BOLTS TAKE DOWN CAPITALS, 5-2
WASHINGTON – The Tampa Bay Lightning finished their stretch of 11 games in 18 nights with a bang. Taking down the Washington Capitals, 5-2, the Lightning extended their current winning streak to three games as they made their second visit to D. C. this season.
Winning their second game of a two-game road trip, the Lightning were led by the line of Vincent Lecavalier
, Vaclav Prospal and Martin St. Louis
. Continuing their recent domination in the contest the three skaters posted a combined seven points as each player extended their current point streaks to five games.
The clubs opened their second meeting of the season with a relatively quiet first period. Capitals leading scorer Alexander Ovechkin was denied early in the frame as he tried to skate in front of goaltender Johan Holmqvist. Dragged down by Brad Lukowich as he cut to the net, Ovechkin saw his shot directed into the corner by Holmqvist.
The Lightning put a handful of shots on Capitals netminder Olaf Kolzig during the period, but none found the back of the net. As Kolzig stopped a Jason Ward shot from the right hash marks, Paul Ranger missed a rebound chance in the slot. Kolzig would later stop an open Mike Lundin
wrist shot from the blue line, cradling the puck for the save.
Midway through the period Holmqvist stopped consecutive shots by Ovechkin. As Ovechkin fired both shots from the left faceoff circle, Holmqvist redirected the puck high with a glove save before kicking a shot away with his right pad.
After a scoreless first period the teams exchanged scores in the second. Filip Kuba opened the scoring before Ovechkin sent the game into the third tied at one.
With Nicklas Backstrom serving a minor penalty for holding the stick, it took only four seconds for Kuba to connect with the man advantage. As Lecavalier won the faceoff in the right circle, the puck slid back to Kuba at the left circle. Kuba fired a rising shot that snuck over Kolzig’s right shoulder and into the top of the net for his second goal in consecutive games.
Playing with less than two minutes on the clock in the second, Ovechkin scored to tie the game at one. Mike Green fed the puck across the slot to the Washington winger as Holmqvist slid across the goal line looking for the save. As Ovechkin skated through the crease he put the puck over Holmqvist’s outstretched glove hand for his 11th goal of the season.
Despite the score Prospal opened the third period by adding his 11th goal of the season to regain the Lightning lead. Tampa Bay scored twice in a span of 58 seconds to build a two-goal lead early in the frame.
Following up a shot by Lecavalier from the right faceoff dot, Prospal tapped the rebound to the right of Kolzig to connect at 1:29 of the period. As Kolzig played the initial shot at the top of the crease Prospal popped the puck into the open side of the net.
St. Louis continued to build the Tampa Bay lead with his fifth goal of the season. After Prospal was unable to steady the puck in the slot he fed a pass to St. Louis. Positioned to the right of the net, St. Louis stopped the puck and fired a shot that sailed through traffic and over Kolzig’s glove.
Brad Richards looked to extend the Lightning lead as he posted a strong shorthanded chance less than four minutes into the third. Skating down the right wing Richards looked for a shot through the five-hole but Kolzig closed down on the puck for the save.
Although Kolzig held Richards off the board on the attempt Ryan Craig struck for Tampa Bay in his first game of the season. Returning to the lineup from injury, Craig converted a four-minute power play for the Lightning at 12:22 of the period. Getting his stick on a shot by Prospal off the right side boards, Craig directed the puck past the right stick side arm of Kolzig for his first goal of the year.
After Ovechkin missed a breakaway attempt late in the period, faking a deke only to shoot wide left of the net, Tomas Fleischmann and Tom Poti connected on a give-and-go deep in the offensive zone. Viktor Kozlov moved the puck across the blueline to Fleischmann who passed to Poti in the slot. Poti returned a pass to Fleischmann at the left of Holmqvist where the Capitals forward put the puck high into the net.
The goal cut the Lightning lead in half, but an empty-netter by Paul Ranger closed out the scoring with 21 seconds remaining in the game. Firing a long shot from center ice, Ranger connected on a delayed penalty call for his second goal of the season.
With their seven points in the contest, the line of St. Louis, Lecavalier and Prospal extended their point-scoring streaks to five games apiece. Brad Richards also built his current points streak to five games with an assist in the contest, recording one goal and four assists in that span.
Posting one goal and two assists in the contest Prospal boosted his totals to two goals and seven helpers in his previous five games. St. Louis scored the game-winning goal and added an assist to total eight points (three goals, five assists) through the previous five games.
Recording his fifth consecutive multi-point game, Lecavalier extended his position as the team’s point leader with two assists in the contest. Lecavalier has posted two goals and nine points in the last five games, giving him 24 total points (nine goals, 15 assists) through 17 games this season.
The Lightning went 2-for-3 with the man advantage in the contest, while holding the Capitals scoreless through two power play opportunities. Tampa Bay out-shot Washington 34-25 in the contest, including 18-6 in the second period, as Holmqvist posted his eighth win of the season.
Holmqvist improved to 4-2-0 against the Capitals with the victory. The Lightning netminder has allowed two or less goals in each of the previous three games, posting his second three-game winning streak this season.
The Lightning out-scored their opponents 10-3 in the current road trip.
Tampa Bay sits idle for three days before opening a two-game homestand on Wednesday, November 14 (7:30p.m., Sun Sports, 620 WDAE) against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Lightning return to the St. Pete Times Forum looking to extend their home success following their two wins on the road.
|Three star selections
||MARTIN ST. LOUIS