The Tampa Bay Lightning outshot and outchanced the Washington Capitals in what Head Coach Guy Boucher knew would be a tough road contest for his team. After coming out hard in the first and last period, the only thing missing was the win.
Tampa Bay held a 41-26 advantage in shots, including 16-10 in the third period, but neither a valiant effort nor a slim edge in scoring chances was enough to take out the Capitals, who improved to 12-4-0 following a 6-3 victory Thursday night at the Verizon Center.
Washington won its sixth straight and extended the NHL’s best home record to 8-1-0. Tampa Bay has gained points in four out of the last seven.
Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin, the league’s top two goal scorers since Feb. 17, 2009, each had a goal for their respective clubs. The reigning Rocket Richard Trophy winner holds an 81-74 advantage in goals over the Washington captain since that date.
Alexander Semin scored three times, and Tom Poti and Mike Knuble tacked on two extra tallies for the Capitals.
Semin broke a 2-2 tie 4:33 into the third and made it 4-2 at 10:56, beating Dan Ellis with a blast from the right circle. Stamkos brought the Lightning to within a goal when he scored against Michal Neuvirth at 12:43, but Ovechkin responded with a one-timed shot at 15:08.
Semin completed his hat trick by hitting the empty net with 15.6 seconds remaining. Nicklas Backstrom assisted on three of Semin's goals, finishing with four assists on the night.
“It was a good play down in our end that really started it all,” Purcell said. “We picked up a turnover on our blue line, but to score goals in this league you’ve got to get to the net.”
Washington, who holds the NHL lead for best winning percentage when trailing first, clawed back and scored two goals to open the second period. The Capitals are 9-3-0 when down after one period.
First Poti tied it in the second period after backhanding a rebound at 2:21, and Knuble gave Washington its first lead five minutes later as he slipped a shot behind Ellis from in back of the net.
“We knew they were going to come out hard that period,” Lightning forward Adam Hall said. “They really like that flow style of the game.”
Ellis, who entered the contest 3-0-1 with a 0.78 goals-against average and a .971 save percentage in his last four games, made 20 saves.
Ryan Malone and Semin exchanged a pair of power-play goals in the third. Malone drew the Lightning even with a rebound at 2:43, but Semin walked in on Ellis and wristed a shot past the Lightning net minder just two minutes later to regain the lead.
He added his second of the night at 10:46 with a slap shot from the right circle before Stamkos cut the deficit to one with a magnificent shot under the crossbar.
“This was a good test for us,” Stamkos said.
Ovechkin was next to answer, wristing one into the net from the left circle at 15:08.
Semin finished off the scoring with his third of the night, an empty-netter, at 19:44.
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