NHL Game Summary - Washington at Tampa Bay
(Tuesday, November 28th)
Final Score: Washington 5, Tampa Bay 2
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Olaf Kolzig tied a season-high with 48 saves, and the Washington Capitals held off the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-2, at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Alexander Semin and Alexander Ovechkin each tallied a goal and an assist for the Caps, who ended a six-game slide. They were 0-4-2 during the streak, the team's longest drought since last March 10-22 when it went 0-5-2. Matt Pettinger added two assists in the victory.
Nick Tarnasky notched his first-career goal and Vincent Lecavalier also scored for the Lightning, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Johan Holmqvist stopped just 10-of-13 shots before being yanked. He was relieved by Marc Denis, who stopped five-of-six the rest of the way.
"Kolzig was the difference," said Tampa Bay Head Coach John Tortorella. "Let's call a spade a spade, he was outstanding. It's one of the best performances I've seen in a long time from a goaltender."
Despite being outshot 16-5 in the opening session, the Caps took a 1-0 lead with 5:48 remaining in the first. Kris Beech started and finished the play, first winning the draw in the defensive zone before the disc was corralled by Semin. The left winger then dished to Pettinger, who crossed over the blue line and passed to Beech, who skated through the right circle and fired a wrister that beat Holmqvist.
Washington scored three times in the middle stanza to take a commanding 4-0 lead.
The first goal came short-handed at 1:53. Boyd Gordon went end to end, taking the puck from a diving Martin St. Louis and staying a stride ahead of the Tampa defense before ripping a shot that sailed over the netminder's glove.
Semin followed with another huge individual effort to make it 3-0. He got the puck under control in the offensive zone, faked a pass, then roofed it over Holmqvist, who was pulled after the score.
Denis took over between the pipes and promptly gave up another tally, this one to Chris Clark with 1:30 remaining in the period.
The Lightning finally scratched the scoreboard at 5:10 in the third. Blair Jones wrestled the puck away from Brian Sutherby behind the net before throwing it out in front. Tarnasky came streaking through the slot, dropped his blade and used a wrist shot to beat Kolzig to make it 4-1.
Tampa then cut the lead to 4-2 with 9:57 remaining. Dan Boyle dropped a backhand shot from the blue line intended for Jones, who was camped in front of the net. The puck ricocheted off the center's skate and Lecavalier wristed it into the back of the net from just off the left side.
The Caps' defense buckled down the rest of the way, and Kolzig made an outstanding save on a blind backhand shot with 2:55 remaining to preserve the lead.
"When you're up by four, you should close the game out," said Kolzig. "It wasn't like we were dominating the game, we were capitalizing on our chances. We took too many penalties. That probably generating half their shots,(being) on the power play."
Ovechkin ended the drama with an empty net tally with just over a minute left to play.
"When you miss chances in the first period and they get a break, it's tough," St. Louis said after the game. "We've got to find a way to capitalize. We fell behind and we were scrambling to get back. And with that said, we played poorly in the second period, we shot ourselves in the foot and still battled back in the third, but obviously we buried ourselves in too big a hole and couldn't get back out."
Washington finished 0-for-1 on the power play, while Tampa Bay went 0- for-3...The Capitals will open a four-game homestand on Friday against Dallas, while the Lightning visit Boston.
11/29 00:24:37 ET