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(Saturday, January 19th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 6, Washington 3
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Martin St. Louis had two goals, including the deciding tally early in the third period, and an assist as the Tampa Bay Lightning opened their season with a 6-3 victory over the Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Eric Brewer also scored twice, while Vincent Lecavalier and Cory Conacher added a goal apiece for the Lightning, who missed the playoffs last season after losing in the conference finals the previous year.
Anders Lindback stopped 27 shots in the victory.
Joel Ward netted a pair of goals and Wojtek Wolski added another tally for Washington. Braden Holtby allowed all six Tampa goals on 34 shots to spoil the coaching debut of recent Hall of Fame inductee Adam Oates.
"It felt good to contribute," said Ward. "You try to finish your opportunities if you can and today I was fortunate to get a couple."
The game entered the third period tied at 3-3, and St. Louis was able to put the Lightning on top for good during their second power play of the period when he ripped a slap shot past Lindback from the high slot at the 4:57 mark.
Washington was issued a man advantage a little over two minutes later when Tom Pyatt was called for holding, but they could not record the equalizer and Conacher later finished off an odd-man rush with 6:36 left in the game to supply an insurance goal.
Brewer's power-play tally with 3:18 remaining put the game away and accounted for the final margin.
"It was a great character win and we have got to build on that," Lightning center Steven Stamkos said.
After Washington failed to convert on a pair of early power plays, Tampa Bay took the lead 6:24 into the first period on Brewer's wrister from the top of the left circle that sailed into the top-right corner.
Washington, however, was able to capitalize on its third power play of the first period when Ward stuffed the puck past Lindback while in a scrum up close two minutes later.
But Lecavalier cleaned up a rebound with a hard wrister from the right of the net to give the Lightning back the lead with 10:59 left in the opening stanza.
Tampa Bay could not capitalize on its first power play of the season when Troy Brouwer was whistled for boarding with 5:59 remaining in the first period to keep it a 2-1 game heading into the first intermission.
The Capitals quickly tied the game just 1:59 into the second period on Ward's second goal of the contest, but Tampa Bay was issued a power play at the 4:06 mark of the frame when Jason Chimera was called for roughing and St. Louis fired a Lecavalier feed inside the left post a little over a minute later to regain the lead.
Washington was able to make it 3-3 game in the closing moments of the second period when an offensive zone turnover by the Lightning resulted in Wolski slipping a Mike Ribeiro rebound past Lindback with 1:45 left in the frame.
Conacher received an assist on St. Louis' first goal to record his first career point before netting his first-ever goal ... Tampa Bay went 3-for-7 on the power play ... The Capitals were 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
01/19 23:49:49 ET
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