Final
  for this game

Capitals-Lightning Preview

Dec 7, 2009 - 4:10 AM By MIKE LIPKA STATS Writer

Washington (18-5-6) at Tampa Bay (11-9-8), 7:30 p.m. EDT

Alex Ovechkin's return from suspension figures to give the Washington Capitals' offense a boost. Based on their performance without him, the Capitals hardly look like they need him.

Washington will go for a sixth straight win overall and a 12th consecutive victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning as the NHL's highest-scoring team continues its road trip Monday night.

Ovechkin missed the last two games after a knee-to-knee hit on Carolina's Tim Gleason last week, but the Capitals (18-5-6) scored 14 goals in 120 minutes without him, including seven on the power play.

Saturday's 8-2 win at Philadelphia featured the team's biggest offensive output of the season, as Tomas Fleischmann and Mike Green each scored twice while Washington was 4 of 6 with an extra man.

Alexander Semin, one of five Capitals besides Ovechkin with at least 20 points, picked up the slack Thursday, totaling two goals and two assists in a 6-2 victory over Florida.

"The guys have stepped up because they know that when Alex plays he has done it so many times for them, so they are stepping up for him," coach Bruce Boudreau told the Capitals' official Web site. "I hope they continue to step up and don't say on Monday, 'OK Alex, you're back, you do it.' It's great to see that kind of team stuff where one guy can go down and another guy can come in and play the game."

Still, Ovechkin leads the team with 18 goals despite playing in just 21 games, and remains the biggest piece in Washington's league-leading power play (24.6 percent) and NHL-best offense (3.62 goals per game).

He helped the Capitals win three straight before his suspension, and they can match their longest winning streak of the season with one more victory.

That seems like a good possibility against the Lightning, who are 0-10-1 during their drought against Washington, which dates back to a 5-2 Tampa Bay win on Nov. 16, 2007 - a week before Boudreau was hired. While the teams haven't faced off this season, the Capitals are already 6-0-0 against Southeast Division foes.

Ovechkin has had a major impact for much of the streak, with eight goals and seven assists in his last seven games against Tampa Bay. He has racked up 40 points in 30 career games in the series.

The Lightning (11-9-8) will need a similar defensive performance to the one they got in a 4-0 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday night, helping the team snap a four-game losing streak.

Mike Smith made 30 saves to secure his first shutout of the season, while defenseman Victor Hedman - the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft - scored his first NHL goal.

"We needed something good," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet told his team's official Web site. "Obviously Mike Smith was excellent tonight, and it was nice. I was real happy for him. He made some really good saves out there and was definitely the difference-maker for us."

Smith is 4-0-2 at home this season, helping Tampa Bay to a 7-2-4 mark at the St. Pete Times Forum, but his two career starts against Washington have been terrible. He is 0-2-0 with a 6.60 GAA in those outings.

Antero Niittymaki, Tampa Bay's other goalie, is 3-0-0 with a 1.67 GAA in his last three starts against the Capitals, all with Philadelphia. Niittymaki has lost his last three starts overall.






  • 5
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 5 roots

    Capitals 3, Lightning 0  FinalDec 8 7:19 AM


  • -------------------------------------------
    Washington
    0 3 0 --3
    Tampa Bay 0 0 0 --0
    -------------------------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: None. Penalties: R Malone, Tam (goaltender
    interference), 1:40; S Downie, Tam (slashing), 4:29; S Downie, Tam
    (cross-checking), 13:10.

    SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Washington, Alexander Ovechkin 19
    (Unassisted),

    Dec 7 10:04 PM


  • -------------------------------------------
    Washington
    0 3 0 --3
    Tampa Bay 0 0 0 --0
    -------------------------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: None. Penalties: R Malone, Tam (goaltender
    interference), 1:40; S Downie, Tam (slashing), 4:29; S Downie, Tam
    (cross-checking), 13:10.

    SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Washington, Alexander Ovechkin 19
    (Unassisted),

    Dec 7 10:04 PM


  • --------------------------------------
    Washington
    0 3 --3
    Tampa Bay 0 0 --0
    --------------------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: None. Penalties: R Malone, Tam (goaltender
    interference), 1:40; S Downie, Tam (slashing), 4:29; S Downie, Tam
    (cross-checking), 13:10.

    SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Washington, Alexander Ovechkin 19
    (Unassisted), 07:39. 2, Washingto

    Dec 7 9:10 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 3
    TAMPA BAY 0 00:25 LEFT, 2ND PRD

    Capitals 3, Lightning 0  2nd - 0:25Dec 7 9:09 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 2
    TAMPA BAY 0 07:28 LEFT, 2ND PRD

    Capitals 2, Lightning 0  2nd - 7:28Dec 7 8:55 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 1
    TAMPA BAY 0 12:21 LEFT, 2ND PRD

    Capitals 1, Lightning 0  2nd - 12:21Dec 7 8:42 PM


  • ---------------------------------
    Washington
    0 --0
    Tampa Bay 0 --0
    ---------------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: None. Penalties: R Malone, Tam (goaltender
    interference), 1:40; S Downie, Tam (slashing), 4:29; S Downie, Tam
    (cross-checking), 13:10.

    Shots on goal:
    ---------------------------------
    Washington 7 --7
    Tampa Bay 7 --7
    ----

    Dec 7 8:11 PM