The Washington Capitals hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Capital One Arena and beat them 3-1. Philipp Grubauer was the Caps’ netminder for this game. Coach Trotz played him this game for many reasons:
- The next day was his birthday! (November 25th)
- Back to back games on the 24th and 25th, he would play one of them.
- He would rest on his birthday.
- He would get his rematch against the Bolts, who beat him in his first start of the season.
This was such a relief for Grubauer to finally get his first win of the season. All cylinders were going; defense played smart, offense started shooting and stopped being too fancy, and Grubi held his own in between the pipes. This was a well deserved win for the Caps.
The start of the game was not the best, however. Under two minutes into the game and 17 seconds into a power play, the Bolt’s young Russian forward Vladislav Namestnikov scored off a Nikita Kucherov shot to immediately gain the lead and put Washington on their heels. The Caps held their own and continued to play their game. Before the end of the first period, the top line tied the game up. Alex Ovechkin was the goal scorer on the rush. Fed from Tom Wilson on the right side, Ovi hammered a one timer from his ‘office’ on the left side top shelf. That goal tied him with Hall of Famer Mike Bossy in all-time career goals at 573.
Washington kept rolling into the second period where the fourth line scored to give the Caps the 2-1 lead. Jay Beagle fired a low shot coming down the left side where Devante Smith-Pelly was crashing the net, in which he popped in the rebound. Those are the gritty, hard-working goals that Trotz and the fans want to see from the team. Those are what get you into the playoffs and those are what get you past the second round.
Towards the end of the game, where Tampa pulled their netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy, Beagle found the puck and delivered a patient backhander into the empty net to seal the game 3-1. Caps played great, in my opinion, against the current number one team in the East Conference. If they can continue to play the way they played last night, then there’s a chance that they could slither themselves into the post-season.