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The Bolts and Capitals face off for the second of six total meetings on the year. Washington took the first matchup back on Oct. 10 at the Verizon Center by a 6-5 score in the shootout.
Following the success each team enjoyed last season, the Lightning and Capitals were expected to be contenders atop the Eastern Conference for a second consecutive year, though both have underachieved up to this point in the season. Following a two-game home stand, Tampa Bay heads back on the road for a one-game stint in the nation’s capital, this time looking to snap a five-game losing streak. Washington, meanwhile, seeks its 11th win in the past 13 home meetings against the Bolts.
LIGHTNING LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay travels to Washington for a brief one-game swing away from home before returning to the Tampa Bay Times Forum to play its next two games in a three-day span. The Lightning have enjoyed a good amount of success in their home arena since the start of the season, although the case couldn’t have been any more different than it was last night in a 5-2 loss against Carolina. Nate Thompson and Teddy Purcell provided the much-needed secondary scoring the club has been seeking, but it didn’t help the Bolts overcome a four-goal first period by the Hurricanes that put them up by three after the first 20 minutes. Mathieu Garon started in net for the Lightning, stopping just five of eight shots before being relieved by Dwayne Roloson, who yielded an additional pair of goals in his second consecutive night of action.
CAPITALS – Washington plays in the second match of its current four-game home stand and looks to extend its win streak at the Verizon Center to six games. The Capitals have won five in a row at home and kept the trend going with Wednesday’s 1-0 win over the Penguins. For a third consecutive game, the Capitals didn’t receive much offensive support, but didn’t need it versus Pittsburgh as goaltender Tomas Vokoun stopped all 30 shots faced to collect his 46th career shutout. Jason Chimera provided the only goal in the game to help snap a two-game skid.
Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier has points in three of his past five games with three goals and a pair of assists in that span, while Steven Stamkos has points in all but one his past eight contests. Washington’s Alexander Semin has seven points in his past six outings and Jason Chimera has points in two of his past three games, including the game-winning goal in his team’s last match.
LIGHTNING – Mattias Ohlund (knee, placed on Injured Reserve), Ryan Shannon (lower body, out 2-4 weeks), Victor Hedman (concussion, out indefinitely), Adam Hall (upper body, out eight weeks) and JT Wyman (upper body, day-to-day).
CAPITALS – Mike Green (groin), Nicklas Backstrom (upper body) and Tom Poti (groin).
“It doesn't seem like there's any urgency right now when there needs to be. Our season is on the line, and we're not playing like it.” – Steven Stamkos, on his team’s current struggles
Capitals defenseman Roman Hamrlik was the very first draft selection taken by the Lightning in the 1992 NHL Draft, while center Jeff Halpern played with Tampa Bay from 2008-2010 before being traded to Los Angeles in exchange for Teddy Purcell.
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