The Washington Capitals look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Here are my keys to the game for the Caps.
Stay out of the box
As was seen in Game 2, sometimes a call will be made without there actually being a penalty. While that call was obviously wrong, the Caps will need to stay disciplined. As the Lightning displayed on their first two power plays of Game 2, they can be deadly. If the Caps do take a penalty, they will need to dig deep and kill it off.
Powerful power play
On the other side of the coin, the Caps will need to continue their power play success. While Nicklas Backstrom is still considered “day-to-day”, the top power play unit has continued to be on a tear without him. For the Caps to go up 3-0, the power play will need to be successful.
With the exception of the third period in Game 1, the Caps have dominated five-on-five play. The Lightning have only one even-strength goal, while the Caps have seven. In addition, it seems like the Caps are finally capitalizing on their odd-man rush opportunities. Tampa Bay will be pressing in Game 3, and the Capitals must continue to take advantage of their pinching defenseman and look to score in transition.
Feed off the crowd
The Capitals will be playing the first conference finals game in the city of DC in 20 years. The atmosphere will be incredible and the Caps must use it to their advantage. If the Caps get another early goal, the crowd will be electric and a second one could put Tampa Bay away.
If the Capitals play like they have in their first two games, there is no reason they should not come out on top and take a stranglehold on the series.