WASHINGTON — Here's a tip for the Lightning the next time it faces the Capitals. It might want to keep an eye on Alex Ovechkin; you know, the league's top goal scorer.
Tampa Bay didn't do nearly a good enough job Tuesday night, and the Capitals star cashed in with four goals during Washington's 6-5 shootout victory at the Verizon Center.
His last, a booming slap shot from the left faceoff circle with 32.4 seconds left in regulation, tied the score 5-5.
"Everybody in the building knows where the puck's going," Lightning captain Marty St. Louis said. "That's his shot. Obviously, we didn't do a good job taking it away from him and when we were there we didn't block him, so he scores four pretty much from the same spot."
Asked if that was the inexperience of a young team with eight rookies showing, coach Jon Cooper said, "There's young guys, old guys, everybody is on the ice when he was scoring his goals, so I wouldn't say it's a young thing. I'd say it was a dumb thing."
The loss — finalized with a 3-2 five-round shootout in which Ovechkin was actually stopped by goaltender Ben Bishop — couldn't have been more frustrating for the Lightning (17-10-3).
It led 3-0 after 11:07 of the first period, scored two power-play goals after entering the game on a 4-for-51 skid and had a 42-31 shot advantage, its second-most shots of the season.
But Tampa Bay — which got goals from St. Louis, Nikita Kucherov, Nate Thompson, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat — allowed three power-play goals and watched Ovechkin score two in 130 seconds in the second period to turn a 4-2 Lightning lead into a 4-4 tie.
The catalyst was a five-minute major penalty to Richard Panik for boarding Karl Alzner with 3:29 left in the period.
"I'm trying to finish my check. Just a bad penalty," Panik said. "I put the team in a bad spot, so I really feel bad about it."
It took Ovechkin seven seconds to make it 4-3 as he re-directed a pass after beating B.J. Crombeen to the net. He made it 4-4 with 1:12 left on a one-timer while guarded by Johnson who had broken his stick.
"He's a pure sniper," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "That fourth goal, with the ice conditions at that time, that's an incredible shot. That's why he's a superstar."
Palat's goal 8:36 into the third gave the Lightning a 5-4 lead. But Ovechkin tied the score with his league-best 26th, a slap shot which he had plenty of time to tee up.
"He didn't even have to work for his goals," Cooper said. "We know where he is. We know what he can do. We just didn't have a stick on him. We weren't in the lane, and that's the troubling part."
|Capitals win shootout 3-2|
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 13 (Salo, Johnson), 2:26 (pp). 2, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 2 (Purcell, Carle), 10:49 (pp). 3, Tampa Bay, Thompson 3 (Brown, Crombeen), 11:07. 4, Washington, Ovechkin 23 (Backstrom), 14:15. Penalties—Green, Was, double minor (high-sticking), 2:14; Green, Was (tripping), 9:07; Green, Was, served by Wilson, minor-misconduct (high-sticking), 11:42; Killorn, TB (slashing), 18:25.
Second Period—5, Washington, Backstrom 7 (Grabovski, Brouwer), 6:24 (pp). 6, Tampa Bay, Johnson 7 (Palat, St. Louis), 12:41. 7, Washington, Ovechkin 24 (Johansson, Backstrom), 16:38 (pp). 8, Washington, Ovechkin 25 (Green, Backstrom), 18:48 (pp). Penalties—Brewer, TB (holding), 4:35; Backstrom, Was (high-sticking), 9:32; Panik, TB, major (boarding), 16:31.
Third Period—9, Tampa Bay, Palat 5 (Johnson, St. Louis), 8:36. 10, Washington, Ovechkin 26 (Carlson, Backstrom), 19:27. Penalties—None.
Shootout—Tampa Bay 2 (Filppula NG, Kucherov G, St. Louis NG, Purcell G, Palat NG), Washington 3 (Fehr G, Ovechkin NG, Backstrom NG, Grabovski G, Brouwer G). Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 12-9-15-6—42. Washington 7-13-7-4—31. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 2 of 5; Washington 3 of 5. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Bishop 15-5-2 (31 shots-26 saves). Washington, Holtby (8-5), Grubauer 2-0-0 (11:07 first, 34-32). A—18,506 (18,506). T—2:47. Referees—Greg Kimmerly, Brad Meier. Linesmen—Matt MacPherson, Andy McElman.