EditorsNote: adds Palat quote
Alex Killorn scored the go-ahead goal with 8:03 remaining as the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning pulled even in the Eastern Conference finals by defeating the Washington Capitals 4-2 in Game 4 on Thursday night at Capital One Arena.
Killorn’s backhanded shot provided the winning goal off a pass from Ondrej Palat, who made the assist from behind the net. Killorn pushed the puck between goalie Braden Holtby’s pads.
The Lightning had gone more than 40 minutes without scoring since a first-period burst, often without strong scoring chances for extended stretches.
Game 5 will be Saturday night in Tampa, Fla. The road team has won each game in the series.
Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves.
“He was amazing,” Lightning left winger Ondrej Palat said of Vasilevskiy. “The best player on the ice, for sure. He’s one of the best in the world, and he shows that every game, and especially tonight.”
Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos scored in the first period for Tampa Bay. Stamkos has scored in each game of the series. Anthony Cirelli added an empty-net goal with two seconds to play.
Dmitry Orlov and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for the Capitals. Holtby stopped 16 shots.
“You don’t have to look at what happens in previous games,” Capitals left winger Alex Ovechkin said. “Right now, it’s the time of year you have to concentrate on the next game, the next shift.”
Vasilevskiy turned in a variety of top-notch saves, including a reaction to deny Brett Connolly, who had redirected an awkward-bouncing rebound in the third period.
“That’s why he’s one of the best goalies in the world,” Stamkos said. “He has given us a chance when we’re not playing our best, and tonight was another example of that.”
Both teams had the offense clicking early.
Orlov scored 4:28 into the game.
Point countered slightly more than a minute later, set up by Yanni Gourde’s nifty pass.
Then it was Stamkos’ turn, as the Tampa Bay center found the net at 8:32 of the opening period on a power play. That was Stamkos’ franchise-record 11th postseason power-play goal. Stamkos fired a shot from the left side before Holtby could move into position.
Tampa Bay led 2-1 after the opening period despite Washington’s 15-7 edge in shots.
Kuznetsov tallied 5:38 into the second period, pulling the Capitals even.
Washington kept up the pressure, registering nine of the first 10 shots of the second period. A similar type of activity took placed in the Capitals’ offensive zone for the first eight minutes of the third period.
Tyler Johnson assisted on Tampa Bay’s first goal, lifting his career playoff points total to 50 with the Lightning.
Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom made his series debut after sustaining an injury in the previous round. He finished with a minus-1 rating in 18:51 of ice time.
—Field Level Media