Capitals rebound with strong 5-1 victory against Tampa

DC’s hockey team finished their longest home stand of the year with a resounding effort against the 2022 Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Earlier in the day, Head Coach Peter Laviolette was diagnosed with COVID and placed the the NHL’s protocol. Assistant Kevin McCarthy ran the bench for the game. The Capitals looked all but unstoppable despite this wrinkle in their plans. They built a successful game on a renewed forechecking game as well as a focused performance by Darcy Kuemper. Sonny Milano and Anthony Mantha would each put up a multipoint game to pace the Capitals offensively.

Mantha scored at 10:32 firing in a Lars Eller pass from in close to put the Caps in the lead. Kuemper had to make a crucial save not long after when Nikita Kucherov broke away with a point blank chance. Kuemper stonewalled both the initial shot and the rebound to keep the Capitals ahead for the opening stanza.

The game featured an abundance of nastiness with a total of 81 combined penalty minutes. The game took a turn after a high hit to the head of Lightning defenseman Cal Foote by Nicholas Aube-Kubel two minutes into the second period. The call on the ice was a match penalty, confirmed by a review of the replay by the on-ice officials. Television replays did appear to confirm the contact to the head and Foote did not return to the game. Several brawls erupted during the game, most notably between Garnet Hathaway and Pat Maroon during the video review.

The Capitals needed to kill off a critical five minute power play that resulted from the hit. They not only killed off the penalty but also managed to generate several scoring chances of their own while shorthanded. Just as the penalty time expired, John Carlson was making a clearing attempt and spotted Milano, who was serving the penalty, alone in the neutral zone. Carlson managed to turn and fling the puck in one motion where it would land in front of Milano’s stick. Milano would then break in alone and flipped the puck around Andre Vasilevskiy’s right pad for the eventual game winner.

Except for a brief portion of the third period, the remainder of the game belonged to the Capitals. Milano would later put in his second of the game, although his intent was to feed Kuznetsov at the time. Aliaksei Protas and Connor Sheary would also score for the Caps. Tampa defenseman Nick Perbix spoiled Kuemper’s shutout bid at 12:09 of the third with a shot that snuck under his left pad.

NOTES–McCarthy is scheduled to manage the coaching duties during games until Laviolette is cleared by the league to return. Carlson’s assist gave him his 600th point for his career. Per League rules, Aube-Kubel’s match penalty is subject to review for possible disciplinary action by the Department of Player Safety. The Capitals have a return date with the Lightning Sunday evening in Tampa. Start time is 7 PM ET.

Please follow and like us:

You may also like...

Follow by Email