It was an electric night in the phone booth as the Washington Capitals battled the Tampa Bay Lightning to take the lead and the win. The game started out defensively, no shots on goal until Alex Ovechkin gets one at the 6:23 mark. Tampa Bay forward Alex Killorn scores on the Bolts’ first shot on goal, 1-0, at the 8:18 mark of the first period.
The speed of the game only increased from there.
Caps captain Alex Ovechkin was fired up for the game, hitting and shooting the puck. At the 6:54 mark of the second period, Andrej Sustr makes it 2-0 Tampa. Bolts captain, Steven Stamkos, ended his longest ever goal drought with a blast past Braden Holtby, 3-0. For the first time this season, Holtby was pulled from the goal crease and Philipp Grubauer comes in relief.
On the power play, thanks to a Stamkos slash, Ovechkin takes a pass from T.J. Oshie and puts the Caps on the board, 3-1.
In the third period, Matt Niskanen just destroys J.T. Brown in open ice. A big save by Grubauer denies the Bolts, and then Oshie rips one past Bishop, 3-2. On the power play, again, Ovi buries one and the game became tied 3-3. Marcus Johansson scores his sixth of the season on the power play and the Caps suddenly have a 4-3 lead with 5:44 left in the game. MoJo’s goal happened because of beautiful passing from Oshie and Ovechkin.
Oshie ices the win with an empty net goal, assisted by Nicklas Backstrom and Ovechkin. With that assist, Backstrom collects his 600th NHL point. Caps win 5-3 and now, because they have a game in-hand on the Dallas Stars, have the best record in the league.
A career milestone for Jason Chimera, who played in his 900th career NHL game tonight.
Nicklas Backstrom picked up his 600th career point in 605 games.
Alex Ovechkin with his two PP goals and two assists had his 101st career multi-goal game.
No morning skate for the Caps today so we will have to share some more pictures taken at practice yesterday.
Two days after the Caps great win over the Ottawa Senators, the NHL network and media outlets are still talking about Michael Latta and Braden Holtby. Sprinkle in some Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov and the consensus is: the Caps are real cup contenders this year. The Caps are points away from taking the number one spot in the league away from the Dallas Stars—something we haven’t seen from this team in a very long time.
Michael Latta was the darling of Tuesday night with a goal and an assist. He received the third star of the night from the NHL Network and everyone was talking about this hidden jewel on the team. But we knew it all along!!
Talk about Braden Holtby and Vezina Award and even the Hart Trophy continues, as do comparisons to other Caps greats like Olie Kolzig. Tuesday it will be monster goalie against monster goalie when 6’7” Ben Bishop steps into the crease.
We get to celebrate 36 year old Jason Chimera’s 900th NHL game tonight!!!
What About Tampa Bay You Say???
Steven Stamkos (91) leads the Bolts in goals and points, but he hasn’t scored a goal in his last 10 games and surely is looking to snap out of that pattern. Could he do it tonight?
The next player the Caps should watch out for is Nikita Kucherov (86). Although he only has 12 goals to date; he earned half of them in the last five games, along with an assist.
And then there is Ben Bishop. Bishop fills up the net and makes it hard for anyone to get around him. He is second in the league with 1.92 goals against average and has a save percentage of 0.931 (7th in the league). However, his wins are less impressive than Holtby: 13/25 compared to 20/25. Either way, it could be another fight between the goalies that determines who skates away with the W.
After tonight the Caps will head to New York to face down the NY Rangers and properly lay claim to the number one spot in the Metropolitan Division. Then they are on to Carolina December 21st before returning home for a post-Christmas game against the Atlantic Division leaders—the Montreal Canadiens.
DON’T FORGET TO BRING YOUR UPWRAPPED GIFT FOR THE TOY DRIVE TONIGHT.
AND DON’T FORGET TO BRING A LITTLE CHRISTMAS CHEER TO YOUR SECTION USHERS WHO KEEP THE PEOPLE FROM WALKING DOWN DURING PLAY AND THROW OUT ROWDY FANS FROM OPPOSING TEAMS!!
We never know what kind of a day it will be when we arrive at Kettler Ice Plex to shoot pictures of practice for you. Today was one of those unusually fun days because the rink was packed with fans for the Washington Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning as both teams held their practice here today.
Add the CSN Mid-Atlantic crew conducting interviews and several of the players and their families hanging out, to the great fans we talked with, and you have all the ingredients for a perfect day after a win!
Here are some of the sights we captured today.
We shifted rinks and had a chance to catch some great shots of the Bolts.
Great fan turnout for the Bolts.
Even Coach Trotz and some of the players hung around to watch.
Tune in again tomorrow for our game preview and review.