NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Washington
(Wednesday, December 26th)
Final Score: Washington 3, Tampa Bay 2
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - David Steckel had a goal and two assists to register the first multi-point game of his career, and Matt Bradley's late third-period tally helped the Washington Capitals down the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-2, in a Southeast Division tilt at the Verizon Center.
Bradley broke a 2-2 tie with 2:53 left in the third. Steckel's shot from the middle of the ice deflected off the stick of Tampa Bay defenseman Filip Kuba, then off the blocker of Karri Ramo. The puck popped high in the air and fell down in behind Ramo. Bradley, while crashing the net, knocked in the rebound. The goal was reviewed and eventually upheld.
Brian Pothier also scored and Olaf Kolzig finished with 18 saves for Washington, which snapped a three-game slide.
Vincent Lecavalier lit the lamp twice for the Lightning, who have dropped five of six and 13 of their last 18 contests. Vaclav Prospal recorded two assists and Ramo allowed three goals on 32 shots.
"It's not just an offensive drought, it's everything about our hockey club," said Lightning coach John Tortorella. "I hope they're frustrated. I'm not so sure they are. I don't know what to tell you. There are a lot of things we need to get better at."
Before the game, Washington officially named Bruce Boudreau the team's head coach, removing the "interim" tag from his title. Washington is 8-5-3 since Boudreau took over the reins on November 22. The Capitals were a league worst 6-14-1 and had dropped five straight games and nine of 10 when they jettisoned Glen Hanlon and replaced him on an interim basis with Boudreau.
"I thought we deserved the win," said Boudreau. "Again, we didn't get the first goal, but we kept on coming and kept on coming. Eventually, I think we were rewarded."
Lecavalier's 24th goal of the season at 5:43 of the first put the visitors ahead 1-0. Lecavalier snapped a wrister above the right circle that Kolzig kicked out with the right pad. The Capitals' poor rebound coverage allowed Lecavalier to collect the loose disc in the right circle and slip it underneath the left pad of Kolzig.
Steckel tied the game at 1-1 with 3:49 remaining in the first. Quintin Laing sent a perfect feed from the left circle to Steckel, driving hard to the net. Ramo turned aside the backhand offering with the shaft of the paddle, but Steckel banged home the rebound.
Tampa Bay reclaimed the advantage, 2-1, on Lecavalier's 25th marker near the midway point of the middle stanza. Prospal fired a long, lead pass from the defensive zone to Lecavalier, who, from the between the circles, wristed the puck past the blocker of Kolzig.
Pothier's rocket from the right point rattled the water bottle and drew the Capitals even at 2-2 with 2:18 left in the second.
Washington has won four straight against the Southeast Division...The Lightning have not allowed a power-play goal in the last four games, going 11- for-11 on the penalty kill...The Capitals played on the day after Christmas for the 24th time in franchise history, and the 19th time on home ice, going 9-12-3...Tampa's Shane O'Brien has recorded an assist in three straight games...Washington's Alex Ovechkin appeared in the 200th game of his career...Steckel has scored three goals in his NHL career, all coming against Tampa Bay...Both squads play again on Thursday. Washington travels to Pittsburgh, while the Lightning return home to face the Canadiens.
12/26 23:44:13 ET