Capitals 5, Lightning 2
Scoresheet – Wash Post – St. Pete Times
The Capitals were looking down the barrel of losing seven straight games. Someone had to step it up. It was a veteran goaltender who proved why his name is on the All Star ballot. Olie Kolzig faced down 50 shots and saved 48 of them. The Caps took advantage of their chances and broke out of their scoring slump to be 3 goals better than their divisional rivals to break their game losing slump.
Kolzig had a way of intimidating Tampa Bay. The Caps were badly out shot in the first, but there stood Kolzig keeping the Caps in the game. Most of the 50 shots he faced were perimeter shots from the outside. Caps defense kept the odd-man rushes to a minimum in this game. Many of those saves by Kolzig looked as if they were routine, and he made them look easy; a good indicator of how good a goalie really is. Compare that to the 13 shots that chased Johan Holmqvist from the net with 3 minutes left in the second for the Lightning.
The Caps goaltender finally got some goal support, as secondary scoring helped them break their slump. Scoring for the Caps were Alex Semin (9th goal of the season, first since October 21st), Boyd Gordon (who had a pretty shorthanded goal), Kris Beech (who started all the scoring by simply holding on to the puck a little longer), Chris Clark (scoring on a near impossible angle) and Alex Ovechkin (empty netter, but he will take it). Matt Pettinger took home the second star of the game with two assists, one to Beech and the other to Gordon’s shorty.
Overall Grade: B
This was a good game in terms of finally breaking their scoring slump, but the Caps are giving up a lot of shots and I would like to see the defense button it up a little. The blue liners are doing a better job of picking up the play and not allowing too many odd man rushes or break away chances.
Caps must look to build on this win and secondary lines must be able to keep the scoring up for them to win more games. The Caps schedule doesn’t get much easier in the month of December. Caps face the Jeff Halpern and the Dallas Stars Thursday at home. Capitals need to keep their scoring touch if they wish to stay in the playoff hunt.