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|WASHINGTON — For a group making their first trip to the Eastern Conference Final Alex McGough Color Rush Jersey , the Washington Capitals look right at home.
Even when they are on the road.
The Capitals come home to Capital One Arena for Game 3 on Tuesday night sporting a 2-0 lead over a Tampa Bay Lightning team that won the most games in the NHL during the regular season.
“I can’t wait to go home and play the game,” Alex Ovechkin told the Washington Post after Game 2. “The fans are going to be all over the place and we’ve waited for this moment for a long time. It’s going to be pretty cool and pretty special.”
The Capitals improved to 7-1 on the road in these playoffs with Sunday’s 6-2 win and the Lightning now must win one of two in Washington to send the series back to Tampa Bay.
Road teams that have taken a 2-0 series lead in the NHL conference finals have an 18-1 series record. The Capitals are 3-3 at home this postseason.
“We’re here for a reason. We believe in ourselves and in this group,” Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman told the team’s website. “We’ve got to go out there and win games on the road, and we’ve done that in the playoffs and we’ve got to do it again.”
Washington has outscored the Lightning 10-4 despite playing without center Nicklas Backstrom (right hand injury). Lars Eller moved up to the second line and scored a goal for the second straight game. He has four points in two games.
“I like the playoffs,” Eller, who has 11 points (five goals, six assists) this postseason, told NHL.com. “I embrace when there’s more on the line and the stakes are higher. I always like that, and I think that it brings out in the best in me, and now with Nick out I’ve just been playing more minutes.”
Washington’s defensive play has limited the Lightning to one even-strength goal in the first two games, and the Capitals have succeeded in generating odd-man rushes when they have the puck.
Eller and Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and two assists in Game 2, and Ovechkin and Tom Wilson each had a goal and an assist. Braden Holtby made 33 saves for Washington and has stopped 52 of 56 shots in two games Cheap Kolton Miller Jersey , winning the goaltending battle with Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Capitals scored twice late in the second period to take a 4-2 lead, including a power-play goal by Kuznetsov with three seconds left, and cruised home.
Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos scored Game 2 goals — Vasilevskiy made 31 saves — for Tampa Bay, which lost two games in a row for the first time this postseason.
“If there is one thing I can sit here and say about these two games, it’s we just played tentative and a little bit slow,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper told NHL.com. “We didn’t get 113 points by playing that way. We didn’t win the first two rounds by playing that way. These first two games, that’s the way we’ve played.”
One bright note for the Lightning, the last time they lost two straight home playoff games, in the 2015 conference final against the New York Rangers (Games 4 and 6), they won the series in seven games.
“Sometimes, adversity is gut-check time and let’s see who we really are,” Stamkos told NHL.com. “We haven’t had to really deal with that so far in the playoffs. Now we are http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-mike-gesicki-jersey , so we’ll see what type of team we are.”
Spotting opponents an early lead hasn’t been a problem lately for Anthony Rizzo and the Chicago Cubs.
Rizzo drove in his second run of the game in the seventh inning to snap a tie, Kyle Schwarber followed with a solo homer in the eighth and the Cubs rebounded from an early three-run deficit to edge the Detroit Tigers 5-3 on Tuesday for their fifth straight win.
The other team has scored first in each of Chicago’s recent victories, but the Cubs have kept chipping away.
”We know we’re a good team,” Rizzo said. ”We just have to string together good at-bats.”
The Cubs did just that again on Tuesday.
With one out in the seventh, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist singled off Tigers reliever Daniel Stumpf (1-4). Rizzo’s slow bouncer up the middle resulted in a force of Zobrist at second, but Jose Iglesias’ throw to first was too late to double up Rizzo and Heyward scored from third to put Chicago ahead for the first time, 4-3.
Schwarber hit his team-leading 17th homer to right against a steady wind off Lake Michigan in the eighth.
Trailing 3-0, Albert Almora, Jr. and Heyward each drove in a run with a double, then Rizzo followed with an RBI single in Chicago’s three-run fifth.
Rizzo has just one homer in his past 20 games – and 12 this season – after launching at least 31 in each of the past four seasons. But the Cubs slugger says the longball isn’t always the best approach.
”You get down and start battling (at) two strikes, it’s not about hitting a homer,” Rizzo said. ”It’s just about putting the ball in play and we’re doing a good job at that.”
Justin Wilson (3-2) Justin Bethel Jersey Elite , the second of Chicago’s four relievers, pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the win. Pedro Strop pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save in four chances.
The Cubs’ bullpen allowed just one hit after starter Kyle Hendricks labored through five innings, allowing three runs and seven hits in a no-decision. In his past six starts, the right-hander is 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA.
”They didn’t beat him up by any means today,” manager Joe Maddon said. ”It’s just that it wasn’t a typical surgeon-like procedure from Kyle. He looks good, he’s just not executing.”
Detroit leadoff hitter Mikie Mahtook had three singles and scored a run. Niko Goodrum drove in a run with a double, and Jeimer Candelario and James McCann each had an RBI as the Tigers lost their 12th game in their past 14.
Tigers starter Michael Fulmer went six innings and allowed three runs – all in the fifth – and seven hits.
”He had really good stuff,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. ”He got a couple of pitches up a bit, but they kind of put them in the right place.
”It wasn’t like they were lashing them, but they put them on the outfield grass, kind of like what we did to them early.”
The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. After Mahtook and Nick Castellanos led off with singles, Candelario drove in a run with a groundout. Goodrum’s double to the right-field corner scored the second run.
The Tigers added a run in the fourth on McCann’s RBI single.
The Cubs tied it 3-all in the fifth. Pinch-hitter Tommy LaStella Authentic Hayden Hurst Jersey , Almora and Heyward led off with consecutive doubles to cut it to 3-2, then Rizzo’s hit with one out tied it.
WINDY CITY TIGER
INF/OF Jim Adduci, called up from Triple-A Toledo on Sunday, was in Detroit’s lineup at first base and singled and scored in his first game this season. The 33-year-old attended Evergreen Park High School in Chicago’s south suburbs and grew up a fan of both the Cubs and White Sox. Adduci’s father, also named Jim, played a total of 70 games with three major league teams in the 1980s and was at Wrigley Field on Tuesday.
Cubs: INF/OF Kris Bryant (left shoulder inflammation) probably will return Wednesday or Friday, Maddon said after the game. The Cubs star has been sidelined since June 22. … RHP Yu Darvish (right triceps inflammation, right elbow impingement/inflammation) rejoined the Cubs after seeing Dr. Keith Meister in Texas on Friday and getting a cortisone shot. Maddon said he still hadn’t yet talked to the right-hander about his progress following the injection.
Tigers LHP Francisco Liriano (3-4. 3.99) takes the mound against Cubs LHP Jose Quintana (6-6. 4.31) on Wednesday afternoon in the finale of the two-game interleague set. Liriano has lost both of his starts since coming off the disabled list (right hamstring strain) on June 23. Quintana has two losses and three no-decisions in his past five starts and hasn’t won since May 31.