Lightning Host Division-Leading Capitals
Saturday, 02.14.2009 / 7:30 PMOvechkin and Company Make First Visit of the Season to Tampa
The Tampa Bay Lightning will hope to prove that their six-goal output against the Toronto Maple Leafs was no fluke when they face the Southeast Division leading Washington Capitals at the St. Pete Times Forum tonight.
This will be the third meeting of the season between these two clubs, and the first in Tampa. The Capitals have won the previous two matchups and have now defeated the Lightning seven straight times.
Tampa Bay (19-25-11) produced four goals in a 4:13 span in period one against the Maple Leafs, including a goal and three assists by team point leader Martin St. Louis
. Vincent Lecavalier
tallied one goal against Toronto to increase his season total to 25, good enough to lead the Bolts in that category and hold ninth place among all NHL scorers. Lecavalier has six goals and 13 points in his previous 10 games against the Capitals.
Heralded rookie Steven Stamkos
also scored against the Maple Leafs and enters tonight’s game riding a three-game scoring streak.
For Tampa Bay, rookie Mike Mckenna will make his fifth consecutive start in net against the Capitals. McKenna is 2-1-1 with a 2.21 goals against average since arriving from the AHL Norfolk Admirals.
Washington, 34-16-5, has been a force in the Southeast Division ever since the start of the season and the Capitals, 4-1-1 over their last six games, have demonstrated no signs of slacking off through the stretch.
Tonight’s game will be the middle edition of a three-game road trip for Washington, which concludes against the Florida Panthers on Sunday.
The Capitals boast the NHL’s leading goal scorer, Alex Ovechkin, who tops the list of all with 37 goals. With Ovechkin leading the way, the Capitals are fourth best on the power play in the NHL, compiling a 23.4 % success rate.
Capital defenseman Mike Green, who leads all NHL defensemen in goals scored with 21 and points with 49, enters tonight’s game with a run of a goal in seven straight games. If he can get one against the Lightning tonight he’ll break the league’s longest streak for a defenseman, set by Boston’s Mike O’ Connell in 1983-84.
Tonight’s contest against the Capitals will be the fourth game in a season-high six-game homestand for the Bolts. They are currently 2-1-0 through the first three.
Following tonight’s contest, the Lightning will host the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night before concluding the homestand against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.