Bolts Beat Caps 4-2, Lightning Strike for Three in First Period

The Washington Capitals fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 Tuesday night at Capital One Arena. The Lightning would strike three times in the opening frame for a decisive 3-0 lead at the first intermission. Lars Eller would get the Caps on the scoreboard midway through the middle frame to make it 3-1 after 40 minutes of play. Alex Ovechkin would close the gap to one in the middle of the third period but the Lightning would quickly answer, making it 4-2. The Caps return to action Thursday night when they visit the Panthers in Florida. Puck drop is 7:30 PM. 

Braden Holtby (28-11-4, 2.92 GAA, .911 sv%) started in goal for the Capitals. Andrei Vasilevskiy (34-12-2, 2.34 GAA, .927sv%) got the start between the pies for the Lightning. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Capitals:



Scratches: Alex Chiasson and Michal Kempny were the healthy scratches for the game.

Brett Connolly was whistled for a penalty 34 seconds into the game, and it would cost the Caps. The Lightning started the scoring with a power play goal by Brayden Point at 2:30 of the opening frame. The goal was scored on the Lightning’s first shot of the game.

The Lightning would make it 2-0 with a deflected goal by Chris Kunitz at 16:00 of the first period.

The Lightning would make it 3-0 on a break away goal by Brayden Point at 17:52 of the opening frame.

The period would conclude with Tampa Bay leading 3-0. Tampa Bay outshot Washington 9-8 for the first 20 minutes.

The Capitals would get on the scoreboard with a power play goal by Lars Eller at 9:32 of the middle frame. Dmitry Orlov and Brett Connolly were credited with the helpers.

That would be all of the scoring for the middle frame. The Capitals led in shots on goal 14-5 for the second period and 22-13 after 40 minutes of play. Tampa Bay won the faceoff battle 56-44% after the first two periods.

The Capitals would make it 3-2 with a goal from Alex Ovechkin at 11:02 of the final frame. This was Ovechkin’s 36th of the season.

But the Lightning would get it right back. Nikita Kucherov would beat Braden Holtby 5-hole on a break away to restore the two goal lead, 4-2, at 12:58 of the final period.

Tampa would hang on for the 4-2 win.


  • The Capitals dropped to 20-9-2 at Capital One Arena this season. Washington’s 20 home wins are tied for the fifth most in the NHL.
  • Alex Ovechkin recorded his 36th goal of the season, which leads the NHL. Ovechkin now sits six goals shy of 600 career goals. Ovechkin also led both team with nine shots.
  • Niskanen led both teams with 27:12 of ice time.
  • Tonight’s attendance was 18,506, the Capitals 395th consecutive sellout at Capital One Arena.
  • The Capitals will have a day off tomorrow. Washington will resume with a morning skate on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at BB&T Center prior to playing the Florida Panthers at 7:30 p.m.
  • The NHL box score is here.


About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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9 Responses to Bolts Beat Caps 4-2, Lightning Strike for Three in First Period

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

    Trying to recall last time Caps played a complete 60 minutes. Bueller???

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bolts are the top team but Bruins should take first overall.. Poor start again! Goal on first shot against! They cant play 2 or 3 periods and expect to win… The Caps lost even though they out shot the Bolts 2-1, same for Florida and now Bruins tonight

  3. That interference penalty on Connolly less than 5 minutes in pretty much sealed it for us. Giving up an early PP goal on an arguable penalty (not to mention not getting a bunch of calls our way that probably should have been called) set us back too much to overcome even with the late push in the 3rd.

    As for goaltending, I’d like to see Holtby sit for a few games and let Grubauer take the top slot and hopefully give Holtby a rest and some time to get his head right again. Don’t know what the problem is but a few days off can’t hurt considering the play he’s been offering lately.

    It should be stated that Vasilevskiy was god-like in that game.

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