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Kucherov Powers Lightning Past Capitals

Wayne Masut | Staff Photographer

Tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning welcomed a red-hot goal scorer and his Washington Capitals teammates.

Alexander Ovechkin is on a historic start to begin the season. In the Capitals first two games of the season, Ovechkin has seven goals…yes you read that right he has seven goals in two games. It’s been nearly 100 years since a player has started the season with back to back hat tricks. Andrei Vasilevskiy aimed to bring down the red-hot Capitals left winger.

Clicking on All Cylinders

While Ovechkin seems to be doing all the scoring for the Capitals, heading into tonight’s game the Lightning have spread out the scoring in their first two games. Nikita Kucherov, Vlad Namestnikov, Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat all have two goals for the season. Through two games it seems the first line of Namestnikov, Stamkos and Kucherov seems to be gelling quite nicely, as is the Point, Palat and Gourde line. Although the defense has been a little sketchy though the opening week. Vasilevskiy has faced an awful lot of shots through two games, one would say too many. The Lightning netminder has faced 76 shots on goal through a back to back series with the Florida Panthers.

Rough Start

While the Lightning were able to match the Capitals in the shots on goal category, the score told another story. At 16:42 Nicklas Backstrom got the Capitals on the board. Not long after while on the power play due to a Yanni Gourde slashing call, John Carlson would rocket a shot towards Vasilevskiy. TJ Oshie would get credited with the goal that gave the Caps a 2-0 lead. Tampa would be unable to get anything past Braden Holtby’s backup through one period. The score could have easily been four or five to nothing, had it not been for the heroics of Vasilevskiy. In the first period the Capitals blocked seven Lightning shots through one period, while the Bolts only blocked three.
While the Lightning had moments of aggressiveness in the neutral zone, they also couldn’t seem to get on the same page quite a few times when it came to passing.

Brown makes a Statement

During the Lightning’s brief trip to South Florida, JT Brown lifted his fist into the air during the national anthem. Brown is the first NHL player to make a statement in the NHL. While JT didn’t kneel during the anthem, his statement has been met with anger.

Brown knows he is in for a rough time, but feels like he did the right thing

Ryan Callahan spoke to the media Monday morning and had this to say.

“Everybody in this room supports him. Whether guys agree or disagree, Brownie’s one of us. One of our brothers.”

Point on-Point to Start Season

So far Brayden Point’s great rookie campaign, seems to be carrying ver to his sophomore. Through three games this season Point is leading the team in…. well points with 6. Five in the first two games of the season and one tonight against the Capitals on Alex Killorn’s first goal of the season. The goal opened the scoring for the Lightning in the second period after trailing 2-0. Point had 40 points in his rookie season, he could easily eclipse that if he continues to play as well as he has.

Welcome to Tampa, Chris Kunitz

Former Penguin Chris Kunitz came to Tampa in the offseason as a free agent. After winning four Stanley cups he picked the Lightning as his next destination. Tonight, he scored his first goal of the season as the second period wound to a close. With the Lightning threatening in the Caps defensive zone, Anton Stralman took a slap shot. Kunitz standing smack dab in front of Grubauer, deflected the shot to cut the Caps lead 3-2.

Over Taking Lightning Legends

Entering tonight’s game, Steven Stamkos was one power play goal away from tying Vinny Lecavalier all time for power play goals. Lecavalier had 112 for his long Lightning career. Nikita Kucherov sits one goal behind Brian Bradley for 7th all-time on the Lightning scoring sheets. And with his goal tonight, he officially ties Bradley for 7th place all time.

Don’t Call it a Comeback, Or Do it’s up to You…

The second period things would begin clicking for the Lightning who were trailing 2-0. Alex Killorn would get the Lightning on the board five and a half minutes into the second. TJ Oshie would get back the Caps two goal lead shortly thereafter. Kunitz would get the Bolts to within one before the second period ended. On the power play early in the period the Lightning would blast Grubauer with a barrage of shots. Just past the midway point Nikita Kucherov would tie the game up, swinging momentum back in the Lightning’s favor. Kucherov would not only tie the game, but would assist on the game winning goal by Brayden Point in overtime.

Next Up

The defending Stanley Cup Champs the Pittsburgh Penguins come to Tampa for a face off at 7:30pm

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