Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning beats Washington Capitals 3-2

WASHINGTON — Antero Niitty­maki was spread-eagle in front of the net, his head low to the ice, legs, sticks and bodies flashing before his eyes. Still, the Lightning goaltender said, "I was seeing the puck all the time."

In one second, bang-bang backhanders by Washington's Brendan Morrison and Jason Chimera were gloved, two seconds after Eric Fehr's wrist shot was blocked. That was quite a start to the second period, and the kind of performance Tampa Bay has wanted from its goaltenders, which led to the kind of win it needed, 3-2 over the league-best Capitals on Friday night at the Verizon Center.

"Niitty played great," center Steven Stamkos said. "He made the saves when he had to."

And the Lightning (28-28-11), which looked so bad during a 1-6-1 streak, kept itself in the postseason conversation by snapping a seven-game road losing streak at Washington to move four points behind the Bruins for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 15 games left. "Probably the best road game we played all year," Niittymaki said.

Sure, there was luck involved.

Vinny Lecavalier scored the winner with 4:48 left in the second period, when Matt Walker's high wrist shot deflected in off the captain's left forearm for a 3-1 lead as Lecavalier ducked to get out of the way. "It was coming right at my face," he said. "It was a lucky goal."

But there also was much-needed secondary scoring. Neither Stamkos nor Marty St. Louis scored, the first time that has happened since Jan. 19 against the Rangers. Brandon Bochenski's second goal of the season with 48.9 seconds left in the first tied the score 1-1. Walker's second made it 2-1 with 8:30 left in the second.

The defense blocked 20 shots, including three by Mike Lundin, who shadowed Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin and held him to one shot.

"It's just a lesson," coach Rick Tocchet said. "We have to play with passion. The bench was alive."

And Niittymaki was solid after being pulled from three of his previous five starts and going 1-3-0 with a 5.75 goals-against average and .837 save percentage. The 14-save second period was his masterpiece, with 13 saves in the first 9:17 to preserve a 1-1 tie.

"You don't let them score, and it takes the wind out of their sails" Walker said.

And the Lightning outshot Washington 10-1 the rest of the period. "They came pretty hard the first 10 minutes, but other than that we were in total control the whole time," Niittymaki said. "Guys played hard. We didn't get rattled. We played a really good game."

Lightning 1 2 0 3
Capitals 1 0 1 2
Lightning 1 2 0 3
Capitals 1 0 1 2

First Period1, Washington, Fleischmann 20 (Ovechkin, Knuble), 16:54 (pp). 2, Tampa Bay, Bochenski 2 (Fedoruk, Lundin), 19:11. PenaltiesBradley, Was (slashing), 8:38; Szczechura, TB (holding), 16:05.

Second Period3, Tampa Bay, M.Walker 2 (Veilleux, Thompson), 11:30. 4, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 19 (M.Walker, Purcell), 15:12. PenaltiesPurcell, TB (hooking), 2:09; Foster, TB (tripping), 6:16.

Third Period5, Washington, Laich 21 (Green, Ovechkin), 11:09 (pp). PenaltiesM.Walker, TB (slashing), 10:40. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 7-10-10—27. Washington 8-14-8—30. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 0 of 1; Washington 2 of 4. GoaliesTampa Bay, Niittymaki 18-12-5 (30 shots-28 saves). Washington, Varlamov 13-3-3 (27-24). A18,277 (18,277).

Lightning 3

Capitals 2

Tampa Bay Lightning beats Washington Capitals 3-2 03/12/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 13, 2010 12:28am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  2. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  3. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  4. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …

  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi had to battle without his best stuff again, which is becoming a more common occurrence, leading to long at-bats — including 13 pitches to Kennys Vargas in the fifth — and running up his pitch count to 118 without finishing the sixth.