In their home opener on Saturday, the Capitals gave fans something to remember, as captain Alex Ovechkin had four goals, including his second consecutive hat trick to start the season. Ovechkin and the Caps now look to continue their strong start to the season when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night in Tampa Bay at 7:30 P.M. EST.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Bolts are currently 1-1-0, coming off of a 5-4 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. The Lightning took a 3-2 lead into the third period but were unable to come back following goals from Colton Sceviour, Jared McCann, and Vincent Trocheck. Forward Tyler Johnson added one more but it was too late for the Lightning to come back.
The Lightning’s lineup is completely healthy and as dangerous as ever. Sniper Steven Stamkos is back from an injury he suffered on November 15 last season, one that sidelined him for the final 65 games of the season. He missed all three meetings with the Capitals last year. He has three points (all assists) in both of the Bolts’ games this season.
The Lightning had a busy offseason, improving on the blueline with the additions of defensemen Dan Girardi and Mikhail Sergachev, as well as some experience on offense by signing former Pittsburgh Penguin Chris Kunitz. Their offense is still dangerous with Nikita Kucherov and Stamkos healthy and will be a big test for the Caps’ defense.
Andrei Vasilevskiy will man the crease for the Lightning. Through two games played (two starts), the 23-year old netminder is 1-1-0 with a 4.07 goals-against average and .905 save percentage.
Ovechkin will look to remain hot after scoring hat tricks in consecutive games against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night and the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. The Caps’ offense will look to keep the ball rolling after scoring five goals against the Sens and six against the Habs.
The offense may be on fire, but the Capitals’ defense hasn’t looked as great. The Caps had three sloppy turnovers in Ottawa and the lone Canadiens’ goal on Saturday came off of a turnover by defenseman Dmitry Orlov. They also allowed 39 shots, with 20 of them coming in the second period. The Capitals’ have to tighten up defensively as the offense, including Ovechkin, cannot carry them through 82 games.
Rookie Nathan Walker scored his first NHL goal on Saturday in his first NHL game, becoming the first Australian national to play in the NHL. T.J. Oshie also struck for his first goal of the season, after scoring 33 last season.
Braden Holtby is expected to get the start after recording a combined .932 save percentage through the first two games. The Capitals will play their second road game in a span in which they play eight of their first 12 on the road.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) October 8, 2017
Last Time We Met:
The Capitals last played the Lightning on March 18. Nikita Kucherov had two goals for the Lightning and T.J. Oshie had a hat trick to power the Capitals to a 5-3 victory. That was also the game in which the Caps clinched a playoff berth last year.
-the Capitals are 12-2-2 in their past 16 games against the Lightning, dating back to the 2012-13 season
-T.J. Oshie has six goals and nine points in five games played against the Lightning since being acquired by the Capitals from the Blues in the summer of 2015
-Braden Holtby has gone 9-2-2 with a .915 save percentage and 2.65 goals-against average in 15 career games against the Bolts
By Harrison Brown