Last 10: Tampa Bay (3-6-1); Washington (6-1-3)
Season Series: The Southeast Division rivals play in the fifth of six total meetings on the year, with tonight being the last at the Verizon Center. Washington has taken three out of four from Tampa Bay this season with a pair of home victories on Jan. 31 and Mar. 4, and with an additional win in the series opener on Dec. 7. Tampa Bay earned two points against the Capitals in front of the home crowd on Jan. 12 with a 7-4 victory aided by Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Brandon Bochenski, who led all skaters with three points apiece in the game.
|Mar 4, 2010||TBL@WSH||WSH, 5 - 4|
|Jan 31, 2010||TBL@WSH||WSH, 3 - 2|
|Jan 12, 2010||WSH@TBL||TBL, 7 - 4|
|Dec 7, 2009||WSH@TBL||WSH, 3 - 0|
The Big Story: Washington holds the league’s longest home unbeaten streak in regulation at 15 games, with its last loss at the Verizon Center dating back to Dec. 28 against Carolina. Steven Stamkos will try to change that, as he carries with him the league’s longest active point streak at 18 games. Stamkos also seeks to tie the franchise record tonight of eight consecutive games with a goal, last accomplished by Brian Bradley in 1992.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay wraps up its three-game road swing tonight at the Verizon Center in the final game of a back-to-back set that began last night with a 4-3 overtime loss in Toronto. Stamkos netted his league-leading 18th power play goal, while breaking his own six-game goal streak, which previously stood as this season’s team high mark. Kurtis Foster extended his point streak to four games with a pair of points, and Steve Downie also had a goal for the Lightning, who lost for just the first time in their last four games at the Air Canada Centre.
CAPITALS – Washington finishes off a five-game home stand tonight against Tampa Bay as they prepare for a three-game road trip that begins Sunday in Chicago. The Capitals have come out on the winning end in four out of their last five, including Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime victory versus Carolina. Washington squandered an early two-goal advantage in the game, but was able to hold on in a scoreless third period to send a 3-3 tie into the extra session where Tomas Fleischmann netted the game-winner with just under three minutes to play. Mike Green scored twice on the power play in regulation for Washington, who also got a goal from Alexander Semin.
Who’s Hot: Steven Stamkos holds sole possession of the league’s longest active point streak at 18 games, one off from this season’s league record, with 17 goals and 16 assists in that span. Linemate Martin St. Louis enters tonight’s game with eight assists and 10 points in his last five, while Kurtis Foster has recorded five assists in his last four contests.
- NHL point leader Alex Ovechkin has four points in his last two, and Alexander Semin has recorded three points in as many games. Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom also come into tonight with three points in their last two.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – David Hale (lower body, placed on Injured Reserve) and Zenon Konopka (out 1-2 weeks, back spasms). CAPITALS – Milan Jurcina (out 2-4 weeks).
Quotable: “I don't hear people talking about the struggles that he had in his first 40 games as a pro now. It’s a thing of the past. He’s a great kid. He’s sincere, humble and everything you’d want in a young athlete. He’s developing his leadership abilities on the fly and that’s really the next fun thing we’ll see out of him, his development as a world-class leader. And yet, he just turned 20.” - Lightning General Manager Brian Lawton on Steven Stamkos
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