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Quick Reaction: Tampa Bay Lightning take care of business in Washington

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But it was a far from perfect effort.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Game four in Washington has just completed. Andrei Vasilevskiy won the game. Full stop. It was all on him. Well, he did have some help. But he was the story. The Tampa Bay Lightning won. The Washington Capitals lost. Neither team has won a home game in this series. It feels strange, but here we are.

So with the game still fresh, I’ve got thoughts! Read further to get a look at what I’m thinking right now in reaction to this win!

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Shiitake Mushrooms! Holy Schnikes! Hoover Dam!

I had to go to the “family friendly” curse words because I’m not allowed to use real curse words here. But that’s what I have to say about that. Vasilevskiy absolutely stood on his head. He took the Lightning’s bad penalties and fended them off. He took the rushes the Lightning gave up and turned away the Caps. He was absolutely phenomenal.

And this was the second game in a row where he had to turn aside a tide of shots from the Capitals. The Caps attacked hard and often throwing shots from everywhere and getting into the most dangerous spots. He got beat twice, but that pales in comparison to the dozens of grade A chances that he turned aside.

Hopefully, the Lightning won’t ask the same of him in game five. Hopefully, they’ll fine tune their tactics and play better possession hockey in front of him and keep the puck to the other end of the ice. Hopefully, they’ll make his job a little bit easier and give him a little rest because he’s had to put in a ton of work in these first four games.

Also, the photo I have selected for this article represents what every Lightning fan should want to be doing to Vasilevskiy right now.

The Penalty Kill

Shiitake Mushrooms! Holy Schnikes! Hoover Dam!

I had to go to the “family friendly” curse words because I’m not allowed to use real curse words here. But that’s what I have to say about that.

Ok, I realize I just repeated myself. But it fits here too. The saying goes that your most important penalty killer is the goaltender. And Vasilevskiy was that. But I have to give kudos to the rest of the Lightning penalty killers.

The first penalty kill was a bit rough. After that one though, they were a lot stronger. They were winning battles, clearing pucks, and disrupting passes. Don’t quote me on this but it’s possible that Ovechkin had as many shots in the first power play as he did in the rest of the Caps’ power plays combined.

The penalty killers had a lot to do with that as they were consistently getting out and blocking shots and blocking the pass attempts. They were also winning battles along the wall and getting timely clears. That’s the best way to keep Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuzenetsov from doing damage on the power play. After allowing a combined 21 shots on goal to those two players, the Lightning limited them to seven combined shots. Those two are the Capitals’ best shooters and by limiting them the Lightning forced the Capitals to try and beat Vasilevskiy with lesser shooters more often.

Alex Killorn

Lightning fans, myself included, give Killorn a lot of grief for falling down seemingly at random times. His goal last night though was quite impressive. He showed off the hands that he has in tight and faked out Holtby to slide the game winning goal through the five hole. It was great to see that goal come from him. Killorn is a streaky scorer and he had gone cold in the playoffs.

His last goal came in game three against the New Jersey Devils, which is a ten game goalless streak. He had only put up one assist in that ten game span. This goal breaks a four game scoreless streak. Breaking those two droughts couldn’t have come at a better time for the Lightning.

The First Line

The first line had been struggling and the change of Ondrej Palat for J.T. Miller on the top line has made a pretty big difference. At even strength, they were driving play and controlling the puck. They had the most scoring chances and were just behind the fourth line in limiting scoring chances against. When you factor in ice time, that means the first line had a good performance for the night.

Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov have often struggled with puck possession throughout the season. Palat though has been a perfect complement for the two. As a left handed playmaker from the left wing, he has the ability to pass the puck across the ice for either of his linemates. Palat is also one of the most unheralded defensive forwards in the game and his backchecking has been a difference maker for the line.