Capitals 5, Lightning 3
Scoresheet - Post - Times - St. Pete Times
It may have been an unlikely source, but when the Capitals were looking to break a critical 3-3 tie the game winner would come from a Player that was on the injury list for 14 months. Brian Pothier shot ricocheted off a Lightning player and past their goaltender Mike McKenna. That wayward shot tilted the contest for the Caps as they go on to win their last game in March against a feisty Tampa Bay team 5-3.
Pothier scored his first goal of the season and got the game winner. It might have been Pothier's night, but this was Nick Backstrom's best performance as a Capital yet. Nick had two goals and an assist, scoring his 20th and 21st goal. Alex Ovechkin added two goals, the first and the empty netter to seal it. Brooks Laich had the playmaker with three assists.
The Tampa Bay Lightning may have a had a chip on their shoulders since the "hot" stick celebration by Ovechkin. Evgeny Artyukhin, lightning's resident Neanderthal, took to hunting Capitals all night. In fact the game was a little chippy through out. If Artyukhin ever gets kicked out of the NHL for doing stupid stuff, he could star in Geico's commercials.
Whether it was retribution for the celebration or Donald Brashear's absence, there was a quite a bit of hitting and jabbing following the whistles and the play. But the atmosphere was conducive to a playoff type game where both teams really wanted the win.
Lightning's Martin St. Louis was spectacular in this game. The 5 foot 9 forward was a terror for Capital players all night. When ever the puck was up for grabs, St. Louis came up with it. He figured into every one of the Bolts' goals.
The Caps seemed to have a bit more energy for tonight's game which has been a turn around for them in the last few. While the big stars got their points, a concern is secondary scoring. That was accounted for with Pothier's goal, but guys like Tomas Fleischmann, Eric Fehr, Viktor Kozlov and Micheal Nylander need to have better finishes (like the puck in the back of the net).
The Caps end March and start their four game homestand on a good foot. Next up is the rough and tumble Islanders who have been putting in a line up mostly made up of Bridgeport's best. And that means it should be a physical affair as well. As much as you want to over look the Long Island team, they did post a 2-0 win over Detroit at the Joe.