The Lightning ended a 12 game losing streak against the Capitals with a 7-4 win on Tuesday. The victory was Tampa Bay’s first over the Capitals since 2007.
In the first period the Capitals had trouble clearing their own zone, and a give and go between Alex Tanguay and Vinny Lecavalier put the Lightning on the board first. Lecavalier’s goal was his 11th of the season. Tampa Bay increased the lead to 2-0 on a power play goal by Steven Stamkos, a backhander past Michal Neuvirth high to the short side. The Capitals cut the lead in half when Alexander Semin scored his 19th goal of the season under two minutes later. But for the Caps that would be the only bright spot if the opening period. The Lightning tacked on two more. Stamkos again with the extra man for his 25th of the season, and Stephane Veilleux made it 4-1 with his second of the year. After stopping 38 of 39 in he win at Atlanta, Neuvirth gave up four goals on 15 shots in the first to the Lightning. The Capitals were held to only 7 shots on goal in the first.
Jose Theodore took over in net to start the second period, and the Capitals started on the comeback trail with and early power play goal by Mike Green at 1:34. With the score 4-2 Tampa, Eric Fehr brought the Caps to within one with his 11th goal of the season at 7:44. Green, the league’s highest scoring defenseman, was able to tie the score with his second of the period, and 12th of the season. The game was tied 4-4 with the momentum shifting to the Capitals. The score stayed even for just over five minutes before Martin St. Louis took a slap shot that beat Theodore to the stick side to put the Bolts back in front 5-4. That goal was the 250th of St. Louis career, and would be the game winner. The Capitals outshot the Lightning
16-5 in the second period.
Tampa Bay scored the only two goals of the third period. Kurtis Foster at even strength and Jeff Halpern on the power play. The game also turned a bit ugly in the final period. Tampa’s Steve Downie and the Capitals Alex Ovechkin were both sent off for roughing at 11:51 after an Ovechkin check on the Lightning forward. When they came out of the penalty box, the came together again and both players dropped the gloves and took off their helmets. But before any punches were thrown, Matt Bradley skated in and took on Downie. That was the first of two fights in the third, the second involving David Steckel and the league’s penalty minute leader Zenon Konopka. For the game the two teams totaled 72 penalty minutes, with 60 of those coming in the final frame.
The Capitals surrendered four power play goals in a game for the first time this season. The Lightning finished 4-7 with the extra man. Washington was 2-4 on the power play with both goals scored by Green.
Both teams finished the night with 36 shots on goal. Jose Theodore stopped 18 of the 21 shots he faced after taking over at the start of the second period. Antero Niittymaki turned away 22 of 24 for the win in relief of Mike Smith, who left the game early in the second period.
The road trip comes to a close Wednesday against the Panthers in Sunrise. The Caps are 3-0 against Florida this season.
The Capitals will play seven of their next nine games at home after this trip.
Originally posted on CSNWashington.com