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Bolts take a commanding 3-0 lead over Caps

May 4, 2011 - 3:30 AM
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone scored in a 24- second span early in the third period as Tampa Bay topped Washington, 4-3, in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Vincent Lecavalier and Sean Bergenheim also tallied for the Lightning, who took a commanding 3-0 series lead and can close out the set with a home win in Game 4 on Wednesday.

"This team is a good team. It's going to be hard to win four games, so we're happy about the result tonight and we just have to reload tomorrow," said Lightning forward Martin St. Louis.

Dwayne Roloson stopped 29-of-32 shots as Tampa Bay crept closer to its first conference final since winning the Stanley Cup in 2004.

Alex Ovechkin, Mike Knuble and John Carlson hit the net for the Capitals, who have not been swept since losing the 1998 Cup Finals to Detroit.

Michal Neuvirth allowed four goals on 30 shots in defeat.

"We weren't supposed to play safe. We knew they were going to come out in the third and we knew we had to keep pushing and doing what we've done," lamented Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau.

The Lightning pulled even at 5:23 of the third, when Victor Hedman won a scrum along the left boards and dished to Stamkos, who curled into the high slot and unleashed a high wrister.

On the following shift, Nate Thompson emerged from the boards and shoveled a pass across the crease. Malone was crashing the net at the left post and managed to get his stick on the disc to poke it in for a 4-3 Bolts edge.

"We started moving our feet and were able to find each other a little better," Malone said about his club's shift in momentum early in the final period. "I thought our game got away from us, but we did a good job in the third of getting on our game again."

Washington was only able to muster five shots on net in the final period, and came up empty on a power play with just under 11 minutes left in regulation.

Neuvirth came to the bench for an extra skater, but Tampa Bay had the better chances to the empty net.

After the Caps had a score disallowed due to a bench-minor penalty earlier in the period, Tampa got on the board at 11:03 when Dominic Moore fed Bergenheim off a 2-on-1 break for a successful shot through Neuvirth's pads.

Washington tied the game 59 seconds into the second, when Knuble followed up Ovechkin's failed breakaway chance and poked a loose puck in the crease over Roloson.

Carlson ripped a shot home from the right point at 7:58 to give the visitors a one-goal edge, but just under four minutes later Lecavalier redirected a backhanded St. Louis feed into the net while standing in the crease.

Ovechkin lifted a shot over a goalmouth scramble on a Caps power play at 17:27, and Washington led 3-2 after two.

"I think we were waiting for things to happen in the second period and our focus wasn't right," said Bolts head coach Guy Boucher. "We just got back and reloaded and came out the way we're supposed to play."

Game Notes

Only three teams in the history of the NHL have rebounded to win a series when down 0-3: the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders and 2010 Philadelphia Flyers...For the second straight game, the Lightning were without the services of forward Simon Gagne and defenseman Pavel Kubina.