WASHINGTON — With all the weird goals, back-and-forth sloppy play and momentum swings, Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson said Monday's 6-5 shootout loss to the Capitals was "probably the craziest" he's ever experienced in 14 NHL seasons.
"It was," coach Guy Boucher said, "a weird game."
But despite as many mistakes as Tampa Bay made — and there were a lot in getting outshot 43-28 — it left the Verizon Center lamenting what could have been, having given away four one-goal leads, including the Capitals' tying tally with less than three minutes left. Washington then scored twice in the shootout, while Tampa Bay was shut out, falling to 1-1-1 on the season.
"We're one of those teams that we thrive when we do get the lead — we shut the other team down," center Nate Thompson said. "For us to turn the puck over in key moments of the game, to let them back in it, it's a little disappointing."
Considering how thoroughly the Lightning was outplayed and out-poised in Saturday's loss to the Bruins — "awful" as Thompson put it — it showed much better compete level against the Capitals.
"We worked hard," Thompson said. "We just didn't work smart."
Boucher said the Lightning, up a goal late in the game, was a little overzealous in going for another one, leading to a Capitals odd-man rush. And Dominic Moore's failed clearing attempt went right onto the stick of Jason Chimera, who sent the game into overtime with a wrist shot from the right circle with 2 minutes, 44 seconds to go.
"Hockey is a game of mistakes, especially their team that dwells on them," said Roloson, who made 38 saves, 18 in the third. "At the same time, I've got to do my job and give our guys a chance to win."
Tampa Bay was given its share of breaks, considering three of the goals it scored on Tomas Vokoun came on bad angles. The first, a Teddy Purcell tally, bounced off defenseman Mike Green. The most improbable was Brett Clark's go-ahead goal in the third, considering he flung it from the back boards, banking it off Vokoun's skates.
Said Vokoun: "They literally won (Monday) without goaltending."
But Vokoun had the last laugh, stopping all five of the Lightning's overtime shots, including a shorthanded chance by Thompson and a point-blank opportunity by Vinny Lecavalier. Tampa Bay, which held the Capitals' high-powered offense to 0-for-7 on the power play, squandered a four-on-three opportunity in overtime.
"We've got to win the game there," the Lightning's Marty St. Louis said. "We had some looks."
Boucher said the sloppiness by both teams is similar to what he sees around the league this time of year, from the fumbling pucks and turnovers to weird goals. He knows his team has a lot to improve on, especially the turnovers, but liked the battle level.
"Basically, it was a dogfight," he said. "We know they got an incredible team, they've got no weaknesses. They're the No. 1 team, ranked in our conference. We battled hard to the end."
Joe Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Capitals win shootout 2-0|
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Purcell 1 (Gervais), 2:22. 2, Washington, Johansson 1 (Alzner), 4:49. 3, Tampa Bay, Gervais 1 (Bergeron, Downie), 8:35. 4, Washington, Wideman 1 (Halpern, Perreault), 16:50. Penalties—Moore, TB (interference), 13:22.
Second Period—5, Tampa Bay, Moore 1 (Shannon, Connolly), :56. 6, Washington, Brouwer 1 (Schultz, Johansson), 3:42. Penalties—Kubina, TB (holding), 4:57; Thompson, TB (throwing stick), 5:43; Backstrom, Was (slashing), 7:09; Moore, TB (tripping), 9:52; Backstrom, Was (high-sticking), 10:57; Purcell, TB (hooking), 11:17; Malone, TB (high-sticking), 18:53.
Third Period—7, Washington, Chimera 2 (Laich, Ward), 4:00. 8, Tampa Bay, Thompson 1 (Clark, Moore), 7:42. 9, Tampa Bay, Clark 1 (Malone, Purcell), 12:56. 10, Washington, Chimera 3, 17:16. Penalties—Washington bench, served by Ovechkin (too many men), 4:55.
Overtime—None. Penalties—Bergeron, TB (tripping), 1:02; Semin, Was (hooking), 2:04; Washington bench, served by Knuble (too many men), 4:08.
Shootout—Tampa Bay 0 (Thompson NG, Moore NG), Washington 2 (Hendricks G, Ovechkin NG, Semin G). Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 4-10-9-5—28. Washington 9-13-20-1—43. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 4; Washington 0 of 7. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Roloson 1-0-1 (43 shots-38 saves). Washington, Vokoun 1-0-0 (28-23). A—18,506 (18,398). T—2:51.