The Tampa Bay Lightning might not have earned a win on Saturday night, but they certainly earned respect.
Down 4-0 through the opening 23 minutes, the Bolts fought back to tie the game with under three minutes to play in regulation, forcing overtime and earning a point in the standings, albeit in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center.
With the home team clinging to a 5-4 lead, Teddy Purcell knotted things up with a nifty backhand at 17:25 that beat Braden Holtby to force the extra session.
Mike Green, though, had the overtime winner while on the power play for Washington, which extended its season-long win streak to seven games.
“We had a game plan in place, and the last 10 minutes in the first period, we didn’t execute that at all,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “But the guys talked, and they realized the fancy stuff wasn’t working, so they got a little more blue collar, and you saw the result.”
Martin St. Louis scored twice, and Richard Panik also had two goals and an assist for the first multi-goal effort of his career.
Tom Pyatt added three assists.
The defeat was Tampa Bay’s second straight, as well as its fourth in five games.
The Capitals, meanwhile, extended their lead in the Southeast Division to four points over the second-place Winnipeg Jets.
Alex Ovechkin and Eric Fehr each had a goal and two points for Washington, while Troy Brouwer, Jason Chimera and Jack Hillen also scored for the Capitals.
Mike Ribeiro, Steve Oleksy and Mathieu Perreault each had a pair of assists.
The game did not start well for the Lightning, not only on the scoreboard, but off of it as well.
The team lost forward Nate Thompson early in the opening frame after he took Green’s slap shot off the visor, which shattered and cut Thompson above the eye.
With blood dripping down his face, Thompson was able to skate off under is own power, and even returned for a bit in the second period, but will continue to be evaluated in the upcoming days.
Brouwer opened the scoring at 13:45 of the first after sneaking a shot just inside the post to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead.
Hillen then doubled the lead with 1:15 to go in the first, beating Ben Bishop to the right post, and Ovechkin made it 3-0 just 37 seconds later to cap the mini surge.
That would be all the action Bishop would see, as he was then relieved in net by Mathieu Garon, who started the second period.
Bishop made 17 saves.
Following the first break, the clubs exchanged a pair of goals in the opening minutes of the second.
Chimera extended Washington’s lead to 4-0 as he finished off an odd-man rush to beat Garon, who made 15 saves on the night.
Tampa Bay, however, came right back to get on the board with Panik’s third of the year coming off a beautiful feed from Pyatt.
“I was happy I scored, and it seemed we started playing well after that,” Panik said.
Fehr then put Washington back up by it’s original margin, as his eighth of the season brought the lead to 5-1 just 1:31 later, but St. Louis brought the deficit back to three with his 10th of the year to close out the second frame.
St. Louis brought Tampa Bay to within one and capped a pair of goals for the Lightning in the span of 3:54, with his second tally of the night coming after Panik made it 5-3 with a nice one-handed tip in past Holtby.
Purcell sent the contest into overtime approximately nine minutes later, ensuring the Lightning at least a point.
Holtby finished the night by turning back 35 of 40 shots faced.
“I’m proud of the guys for coming back, but you give Green that much space on the power play, and one of them is going to go in I guess,” Cooper said.
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