Despite taking 48 shots against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning fell in overtime due to a sub-par night in net from Andrei Vasilevskiy. Against the Washington Capitals on Saturday night, the script flipped. Curtis McElhinney put together a solid night in goal. However, despite Nikita Kucherov scoring a milestone goal, the Lightning’s could not figure out the Caps’ defense all night. The lack of production on the power play also did not help matters in what was a quiet game for two periods.
Sluggish opening period for both the Bolts and Caps
Neither team was able to get anything going for the opening 20 minutes. The penalty kill on both ends of the ice stood their ground, negating any scoring chance. From the start of the game it was easy to see this would be a goalie battle between McElhinney and the Caps’ Braden Holtby. The shots were there, but both goaltenders did a superb job in keeping the game scoreless throughout the period.
Woes on offense continue
The second period featured much of the same action as the first, but that would change as time went on. Radko Gudas would open up the scoring 4:40 in the period as he shot a puck that deflected off Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh and went past McElhinney. Tampa’s offense remained silent as Holtby looked like an unbreakable wall on the ice. Despite trailing 1-0 after 40 minutes, the Lightning hoped to get a much-needed spark in the final period of play as they only recorded 12 shots in the first two periods.
Lightning come alive, but Capitals quickly respond
The Lightning came out hungrier to start the third period, and eventually it paid off. Exactly halfway through the period, Nikita Kucherov ripped a puck past Holtby to put the Lightning on the board, tying the game 1-1. With that goal, Kucherov eclipsed the 200-goal mark for his career. The tie would not last, however, as the Capitals soon answered back. Capitals defenceman Dimitri Orlov would then score at the 13:47 mark of the period to regain the lead for Washington.
The power play stalls and the Capitals take advantage
The Lightning’s power play was ineffective yet again and this would prove to be Tampa’s downfall. Despite having a late 5-on-3 opportunity, the Lightning were still unable to figure out Holtby as Nick Dowd’s shorthanded empty net goal with 2:23 remaining in the third period sealed the deal for the Capitals. Hampered by a power play that went 0-for-7, the Lightning would fall by a 3-1 score, getting swept in the three-game season series by the Caps in the process.
Three Stars of the Game
1st Star: Dimitri Orlov – Scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period.
2nd Star: Braden Holtby – Saved 26 of 27 shots faced.
3rd Star: Curtis McElhinney – Saved 33 of 35 shots faced.
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