Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov celebrates with teammates Victor Hedman and Brayden Point after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the second period of Game 3 at Capital One Arena, in Washington, D.C., on May 15, 2018.
There was a time when the Washington Capitals couldn't be trusted to advance past the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. They also surrendered a 6-on-5 goal to Evgeny Kuznetsov with 3:02 left that made things interesting in the final minutes.
Washington, meanwhile, couldn't convert on its own opportunities, failing to score on its own power play, going 0-for-3. The Capitals are 3-0 without him, including Games 1 and 2 against the Lightning in this best-of-7 series.
NOTES: C Lars Eller took three of Washington's six penalties. Coach Barry Trotz continues to call Backstrom day-to-day. Backstrom has participated in morning skates with the Capitals, but has not taken line rushes or any time with their power-play units.
The most recent issue is the Eastern Conference finals playoff series between the Capitals and Lightning. That's probably because, to put it simply, the Golden Knights have looked the most like this year's team of destiny, rallying behind Marc-Andre Fleury and incredible offensive balance to defy the forecasts that maybe had them as a competent, not contending, team in their first year of existence.