The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Washington Capitals on Aug. 3 during their round-robin game of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers with a score of 3-2. Tampa are the current leaders of the four Eastern Conference round-robin teams with two points (1-0-0 record). Here’s a recap of the Lightning-Capitals round-robin game.
Both teams proved why they are two of the four round-robin teams in the east. It was a neck and neck battle until Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov scored the game’s first goal midway through the period. Both teams also are very efficient defensively as well. The Lightning were able to outshoot the Capitals 9-7 which made this matchup that much more interesting.
Tampa Bay went into the second period with a 1-0 lead.
Tampa was able to control the first half of the period with forward Mitchell Stephens scoring the game’s second goal. Offensively, the Lightning were able to sustain it longer than the Capitals outshooting them 4-3 up until Stephens’ goal. However, the Capitals started to come back and build momentum of their own. They made a late push in the final three minutes of the period scoring two goals to tie the game. Capitals forwards Richard Panik and Evgeny Kuznetsov both scored the Capitals’ goals.
The game was tied at two heading into the third period.
Both teams weren’t able to get a goal this period but the Capitals were in control most of this period. Each team was willing to score at any cost however which way they can. The Capitals also outshot the Lightning 11-8 but couldn’t get the puck to the back of the net.
The game headed into overtime with the score tied at two.
Just like Game 1 of the Penguins-Canadiens series, no team established any real momentum towards their side. Both teams got off three shots on goal but goaltenders Andrei Vasilevskiy (Lightning) and Braden Holtby (Capitals) held their ground around their creases.
This game was now headed to a shootout. This would be the first shootout in any of the round-robin games.
The Lightning were up first and defenseman Victor Hedman was the first shooter. Hedman went to his right, shot a wrister but Holtby made the save. Capitals’ forward T.J. Oshie was next and he’s one of the best shootout players in the league. Oshie went backhand to forehand and calmly lifted the puck over Vasilevskiy’s glove hand. Lightning forward Brayden Point was next and came down the ice with speed. He shot a wrister under Holtby’s glove hand. Kuznetsov was next for the Capitals and wasn’t able to get a shot on goal. Kucherov was next and shot another wrister on the same side Point made his shot. Capitals forward Niklas Backstrom had to score in order to keep the team alive in the shootout. But, Vasilevskiy made the save, winning the game 3-2.
Even though the Boston Bruins were the league’s top team this season, the Lightning aren’t that far behind them as the best team. In fact, the Lightning were just eight points behind the Bruins before the season ended. Tampa, as well as Washington, are two of the few favorites to win the Stanley Cup this year.
Three Stars of the Game
Third Star: Ryan McDonagh (1 assist)
Second Star: Dmitry Orlov (1 assist)
First Star: Nikita Kucherov (Game winning goal)
Tampa would also go on to defeat the Bruins 3-2 during their round robin game on Aug. 5. They play the Philadelphia Flyers on Aug. 8. Washington will play the Flyers on Aug. 6 at 4:00 pm EST.