Light­ning slide past Cap­i­tals to even se­ries

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - SCOREBOARD -

WASH­ING­TON — The Tampa Bay Light­ning won Game 4 of the East­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals de­spite go­ing the equiv­a­lent of more than a pe­riod with­out a shot on goal.

They won de­spite fall­ing be­hind about 4½ min­utes into the game.

They won de­spite be­ing called for three penal­ties — one right af­ter the other — late in the first pe­riod, al­low­ing Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals’ pro­lific power play to get all that time to op­er­ate.

And they did it, mainly, thanks to An­drei Vasilevskiy, who made 36 saves and kept things close until Alex Kil­lorn scored the tiebreaker with 8:03 left, lift­ing Tampa Bay to a 4-2 vic­tory over Wash­ing­ton on Thurs­day night to even the be­stof-seven se­ries at 2-2.

“When you don’t have your ‘A’ game, you need your goalie to have his ‘A’ game,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “And he sure did.”

Now the Light­ning will host Game 5 on Satur­day night, with Game 6 in Wash­ing­ton on Mon­day.

The road team has won ev­ery game in the se­ries so far.

“It’s pretty bizarre,” said Steven Stamkos, who took a puck to the face dur­ing the morn­ing skate, then went out and scored a power-play goal that gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead in the first pe­riod. “We’ve got to find a way to win one at home.”

The Cap­i­tals might be think­ing the same thing. Af­ter all, they fell to 3-5 in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal this post­sea­son, while they are 7-1 in away games.

On Thurs­day, they even got booed — yes, a smat­ter­ing of jeers rang out in the team’s first con­fer­ence fi­nal in 20 years — late in the first pe­riod af­ter they failed to score on any of their three power plays.

That stretch was part of a chunk of nearly 21 full min­utes of game time — the last 10:41 of the first pe­riod, fol­lowed by the ini­tial 10:11 of the sec­ond — dur­ing which Tampa Bay did not put a shot on net.

“Our guys were gassed. That’s a lot of stress. Men­tal stress. The same guys are on the ice the whole time. Other guys aren’t play­ing,” Cooper said. “You kind of lose your whole rhythm.”

The go-ahead goal came thanks to a de­fen­sive break­down, when Kil­lorn was left pretty much alone and scored six sec­onds af­ter a Tampa Bay power play ex­pired, putting in a pass from On­drej Palat.

“Tonight was so im­por­tant,” Kil­lorn said. “Go­ing down 3-1 in a se­ries is tremen­dously dif­fer­ent from 2-2.”

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