NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Washington|
(Tuesday, December 10th)
Final Score: Washington 6, Tampa Bay 5 (SO)
Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Alex Ovechkin's fourth goal of the night
tied the game with 32.4 seconds remaining in regulation, and the Washington
Capitals ultimately prevailed in a shootout to post a thrilling 6-5 win over
the Tampa Bay Lightning at Verizon Center.
Ovechkin's efforts, along with a one-goal, four-assist performance from
Nicklas Backstrom, enabled the Capitals to overcome an early 3-0 deficit and
notch their third consecutive victory and fifth in six outings.
"We've been in this situation before," said Ovechkin. "I think we were down
3-1 versus Detroit [a 4-3 shootout win on Nov. 15] after the second period,
and I'm sure everybody knows we have lots of time left and we just have to
take one at a time. The second goal by Nicky was huge, and we just felt we can
come back and we can win the game."
Philipp Grubauer aided Washington's cause by stopping 32-of-34 shots after
relieving an ineffective Braden Holtby, who let up three Tampa Bay goals on
just eight chances before being pulled just after the 11-minute mark.
The Lightning were dealt a sixth straight road defeat despite Martin St. Louis
and Tyler Johnson recording a goal and two assists each. Ondrej Palat had a
goal and one assist in the loss, with Ben Bishop recording 26 saves for Tampa
Washington spotted Tampa Bay an early 3-0 lead and were down 4-2 late in the
second period before a major boarding penalty to the Lightning's Richard Panik
changed the game's momentum.
Ovechkin needed just seven seconds after the call to pull his team within one,
racing up the left wing to knock home a pass from Marcus Johansson with 3:22
to go in the stanza.
While still on the extended power play, Ovechkin later fired a blast from the
left circle that rocketed past Bishop to complete his 13th career hat trick
and send the game all square heading into the third period.
St. Louis set up Palat for a successful wrister 8:36 into the third to put the
Lighting back ahead, and it remained a 5-4 game into the final stages of
With Grubauer lifted for an extra attacker, the Caps worked the puck for
Ovechkin to launch a long drive from the left point that Bishop got a piece
of, but it caromed over his right shoulder and in to force extra time.
"He is a pure sniper," Capitals head coach Adam Oates said of Ovechkin, "I
mean, the fourth goal with the ice conditions at that time, the length of the
pass and the weight on the pass - that's an incredible shot. It really is.
That's why he's a superstar."
Following a quiet overtime and goals by Washington's Eric Fehr and Tampa's
Nikita Kucherov in the first three shootout rounds, Mikhail Grabovski put the
Capitals ahead in the fourth go-around before Teddy Purcell kept the Lightning
alive with a hard shot through Grubauer's pads.
Troy Brouwer then opened the fifth round for Washington by finding the top
right corner of the net, and Grubauer stopped Palat with his blocker to give
the Caps the two points.
"This is a game we should have won," said St. Louis. "We had that game. A
bunch of times we had that game, we just couldn't close it."
Much earlier, Tampa Bay made the most of a pair of high-sticking penalties to
Capitals defenseman Mike Green to build a 2-0 lead just past the midway mark
of the opening period.
The first came a mere 2:26 in, with St. Louis sending a wrister that made its
way in through heavy traffic in front of Holtby. Kucherov extended the margin
with 9:11 left in the frame with the rookie's second career NHL goal, a wicked
one-timer off a Purcell feed.
Tampa struck again just 18 seconds after Kucherov's goal, as J.T. Brown forced
a turnover in the neutral zone to start a 2-on-1 with Nate Thompson in which
the latter ended Holtby's night by converting the chance.
Ovechkin gave the Capitals a bit of momentum later in the period, launching a
quick shot past a startled Bishop immediately after Backstrom won a draw in
the Lightning end, and Washington inched closer with a power-play tally early
in the second.
With the Caps skating on a 5-on-4, Grabovski tapped the puck back to
Backstrom, who connected into an open right side from the slot to bring
Washington within 3-2 with 6:24 elapsed in the middle session.
The one-goal differential was extended to two just over six minutes later, as
Johnson put in a rebound after St. Louis led a rush up the ice.
The 4-goal game was the third of Ovechkin's career and first since Jan. 31,
2008 against Montreal ... The Lightning came in 1-for-24 on the power play
over their last eight games before cashing in on 2-of-5 opportunities ...
Washington now has a league-high 20 power-play goals at home after striking
three times on Tuesday ... Tampa Bay lost for only the second time in 15 games
(13-1-1) when scoring first ... Green had three high-sticking penalties in the
game's first 12 minutes, with the last drawing a 10-minute misconduct ...
Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman sat out a second straight game with a
12/10 23:41:15 ET