TAMPA, Fla. – Hosting the seventh annual Tampa Bay Fights Cancer Night, the Tampa Bay Lightning scored a 5-2 victory against the Washington Capitals on Friday night. Extending their current winning streak to five consecutive games, the Lightning posted their eighth win through 10 contests at the St. Pete Times Forum this season.
Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis built upon their recent scoring streaks with one goal and two assists each in the contest, while Johan Holmqvist made 28 saves to backstop the Lightning to the victory.
As the teams faced off for the third of four meetings this season, the first of eight at the St. Pete Times Forum, the Lightning came back from a first period to post their 10th win of the season.
Lecavalier opened the scoring only 1:31 into the contest, scoring his team-leading 13th goal of the season. As the Lightning skated with an early power play, Lecavalier fired a slapshot from the left point through traffic to beat goaltender Brent Johnson high to the glove side.
Within minutes of the score Lecavalier looked to extend the lead, but Johnson denied his backhand attempt. Skating alone down the right side Lecavalier cut to the front of the net and tried to put the puck around the Washington netminder, but Johnson covered the shot as he slid across his crease.
Holmqvist responded for Tampa Bay by making a strong save on Viktor Kozlov as the Capitals skated with the man advantage. After stopping the intial Washington shot from the point, Holmqvist dove backwards to deny Kozlov’s rebound attempt at the left side of the net.
Although the Capitals connected twice in a span of 44 seconds to build a 2-1 lead, Holmqvist shut down the Washington offense for the rest of the night as the Lightning went on to score four unanswered goals.
Brooks Laich scored his third goal of the season at 12:46 of the first period, deflecting a Shaone Morrisonn shot through traffic. Laich tipped the shot from the left faceoff circle through the five hole for the score. Less than one minute later Alexander Ovechkin posted his fourth goal in four consecutive games, converting a back-handed pass by Chris Clark.
The Washington lead did not last long however, as Jan Hlavac scored to tie the contest less than two minutes after the Ovechkin goal. Connecting for his third score of the season, Hlavac carried the puck through the zone and fired a snap shot over Johnson’s left glove.
Entering the second period with the game tied at two, the Lightning added a pair of goals to build a 4-2 lead skating into the third.
Brad Richards posted his seventh goal of the season at 10:22 of the second to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead. Scoring three seconds into their second man-advantage opportunity, Lecavalier won the opening faceoff back to the right point. Richards fired a slap shot to beat Johnson to the glove side.
Adding his fourth goal of the season, defenseman Paul Ranger scored with 27.6 seconds remaining in the frame to give the Lightning a two-goal lead. After forcing a turnover in the Washington zone, Ranger fed St. Louis the puck for an odd-man rush. As St. Louis skated down the left wing he dished the puck back to Ranger in the slot where the Tampa Bay blue-liner fired the shot past Johnson.
With his goal in the contest, Ranger extended his current scoring streak to tie a personal best of three consecutive games with a point. Ranger has recorded four points (three goals, one assist) in that span.
Holmqvist came up with a handful of strong saves in the period, denying both Laich and Ovechkin multi-goal nights. Early in the frame Holmqvist denied Laich at the side of the net after the Washington center tried to convert a back-handed pass by Matt Pettinger.
Although Ovechkin led all skaters with nine shots in the contest, Holmqvist gloved a snapped shot from inside the right faceoff circle before denying the Capitals center as he crashed towards the net for an attempt.
The clubs went on to play through a nearly scoreless final period before St. Louis closed out the scoring an empty-net goal. Tapping the puck into the open net, St. Louis posted his seventh goal of the season.
With his points in the contest St. Louis extended his current point-scoring streak to seven games. The Lightning winger has recorded 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in that stretch for a total of six goals and 23 points this season.
Recording one goal and two assists, Lecavalier also extended his current scoring streak to seven consecutive games. Lecavalier has recorded multiple points in each of those games for a total of 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) since a November 3 match-up against the Atlanta Thrashers.
The Lightning went 2-for-4 with the man advantage in the game, while holding the Capitals scoreless through four power play opportunities.
Although Washington out-shot Tampa Bay 30-24 in the contest, Holmqvist made 28 saves for his fifth career victory against the Capitals. Holmqvist has allowed two or less goals in each of the previous five contests, stopping 141 of 148 shots faced in that span.
Tampa Bay has out-scored their opponents 24-7 during their recent winning streak while improving to 8-1-1 at the St. Pete Times Forum this season.
After a two-day break in the schedule the Lightning return to the road for a one-game trip against the Thrashers on Monday, November 19 (7:00p.m., Sun Sports, 620 WDAE). The game marks the first of four meetings at Atlanta this season.
Martin St. Louis