Capitals 4, Lightning 2
Scoresheet - Times - Post - St. Pete Times
The Washington Capitals secure second place in the East with their win. But that isn't half the story. The Caps win their eleventh straight game against Tampa, sweep the season series. Brooks Laich continues his career year getting a pair of goals, while Mike Green keeps his scoring up. Alex Ovechkin was held pointless, a blow to his assault on the points crown. The 4-2 win also marks the 50th win for the Capitals and a new franchise record for points (108).
Brooks Liach scored a pair for his 21st and 22nd goals of the season. Dave Steckel also scored off of a nice play set up by his linemates. Mike Green finished it off with a empty netter that capped a 3 point night for him (a goal and two assists).
The Lightning played well through the first period, the early goal by Steven Stamkos seemed to give them the momentum. But the Caps quickly caught up when Evgeny Artyukhin took a couple of bad penalties including an minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. It landed him in the dog house and his minutes were severly cut after the Caps turned the tide with a power play goal to tie the game at one, and scored twice just 31 seconds apart in the second period.
One of the many problems for the Capitals this season has been secondary scoring. In the past two games it has been anything but a problem. Goals by Steckel and Laich was notice that Ovechkin doesn't have to be the top guy every night.
In the Eastern Conference the teams are now set, except maybe a few positioning spots to figure out. Florida bid for the playoffs falls short as the Rangers and Montreal both secure a playoff spots with a win and a overtime point respectively. That makes the game against Florida Saturday night a game for just pride.
The Caps just have one more game, and at least 4 days before the start of the playoffs. They want to finish the season strong and get in their practice time back at Kettler. With the first two games at Verizon Center, it should give the Caps some edge with some extra time at home with out travel. It will be easy to overlook the Panthers and just get the season over with.