Friday, March 20, 2009

Caps Down Lightning 5-2 Take 4-0 Lead in Season Series

It was a Two Point night last at the Saint Pete Times Forum for the Washington Capitals. All around it was a good night for the Caps. Yes the Lightning are the 29th ranked team in the NHL however they still have the core of a very solid team and it wasn't until the third period that the Capitals totally "sealed the deal." There was only one negative to the game - Mike Green left the game with about 1:30 left in the third period after Steven Stamkos dragged him down and somehow it seemed his right shoulder was injured. Hopefully that won't be an injury that keeps "Game Over" out for any length of time. Throughout the evening Simeon Varlamov played well in goal and earned his third NHL Win last night. Alexander Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season to put the Caps in front of the Bolts at the 7:43 mark of the first period while the teams were playing 4 on 4 hockey. Ovechkin now leads the league in goals with nine (9) more than the second leading goal scorer - Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils. He is also currently the second leading point scorer with 93, currently trailing leader Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins by nine (9) points.

The Caps finished the first period with a 2-1 lead on another 4 on 4 score by Mike Green his 26th of the season to regain the lead at the 19:50 mark of the period. Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos had tied the game at 1-1 on a Tampa Bay power play goal at the 17:39 mark. Tampa Bay scored the only goal of the second period. At the 15:54 mark Martin St Louis scored an even strength goal when the Lightning was able to catch the Capitals with a well executed breakout and solid puck movement. The second period ended with the score knotted at 2-2.

The third period was All Caps all the time. Mike Green put the Caps back in front with a really solid full strength goal at just 1:48 into the period. The goal was Green's 27th of the season was assisted by Viktor Kozlov and Alexander Ovechkin. Green leads all defenseman in the NHL in goals with 27 and points with 63, he is tied for 6th in assists with 36. "Game Over" has six more goals then Sheldon Souray of the Edmonton Oilers and eight more points than Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens. His sixteen power play goals are currently best in the league. The Capitals power play went 1 for 5 last night when Michael Nylander scored while they had a 5 on 4 man advantage at the 7:38 mark assisted by Viktor Kozlov and Ovechkin. The goal was just Nylander's eight (8th) of the season. The Capitals' "Energy Line" for last night of Matt Bradley, David Steckel and Quintin Laing put the Capitals three goals ahead at the 12:26 mark. Bradley's fifth (5th) goal of the season was scored at even strength and assisted by Shaone Morrisonn and Dave Steckel.

Overall the Capitals really didn't play a great game. They were a little less disciplined then they probably would have liked in the first two periods when they were out shot 22 -19. Fortunately, Simeon Varlamov came up with some pretty solid saves, despite not having the best rebound control during those two periods. The Capitals played their game plan and executed it throughout the entire 20 minutes of the third period though. The result was considerably different than the first two periods as well; in the third period the Capitals out shot the Lightning 11 - 6 and out scored them 3 - 0. the Capitals also stayed clean and penalty free during the entire third period as well.

The Capitals' play in the third period was solid and they came away with a regulation two point win. At the same time up in Boston, the Los Angeles Kings handed the Bruins an overtime loss so with respect to the B's the Caps had a three point night. Presently the Caps are just four points behind the Bruins in the Eastern Conference though Boston still has one game in hand on the Caps. The significance of that state is not too long ago the Bruins were nine (9) points ahead of the Capitals. Next up for the Capitals will be the Carolina Hurricanes, tomorrow to RBC Center.


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