After dropping the opening two games of the Eastern Conference Finals at home to the Washington Capitals, the Tampa Bay Lightning needed a win on the road to avoid being pushed to the brink of elimination. Thanks to strong performances from their four All-Stars they came away with a 4-2 victory to cut the Capitals series lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Big names came up big

The Lightning were the presumptive top seed in the Eastern Conference since they came out the gates flying in the opening month of the season, but looked like anything but favorites in dropping the opening two games of the series.

A lone bright spot in the poor homestand was captain Steven Stamkos appearing to heat up after a slow start to the playoffs, and Stamkos and the rest of the Lightning's marquee names all came through huge in game three.

The Lightning had four All-Stars this season with Stamkos joined by right-wing Nikita Kucherov, defenseman Victor Hedman, and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, and all four combined to hand the Lightning a dominant 3-0 lead early in the second period. The three All-Star skaters combined for 7 points (3 goals, four assists) during the 3-goal blitz, which took just 9:44, while Vasilevskiy posted a .947 save percentage including several big saves while the game was still close to prevent the Capitals from gaining any momentum.

The game was a return to form for the Lightning defense, which had been stout before the Capitals series. The Lightning held the Devils to 7 goals in the Lightning's four wins in the opening round and preventing the Bruins from scoring a 5-on-5 goal for the final three games of their series.

Tampa's truly special teams

Both teams entered the game red-hot on the power play, and the Lightning's dangerous extra-man unit continued its terrorizing ways.

Stamkos and Kucherov both tallied on the man-advantage to give the Lightning a 2-0 advantage early in the second, bringing Stamkos to a playoff-leading five power-play goals. The goals also extended the Lightning's consecutive games with a power-play goal streak to eight. The Lightning power play is now 5 for 12 in the series.

Crucial game four on the horizon

With the Capitals lead down to one game the two teams will regroup and do it again on Thursday night for a pivotal game. The Capitals know first hand how dangerous it can be to squander a 2-0 lead at home, having survived being in the Lightning's position in the opening round when they dropped the first two games to the Columbus Blue Jackets only to win three straight road games en route to a 4-2 series win. The Lightning have been dangerous on the road throughout the playoffs posting a 4-1 record, while the Capitals have struggled at home losing 4 of their seven home games.