NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, November 14th (All times eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (8-2-2-1) at Washington Capitals (4-11-1-0), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning try to get back on track tonight when they visit the Washington Capitals for a Southeast Division clash at the MCI Center.
Tampa is 1-2-1-1 since beginning the season on an eight-game unbeaten streak (7-0-1). On Tuesday the Lightning were pounded, 4-0, by Florida in the debut of interim Panthers coach Rick Dudley.
The Cats' Roberto Luongo made 26 saves for his first shutout of the season and Valeri Bure had a goal and an assist to lift the victors. Tuesday's showing marked the second time in four games Tampa has been shut out. Los Angeles defeated the Bolts, 1-0, at the St. Pete Times Forum last Thursday.
Nikolai Khabibulin made 25 saves in defeat and has allowed four goals in two of his last three starts. The Bulin Wall has been beaten more than two times in only three starts this season.
Despite its recent struggles, Tampa Bay still leads the Southeast Division with 19 points. Atlanta sits a point back. The Lightning, 2-1-1 on the road, conclude a three-game trip tonight and will host the NY Islanders next Thursday.
Washington, meanwhile, has been for the most part a woeful club thus far, but the Capitals erupted with a 7-1 victory over visiting Carolina on Wednesday. The blowout snapped a three-game losing streak.
Robert Lang scored three goals for his first career hat trick to lead the effort, and Dainius Zubrus scored twice and added an assist. Brian Willsie and Alexander Semin also found the back of the net for Washington, while Olaf Kolzig turned aside 29 shots. Joining the points parade were Sergei Gonchar, Jaromir Jagr and Peter Bondra, who chipped in with two helpers apiece.
Lang has tallied seven goals and six assists during a seven-game points streak. He is currently tied for third in the league in points (21) and third in goals (10).
Washington, with nine points, remains tied with Pittsburgh for the NHL's worst record. The Caps, 3-4 at home, close out a four-game MCI Center set tonight and will visit Carolina on Saturday.
The Capitals defeated the Lightning, 5-1, in Tampa on November 4 to hand them their first loss of the season. Washington has won four of the last five meetings, and 11 straight series games on home ice. The Bolts haven't won in DC since November 4, 1998.
11/14 10:11:01 ET