The Washington Capitals held on to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Friday night at Verizon Center. The Caps jumped to a dominating 4-0 lead through two periods, out-shooting the Lightning 31-14 through two periods, and survived an energetic 3rd period by the Lightning to hold on to win their 4th straight game.
John Carlson played in his 400th consecutive game for the Caps tonight, 23 games away from the franchise record. This was Head Coach Barry Trotz‘ 1300th career NHL game, becoming the 10th head coach in League history to reach the milestone. The Capitals lines for tonight’s tilt with Tampa Bay:
Brooks Orpik missed his eighth straight game. Stanislav Galiev and Chris Brown were the healthy scratches.
The Capitals power play is starting to show signs of significant improvement, scoring three power play goals in this game. Eight of the Caps 18 first-period shots on net came on their two power play opportunities. Jason Chimera had another multi-point performance. Alex Ovechkin scored a goal and led all skaters in shots (6). Braden Holtby stopped 32 of 34 shots to earn his sixth consecutive win, tying his career-long win streak (4/2/13-4/16/13). The Capitals improved to 16-5-1 (33 points) this season, marking the team’s second best start (in terms of points and wins) in franchise history. Washington posted a 17-5-0 record (34 points) through 22 games in 1991-92. The Lightning’s Tyler Johnson would leave the game 45 seconds into the first period and not return. For a game summary, click here: For detailed player stats, click here:
Tampa Bay came out fast and had the early offensive zone time advantage. The Capitals would get the first power play as the result of a high sticking call on Victor Hedman at the 5:17 mark. The Caps had solid puck-movement and pressure with Alex Ovechkin finally cashing in, giving the Caps a 1-0 lead at 12:09 of the first period. Primary assist was from Jason Chimera.
The Caps turned up the offensive zone time pressure following Alex Ovechkin’s goal. Michael Latta and Ryan Callahan would be sent to the box for coincidental roughing minors at 14:43 for 4-on-4 hockey, but no damages were done by either side. Jason Chimera was tripped by the Lightning’s Ryan Callahan at the 17:30 mark for the Capitals second power play of the opening frame. The Caps had 1:40 of offensive zone time, but could not find the back of the net. The Caps out-shot the Lightning 18-9 in the opening stanza.
The first ten minutes saw a few chances for both sides, with end-to-end play dominating. Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie both had solid chances mid-way through the period but to no avail. The Caps began to take offensive control during the later part of the middle period, out-hustling the Lightning to pucks. The Capitals would go on the periods’ first power play when the Lightning’s Braydon Coburn was called for a delay of game penalty (knocked net off) at the 16:05 mark. Evgeny Kuznetsov would make a nice feed to Jason Chimera for the goal, giving the Caps a 2-0 lead.
Marcus Johansson would deflect a puck off of his skate for the Capitals 3rd goal at 19:18 of the middle frame.
The second period would end with the Caps holding a 3-0 lead. Through two periods, the Capitals out-shot the Lightning 31-14.
The Lightning would break the shutout at 10:49 on a nice pass from Ryan Callahan to Brian Boyle.
Victor Hedman would close the gap to 4-2 on slapshot from the top of the circle at 12:49.
The Caps would shut down the Lightning scoring from that point forward, winning this one 4-2.