Capitals fall to the Lightning 6-3
The Washington Capitals lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning 6 to 3. Alex Killorn had a hat trick to power the Lightning over Washington.
Goals by Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn less than two minutes apart gave Tampa life early. Johnson’s goal was the epitome of Tampa’s style. A turnover by the Washington defense led to a 2-1, and Johnson buried the backside feed from Bolts center Brayden Point. Killorn’s was a bit weirder. Washington netminder Braden Holtby played the puck along the boards. A solid forecheck by the Lightning have them control of the puck and Killorn threw the puck on net. A bad bounce off of Washington defender Dmitri Orlov found the back of the net.
The bad bounces continued, this time benefitting the Capitals. An Evgeni Kuznetsov pass ricocheted off a stick, and allowed Carlson to take an unimpeded slapshot that beat Tampa goalie Andrei Vasilevskey.
Two minutes after Carlson’s goal, Alex Killorn potted his second of the night on a beautiful individual effort. He muscled defender Nick Jensen and collected his rebound off of Holtby’s left pad to restore the Bolts two goal lead.
The second period was completely dominated by the Capitals as they outshot the Lightning 15-5. Alex Ovechkin netted his 47th of the year on the power play, beating Vasilevskey with a good wrist shot after some solid puck possession from the good guys. Ovi now has 246 career power play goals, which has him 5th all-time, tying the great Phil Esposito.
The 3rd period saw a reinvigorated Tampa team come up and use their speed to “draw penalties,” though the concept of a penalty might be foreign to the officials working tonight’s game (more on that later).
Tampa reinstated their two goal lead on a goal by defenseman Eric Cernak, who found himself open between the dots in the waning seconds of the Capitals penalty.
However, the guys in white weren’t done yet. A howitzer from Orlov went wide of the Tampa net but directly onto the stick of the Great Eight. Ovi’s goal brought Washington back within one and took his goal total to 48 on the year.
Despite a furious attempt in the late stages of the 3rd, Washington could not crack the puzzle that was Vasilevskey, who stood tall against the overwhelming pressure by the Capital’s top unit.
Empty net goals by Alex Killorn and Yanni Gourde made this game look worse than it was.
- Officiating was rough tonight. The penalty on Niskanen in the 3rd period was a bad call, plain and simple. That was an excellent display of defense, but you’re not gonna get every call right.
- Seriously, the Capitals infatuation with taking penalties needs to stop. It cost them against Pittsburgh and it cost them in this game. If you give good teams like Tampa and Pittsburgh opportunities with the man-advantage, they will score. It also takes time away from scoring goals of your own, but what do I know.
- Holtby looked pretty good tonight despite some great chances by the Lightning.
- Vasilevskey played even better.
- Tampa is beatable. If the Capitals can replicate their second period and apply it to every game they play the rest of this season, they will have a strong chance of repeating.