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 faces rebound test against Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON — The story line for the Lightning in its game tonight with the Capitals at the Verizon Center was supposed to be simple: Can it hang with its primary Southeast Division foe?

But after Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Bruins in which Tampa Bay was thoroughly dominated, a game that was supposed to determine how the Lightning measures up now is about proving it can stand up.

"We will see," Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said, "if we're a bounce-back team."

The way Boucher sees it, the Lightning was at a disadvantage in Boston because it was playing the second of back-to-back road games while the Bruins had Friday off.

Tampa Bay still is in a tough spot, playing a third game in four nights right out of preseason, but the team did not practice Sunday.

"So, we will have no excuses," Boucher said. "This will be an important one to see how we play. I'm not talking win or lose. We're still at Washington. They're still the No. 1-ranked team in our conference, so it's going to be another difficult one. But we should be better. With a day off, we should be better than that."

Even without that overlay, the game promises to be emotional.

As the Lightning has improved, the teams have built up a healthy rivalry. This also is their first meeting since Tampa Bay swept the Capitals out of the Eastern Conference semifinals. There is no doubt Washington, which has won four straight division titles, would love to, as Lightning center Steven Stamkos said, "make a statement that they mean business this year."

"We owe them a good game," Capitals defenseman Mike Green told the Washington Post. "They, obviously, took us down last year in four and that's something you don't forget. Doesn't mean we're gunning out there for anybody, just means we're going to play our hardest game and make sure we challenge them."

The Lightning wouldn't mind making a point, either.

"You're always trying to establish your game and the type of game you're going to bring to the table every night," defenseman Eric Brewer said. "So, when you play a team six times and they're a perennial favorite every year, you have to make sure they know you're for real."

The focus for both teams is on their top players. Tampa Bay's top six did not give the team what it needed against the Bruins, Boucher said. And Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, after the team disappointed again in the postseason, apparently vowed to owner Ted Leonsis he will be more committed to training and video work.

In other words, both teams, and individual players, have something to prove.

"They're a very good team, and the last time we saw them they beat us four times in a row," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It should be an interesting game."

"For sure their guys will be extremely motivated," Boucher said. "They're an outstanding team, so just trying to keep up with them, we're going to have our hands full. One thing is for sure, it's going to be great hockey."


Damian Cristodero can be reached at


Lightning at Capitals

When/where: 7; Verizon Center, Washington

TV/radio: Versus; 970-AM

Key stats: G Dwayne Roloson is 8-5-4 in 17 games vs. the Capitals with a 2.11 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and four shutouts. … Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin had two goals, 10 points last season vs. Tampa Bay and has 26 goals, 60 points in 48 games vs. the Lightning overall. … G Tomas Vokoun is 11-7-2 with a tie in 23 games vs. Tampa Bay with a 2.60 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.

Tampa Bay Lightning faces rebound test against Washington Capitals 10/09/11 [Last modified: Sunday, October 9, 2011 8:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting


    The Rays are looking to keep rolling when they make a quick turnaround after Friday's win over the Twins and are back on the field for a matinee today, 2:10 first pitch Tampa Bay time.

    RHP Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, coming off a good but not great start against the Angels, though buoyed …

  2. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  3. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  5. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule


    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]