The Tampa Bay Lightning looked to make it three in a row tonight when they faced Braden Holtby. The Washington Capitals are a red hot team who have been unbeatable in their last 13 games. Holtby and Ben Bishop are ranked the number 1 and 2 goalies in the NHL for their goals against average and those stats seem to be spot on as last Saturday these two teams played to a 2-1 Bolts loss in Tampa.
The Lightning came out matching the Capitals effort from the drop of the puck. Through five minutes neither team registered a shot on goal as pucks were going left, right and up early in the first for both teams. As the game went back and forth through the 1st at 8:18 the Lightning would rush the offensive zone Alex Killorn would literally slip one past Braden Holtby who was tied up with Braydon Coburn in front of the net. That goal on the Lightning’s first shot of the game gave Killorn is 5th of the season and the Bolts would take a 1-0 lead. By the end of the first the Capitals would lead only in shots on goal 10-4 over the Bolts. Two of those nine shots came in the final seconds of the 1st period.
The month of December has been good to the Lightning who have won five games so far this month while only losing two, but to end this three game road trip with three wins the Lightning had to come out strong in the second period against one of the top teams in the entire NHL. And as the 2nd period started the Bolts were flying getting quick chances on Holtby while keeping the Capitals in their own zone for a few minutes of the middle period. Kucherov and the Lightning would continue with the pressure well into the 2nd when Nikita Kucherov would break into the Capitals zone make a spin move before dishing the puck to Andrej Sustr who would get his first goal of the season. His goal would give the Bolts a 2-0 lead midway through the period. Braden Holtby though would last much longer as Lightning Captain Steven Stamkos would snipe a shot past the Capitals starting goalie. Holtby would be pulled right after in favor of Philipp Grubauer after giving up three goals in a period and a half. At that point the Lightning were outshooting the Capitals 8-2 in the period. The Caps would get a power play goal after a slashing penalty sent Stamkos to the box. With the Lightning Captain off the ice for two minutes Alex Ovechkin would do what he does and snipe a shot past Bishop to cut the Lightning’s lead to two goals.
The Lightning and Capitals would go back and for through eight minutes into the 3rd. As the Bolts nearly score a goal against Grubauer, TJ Oshie gets a hold of the puck and races towards the Lightning’s zone and gets one past Bishop to cut the Lightning’s lead to one goal 3-2. Minutes later while once again on the power play Alex Ovechkin would slip past Anton Stralman and tie the game 3-3 for the Capitals after getting a shot past Bishop. With less than six minutes in the game Marcus Johansson would give the Capitals their first lead of the game. Ultimately the Capitals power play would do the Lightning in going 3 for 4 while Ovechkin accounted for two of those man advantage goals. The Capitals would put the nail in the Lightning’s coffin when TJ Oshie shot towards the empty net. The final score would end up being 5-3 after the Lightning had a three goal lead mid way through the 2nd.
—– 3 Stars of the Game —–
3rd Star: Steven Stamkos – Had a great night shooting as he had a number of shots go towards the net while registering 5 shots on goal. Add to that he got his team tying 12th goal of the season.
2nd Star: Alex Ovechkin – Two big goals for the Capitals Captain earn him the 2nd star of the game.
1st Star: TJ Oshie – Four points in this game (2g 2a) earns the Capitals winger the 1st star tonight.
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