TAMPA BAY-- Forwards Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom & T.J. Oshie each scored two goals apiece leading the Washington Capitals to a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night. The win for the Capitals was their fourth straight overall. While the Lightning, who received the President's Trophy before the game, given to the team with the most points in the league, suffered their first home loss since March 7th.
Tampa Bay entered the game having not played since their comeback home victory over Boston on Monday night, while Washington was looking to increase their three point lead over the New York Islanders in the Metropolitan Division.
Less than 30 seconds into the game, the visitors went on the power play after Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was called fo tripping. And although the Lightning were able to kill off the penalty, the Capitals controlled the pace for the first five minutes of the game. The Capitals pressure led to their first goal seven minutes into the first period when forward Tom Wilson came out of their own zone with the puck & fed Backstrom, who snapped a shot past Vasilevskiy while standing inside the face-off circle for the 1-0 lead.
With just 10 minutes gone in the first period, Oshie made it 2-0 Capitals as the Lightning struggled to get any pressure on Holtby, who didn't face a shot on net until Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman hit the post while joining an odd man rush. And just over five minutes after his first goal, Oshie scored his second goal of the game, this one on the power play with center Yanni Gourde in the penalty box for high-sticking.
Tampa Bay, who played the final two periods without defenseman Victor Hedman because of an upper body injury, was outshot 13-5 in the first 20 minutes of the game & trailing 3-0 could not generate quality scoring chances in the opening minutes of the second period. And less than eight minutes into the second period, the deficit became four goals after Backstrom scored his second goal of the game.
Trailing 4-0 with less than three minutes left in the middle period, the Lightning trimmed the deficit to three after a shot from the point by defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was tipped in by forward J.T. Miller for his 13th goal of the season.
Tampa Bay scored the game's next goal three minutes the third period when center Tyler Johnson snapped the puck between Holtby's pads for his 28th goal of the year. But the game took a physical turn with just over 10 minutes left in the third period, first with a fight between Lightning center Anthony Cirelli & Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik. Then three minutes later, the heavyweights got into the action when Lightning defenseman Eric Cernak & Wilson squared off in a fight that had been brewing since the teams' first meeting this season.
After the referees handed out major penalties to each of the fighters, Ovechkin scored two goals in just under two minutes to put the game out of reach & make the score 6-2. Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov scored a power play goal with 28 seconds left in the game to finish the game's scoring.
Tampa Bay plays their remaining four games of the season on the road & must win each of those games to break the single season wins record of 62, set by the Detroit Red Wings in 1995-96. They start their attempt to make history on Monday night when they take on the Senators in Ottawa. Coverage begins at 7pm on News Radio WFLA with face-off scheduled for 7:30pm.
1. WAS- Backstrom 20th Goal (Wilson, Djoos)- 7:24
2. WAS- Oshie 24th Goal (Jenson, Hagelin)- 10:45
3. WAS- PPG- Oshie 25th Goal ( Carlson, Kuznetsov)- 16:00
1. WAS- Backstrom 21st Goal (Orlov, Stephenson)- 7:53
2. TBL- Miller 13th Goal (Sergachev, McDonagh)- 17:25
1. TBL- Johnson 28th Goal (Unassisted)- 3:36
2. WAS- Ovechkin 50th Goal (Oshie, Backstrom)- 14:35
3. WAS- PPG- Ovechkin 51st Goal (Carlson, Kuznetsov)- 16:15
4. TBL- PPG- Kucherov 39th Goal (Sergachev, Miller)- 19:32
1. TBL- Vasilevskiy (Tripping 2 Min served by Gourde)- 0:21
2. TBL- Gourde (High-Sticking 2 Min)- 14:12
1. TBL- Coburn (Boarding 2 Min)- 9:31
2. WAS- Wilson (High- Sticking 2 Min)- 13:44
1. TBL- Sergachev (High Sticking 2 MIn)- 0:47
2. TBL- Cirelli (Fighting Major)- 9:26
3. WAS- Orpik (Roughing 2 Min)- 9:26
4. WAS- Orpik (Fighting Major)- 9:26
5. TBL- Cernak (Fightning Major)- 12:13
6. WAS- Wilson (Fighting Major)- 12:13
7. TBL- Kucherov (Tripping 2 Min)- 15:30
8. WAS- Dowd (Hooking 2 Min)- 19:14