Lightning Fall To Capitals, 5-1
Malone Scores in Losing Effort
The Tampa Bay Lightning found themselves on the short end of a 5-1 decision to the Washington Capitals tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Washington opened the scoring at 5:02 of the first period on Alexander Semin’s 21st goal of the season, a backhand shot that Semin delayed firing until Lightning starting goaltender Mike Mckenna made the first move, and from that point on, the Capitals never looked back.
broke in alone on the Washington net at 10:45, but Capital netminder Michal Neuvirth, making his first NHL start, gloved the shot.
The Southeast Division leading Capitals pumped in two more goals before the close of the first period, a blast from the left faceoff circle by NHL leading goalscorer Alexander Ovechkin, his 38th of the season, followed by a goal from defenseman Shaone Morrison, a shot from the point that threaded through traffic with just 40 seconds remaining in the stanza.
That was the end of the work night for McKenna, who was replaced by Karri Ramo in the Lightning net at the start of the second period. McKenna finished after allowing three goals on 12 shots.
At 5:33 of the second period, Capital defenseman Mike Green entered the hockey history books when his shot past Ramo gave him a goal in eight consecutive games, a record for NHL defensemen. Green, skating on the power play with Lightning forward Jeff Halpern off the ice for interference, let fly a shot from the high slot which was blocked by Tampa Bay forward Matt Pettinger, but the rebound came right back to Green and his second attempt slid through Ramo’s pads. The goal was his 22nd of the season and gave the Capitals a 4-0 lead in the contest.
“We would have preferred not to be a part of making history like that,” interim coach Rick Tocchet said of Green’s goal, “but he’s one heck of a player.”
Tampa Bay finally got on the scoreboard at 9:30 of the period when Ryan Malone
, assisted by Vincent Lecavalier
, scored his 19th goal of the season, a shot from the slot that eluded the rookie netminder.
But the goal proved way too little and way too late, as the Lightning were unable to climb back into this contest.
The Bolts managed only four shots on net in the third period, and the first one, a 125’ foot clearing attempt by Lecavalier that was on target, didn’t come until barely nine minutes remained in the game.
Neuvirth stopped 31 shots in all as he collected his first NHL win, many of them by Lecavalier, as the Lightning captain led all skaters in shots on goal with eight.
The loss dropped the Lightning to 2-2-0 for the current homestand, which still has two more games to go. The Chicago Blackhawks arrive in Tampa on Tuesday night, followed by the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday.
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