In its past three games, the Lightning has scored seven third-period goals.

It has earned three points with a shootout loss to the Canadiens (after trailing by three goals with six minutes remaining) and an overtime victory over the Panthers (after trailing by two with 13 minutes left).

Against the Capitals, Tampa Bay trailed by three goals with eight minutes remaining but fell one short of a tie.

Even in a game that lives on the ebb and flow of emotion and energy, the team's ability when its back is to the wall to shift into high gear and dominate an opponent is extraordinary.

What is puzzling is why it can't more often play with the same ferocity.

"You can't," coach Guy Boucher said. "It's physically and emotionally impossible to dominate like that all game. That's a product of total urgency from, 'I don't want to die here.' We can't have that for 60 minutes. That's not the reality of what the game is."