Capitals 4, Lightning 3 OT
Scoresheet - Wash Post
Never, ever, never, ever, ever count out the Washington Capitals. Even when all seemed lost and the Tampa Bay Lightning playing a solid defensive game with a lead into the final minutes of the third, the Caps found a way to win. The Cardiac Caps make the impossible possible once more. They would have to win anyway they could with Boston getting two points tonight as well.
Before the game, Bruce Boudreau talked about how badly the team needed secondary scoring. His wishes were granted tonight. Brooks Laich started the scoring with a shorthanded goal in the first and Matt Bradley added a tally of his own. The Caps let a 2-1 lead squander and then the lead went Tampa's way. Then Alex Semin tied the game at three late in the third, and Tomas Fleischmann made the game worth going to overtime giving the Caps a much needed two point win.
The Bolts counter punch was very potent, and the Caps were on their heels for much longer than Caps fans and Gabby would care to see them be. Cris Huet was again amazing in net, even being called the "Almighty" Cristabol Huet by some of the Tampa Media. But when the Caps vanquished the lead off a Milan Jurcina cavalier play on an icing call where the Bolts out worked the Caps and scored what would seem to be the game winner. The Lightning did their best to clog up the neutral zone, block shots and play the spoilers to the Caps playoff run after they took the lead. They were doing an excellent job too.
But the resilient Caps would not be denied. Much like the Atlanta game before, the Washington squad made a late push, and somehow, someway they pulled out another win, while the rest of us pulled out our hair.
The game was an exciting one with both teams sharing chances and both top lines going head to head. Special teams didn't really factor in as both teams only enjoyed only a 5 second powerplay thanks to a hooking call five ticks in to a Capital man advantage in the first period. Besides that both teams played pretty clean.
As exciting as it was, both top lines for the Lightning and the Capitals were held in check. In fact only Vincent Lecavalier recorded an assist (his 600th career point). It became a battle of second and third lines as the game wore on. Lucky for the Capitals, it was a good time for those secondary players to start burying pucks.
Former Capital Jeff Halpern didn't seem too phased by the pomp and circumstance that was the Ovechkin/Backstrom/Kozlov line. But I do have to say the Bolts went out of their way to be a nuisance to Ovie often cutting the forward off when he didn't have the puck and hitting him when they could (I was surprised how often he was interfered with and no calls).
Now the Caps are still just a game from Boston and now Philly too. This could come down to the wire. For the Caps they just need to keep pace, and let either the Flyers or the Bruins crack under the pressure (if the Caps don't crack first). Just when Boston thinks they are making strides, the Caps match them point for point. Now the Flyers, who looked safe, are suddenly in the thick of it again.
The Caps need to keep up their winning, or call it quits. By the way Ovie is playing, I don't think quit is in their vocabulary.