the game three win by Tampa.
Washington Capitals 8/5
Vegas Golden Knights 12/5
Winnipeg Jets 13/5
Tampa Bay Lightning 13/2
One thing oddsmakers possibly could not factor into the mix is how confident the leaders (Capitals) were feeling. The Capitals looked as if they expected to show up and win with ease. Jeremy Roenick, of NBC Sports, was working the game when he said the Capitals had not shown up for the game.
“It’s too nonchalant,” Roenick said during the broadcast before the game ended 4-2. “This team is not prepared to work and now they’re down 4-1 in a crucial game, and you’re giving a team that’s very talented something to get excited about. We’ve seen it before. They’re going to look back at this game and say, ‘Oh no.’”
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Lightning Pick Up Game Three
The reason the Capitals became the favorites is simple. They seemingly cruised through the first two games against the Lightning with ease. They hung a 4-2 score on the Lightning on Tampa’s home ice in game one. Then, Washington followed that with a blistering win of 6-2 against Tampa, again on the Lightning’s home ice.
Then, things changed – apparently, the Lightning didn’t get the memo that they were supposed to drop game three. Tampa made good use of two power play situations where the scored on both. That helped break open game three where the Capitals fell behind 4-1 with just over eight minutes to play.
Before the end of the game, it was Tampa getting the most time in front of the net. They had 29 shots on the Capitals net compared to 20 for Washington with less than ten minutes in the game. It was clear that Tampa was trying to stay alive by picking up their pace on the ice.
That pressure continued, but the Capitals were able to score another goal in the closing minutes to cut the lead to two nets. But, by the time Washington started skating hard, the game was over, and Tampa had won on road in a critical game.
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Too Little Too Late in Game Three
The Capitals lead the series 2-1 after game three. But, there are several numbers to consider when you’re taking a look at game four in the series.
First, Tampa turned up the heat in the middle. The Lightning scored three times in the second period showing the Capitals possibly were not ready to play three full periods in game three.
Tampa put up 1 in the first and three in the second. This allowed them to play defense for the third period. Washington put up 1 score in the second and 1 in the third.
The next number to look over is power plays. Washington scored two big goals in power play situations which sealed the win during the seconds period. Nothing says you’re still in the game than quieting a crowd in a tight series on the road.
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