Postgame Notebook: Capitals 4, Lightning 2
Standard Bearers –
With Thursday’s win over the Lightning, the 2008-09 Capitals now hold the franchise mark for points in a season with 108. The previous franchise best was 107 points (50-23-7) by the 1985-86 Capitals.
Thursday’s win was Washington’s 50th of the season, matching the franchise mark set by that 1985-86 team. With one game remaining – on Saturday night in Florida – the Caps can establish a new franchise record for victories in a season.
Thursday’s win was Washington’s third in succession, and it ran the Caps’ record to 7-1-2 in their last 10 games. Washington has gained at least a point in seven straight (5-0-2).
The Capitals have scored at least four goals in each of their last six games, the team’s longest streak of its kind since a five-game run from Jan. 13-21, 2008.
This One Goes To Eleven –
The Lightning’s last win over Washington came on Nov. 16, 2007 in Washington. Since that Tampa Bay triumph – which came in the last road game in which the team was guided by head coach Glen Hanlon – the Capitals have won 11 straight meetings with the Lightning. That winning streak matches the longest winning streak the Caps have ever had against an opponent. Washington won 11 straight games over the New York Islanders from 1998-2000.
22 for 21 –
Last season, Caps center Brooks Laich
reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his NHL career, scoring his 20th goal in Tampa Bay. This season, Laich has exceeded last year’s total of 21 by potting a pair tonight against the Bolts. He now has 22 goals and 52 points on the season.
Greening Up – Mike Green
notched his 31st goal of the season – an empty-netter at game’s end – and added a pair of assists for his second three-point game in his last five. He now has 73 points on the season, the fourth most ever recorded in a single campaign by a Capitals defenseman.
Only Larry Murphy (81 points in 1986-87) and Kevin Hatcher (79 points in 1992-93 and 74 points in 1990-91) have totaled more points in a single season among all defensemen in Caps franchise history.
Secondary Stuff –
With four goals against the Lightning on Thursday, Washington has now scored a total of 17 goals without getting one from the league’s leading goal-getter, Alex Ovechkin
. Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in last Friday’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Sabres at Verizon Center.
That streak of Capitals goals without input from Ovechkin is the team’s longest since it tallied 34 times without No. 8 lighting the lamp between Oct. 13 and Nov. 10 of this season.
Defense Scoring –
With Green’s three-point outing on Thursday, Capitals defensemen have now combined for 150 points this season (45 goals, 105 assists). That’s the most points by a group of Washington blueliners since the 1997-98 team totaled 151 points (42 goals, 109 assists). The 1997-98 team is the only club in franchise history to advance to the Stanley Cup finals.
Bolt Basher –
Caps center David Steckel
continued his dominance of the Lightning. Steckel netted the Caps’ third goal of the game, the game-winner. It was the second game-winning goal of Steckel’s NHL career and his first since Jan. 9, 2008.
Steckel now has 13 goals and 31 points in his 154-game NHL career. He has feasted on Lightning goaltenders, posting six goals and 11 points in 13 career games against the Bolts.
Ovi Watch –
Ovechkin was held without a point in Thursday’s game against the Lightning. He had six goals and 13 points in his first five games against the Bolts this season.
Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malking had two assists on Thursday to increase his lead over Ovechkin to four points in the race for the NHL’s Art Ross Trophy, awarded annually to the league’s leading scorer.
Ovechkin did fire 11 shots on goal against the Lightning, pushing his total on the season to 522, 28 shy of Phil Esposito’s all-time mark of 550 established in 1970-71. Had Ovechkin not missed three games this season, he might have matched or exceeded Esposito’s mark.
Making 30 –
Tampa Bay was outshooting Washington by an 11-1 margin at one point in the first period. The Caps were unable to muster even a single even-strength shot on goal in the game’s first 20 minutes.
Washington rallied and outshot the Lightning by a 32-13 margin over the final two and a half periods of the game. After managing only 26 shots in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Atlanta, the Caps once again launched 30 or more shots on goal in Thursday’s game.
The Capitals have not been held to 30 or fewer shots on goal since Nov. 29-Dec. 2. Washington has had 30 or more shots on goal in 48 of its last 56 games. The Caps were held to fewer than 30 shots on goal in 10 of their first 25 games this season.
Five For Five in Florida –
Thursday night’s win ran the Caps’ record to 5-0 in the state of Florida this season. Washington has one game remaining in 2008-09, at Florida on Saturday night.
The Kid’s All Right –
Just 36 seconds into tonight’s game, Lightning rookie Steven Stamkos netted his 22nd goal of the season. That tally set a single-season record for most goals by a Tampa Bay freshman. The previous mark was held by Brad Richards, who scored 21 goals for the Lightning in 2000-01.
Follow The Leader –
Stamkos’ goal gave the Lightning a lead in a game against Washington for the first time this season. That Lightning advantage lasted for 8:43, until Laich knotted the score with a power play goal midway through the first period.
Biting The Hand –
Lightning left wing Matt Pettinger is an ex-Cap, drafted with Washington’s second-round choice (43rd overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Pettinger scored against his old team for the first time in his NHL career when he beat Theodore on a deflection in front late in the third period of Thursday’s game.
The goal was Pettinger’s seventh of the season, one more than he had in 2007-08 when he split the season between Washington and Vancouver. Pettinger set his single-season career best when he netted 20 goals for the Caps in 2005-06.
Half Century –
Lightning defenseman Geoff Kinrade made his NHL debut with the Bolts on Thursday. He becomes the 50th different player to play for the Lightning this season and the 22nd different defenseman, an NHL record for most blueliners used in a season by one team.
So Long, Koho –
Longtime NHL referee Don Koharski officiated the final game of his 32-year NHL career with Thursday’s game between the Caps and the Lightning. Koharski was an official in the World Hockey Association before serving as a linesman in his first NHL contest on Oct. 14, 1977. He refereed his first game in the NHL on Nov. 18, 1981.
|Three star selections