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Holiday cheers after first trip to the shootout ends successfully

For the first time this season, the Lightning headed to the shootout in a defensive battle in the nation’s capital before the holiday break. Both teams played tight defense as the game pressed on with sharp play by the goaltenders. Another ugly second period was played by Tampa which in the ended up not hurting them too much. A goalie battle was on full display that rightfully was decided in the shootout. Somehow the shootout eluded the Lightning up until this point as not even an exciting overtime generated a goal. Lightning made the most out of the shootout to enter the holiday break with a respectable three-game winning streak.


First strike

Opening face-off was won by Anthony Cirelli and with that the last game before the holiday break began. Immediately Tampa’s offense went to work in Washington’s zone looking for the early score. A near disaster led to a goal for the Capitals but they fumbled the puck in what could have been the opening goal. Then, Lightning received the first power play of the night after Connor McMichael was called for hi-sticking. No damage was done and the game remained scoreless with nearly half the period to go. Soon after, Luke Glendening tipped the puck past Charlie Lindgren to give the Bolts the 1-0 lead.

Power plays yield no goals

Afterwards, Washington’s bottom line continued to be their best performers on offense as they continued to try and even the score. Then, Washington went on the power play after Steven Stamkos was called for interference. Capitals had some good chances on the man-advantage but Andrei Vasilevskiy remained sturdy in net while the Lightning had a handful of short-handed opportunities. With 2:38 left to go in the period Bolts went on the power play for the second time tonight. Lightning were unsuccessful on the man-advantage and the score remained 1-0 heading into the second period.

Lost the lead?

Tom Wilson nearly scored to open up the period, but the puck went off the post. It was a turnover by Erik Cernak that led to the chance for the Capitals to try and tie the game up. However, Washington would score moments later to tie the game. Anthony Mantha scored off a deflection to even up the score 1-1. Lightning had to constantly fight for the puck which made it difficult for both ends of the ice to get anything going. This gave the Capitals momentum after they tied the game with the Mantha goal. The momentum continued to stay with Washington as a Lightning turnover leads to a Capitals goal. This time Nick Jensen keeps the puck and shoots it past Vasilevskiy to give Washington the 2-1 lead.

Challenge successful

Immediately, Lightning challenged the goal for offsides, and the call was reversed keeping the game tied. It was a lucky break for Tampa, but the turnovers had to cease to prevent Washington from taking the lead. Wilson and Ovechkin nearly gained the lead for the Capitals, but Vasilevskiy made a great sequence of saves to deny both of them. On the other end of the ice Lindgren made a nice sequence of saves himself to prevent the Lightning from taking the lead. After the teams exchanged prime chances, the play began to cool down with a few minutes to go in the period. Period ended with the score remaining 1-1 with neither team really gaining momentum heading into the third period.

Silent start

Beginning of the third played out much like the end of the second period. Both teams are just itching for the other to make a costly mistake in order to pull ahead. Capitals generated more scoring chances but again could not get a puck past Vasilevskiy. With half the period gone not only did the score remain the same, play on ice remained anyone’s game as neither team pulled away with momentum. Scoring chances were hard to find but there was still another half of the period for that to change.

Tight play carries on

Back and forth the puck went with both defenses playing tight with very few shots on net occurring. An ugly sequence by the Lightning gave the Capitals the scoring chance they have been waiting for but again it would not lead to a goal. Puck luck was not doing either team any favors and the players would have to be crafty to break the tie with 6 minutes to go. In the final two minutes Nick Paul nearly scored but Lindgren made a great save to deny him. Overtime would be needed to decide a victor before the players can enjoy the holiday break.

Hello shootout

In overtime teams continued to play as tight as they can with their goalies remaining sharp. Capitals maintained possession for much of overtime while it took a while for the Bolts to get fresh players on the ice. Capitals had a 2-on-1 opportunity that Vasy was able to save. It felt like the second period all over again for the Lightning with their poor play with the puck. Somehow neither team could score in overtime and for the first time all season the Lightning headed to the shootout. Finally, it took four rounds to decide a winner and it was Lightning who came out on top with Victor Hedman scoring the game winner. He had initially lost the puck but was able to retrieve it and send the Capitals packing. Lightning will end the year with three games at home beginning on Wednesday.


Three stars of the game

1st star: Andrei Vasilevskiy – Saved 33 of 34 shots faced

2nd star: Charlie Lindgren – Saved 19 of 20 shots faced

3rd star: Anthony Mantha – 1 goal



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