NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Washington
(Friday, March 12th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 3, Washington 2
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Matt Walker had a goal and an assist as the Tampa Bay Lightning got a big win in a 3-2 decision over the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center.
Vincent Lecavalier and Brandon Bochenski each had goal for the Lightning, who had dropped seven of eight coming in. Antero Niittymaki made 28 stops in the win.
It is a big two points for Tampa Bay as the team now has 68 and sits four points back of Boston for the final playoff seed in the East.
"There's a lesson here and it's that we have to play with passion," said Tampa Bay head coach Rick Tocchet. "The bench was alive and we got a balanced effort from the whole team."
Tomas Fleischmann and Brooks Laich each had a goal for the Capitals, who had won four of their previous five. Alex Ovechkin had two assists while Semyon Varlamov made 24 stops.
"We didn't do the job today and got outworked," said Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau. "We didn't play the way we're capable of playing and that's the reason we lost."
Washington came into the game having been crowned the Southeast Division champions on Thursday. Despite not playing, the Caps won the division for the third straight year thanks to Atlanta's loss to Columbus.
The Capitals opened the scoring with a power-play tally as Ovechkin fired a pass through the seam from the left point over to the right side where Fleischmann one-timed it home.
Tampa, though, tied it with 48.9 seconds left in the opening frame as Bochenski lasered the puck into the left corner from the right circle for his second goal of the season.
The Lightning took a 2-1 lead with 8:30 left in the second. A left circle faceoff win saw the puck come back to Stephane Veilleux, who left a drop pass for Walker's one-timer past Varlamov.
It was a 3-1 game when Walker fired a shot from the right point that went off of Lecavalier and in. It was initially ruled to not be a goal as the official thought that Lecavalier hit it with a high stick, but the replay showed that it went off Lecavalier and he was awarded his 19th goal of the season.
Niittymaki was solid in the second period as his 14 saves helped the team take a two-goal lead into the break.
"Those couple of minutes there were what cost us the game," said Laich. "It's a 1-1 game and for the most part we were playing with them but there was that burst and it helped them beat us."
Skating on the man advantage, the Caps made it a one-goal game with 8:51 to play. A Mike Green wrist shot from the high slot was re-directed by Laich in front of the net. Niittymaki was there to make the save, but Laich put home the rebound for his 21st goal of the season.
Fleischmann's goal was his 20th of the season, a new career high...Tampa Bay hosts Pittsburgh on Sunday...Washington hits the road for four games beginning in Chicago on Sunday...Despite the loss, Washington has taken 14 of the last 16 games against Tampa...Washington went 2-for-4 on the power play while Tampa was 0-for-1.
03/12 23:33:25 ET