GAME DAY: Capitals at Lightning 2/4/11

Capitals (27-15-10) at Lightning (32-15-5)

The Lightning look to extend their win streak to 7 and broaden their Southeast Division lead against the Washington Capitals tonight at St. Pete Times Forum.  The Capitals are coming off yet another loss after regulation (in the shootout this time) against the Canadiens, while the Lightning are coming off an impressive 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.  Dwayne Roloson earned that shutout against the Flyers, and he will be the netminder again tonight.

The Capitals have yet to solve Roloson this season.  In his two games for the lightning against the Caps, Roloson has shut them out by scores of 1-0 and 3-0.  This will be the fifth game between the two teams, with the previous four going in an even 2-2 split.  The Capitals won the first two games by scores of 6-3 and 6-0, while the Lightning have won the last two 1-0 (in overtime) and 3-0.

Speaking of overtime, that has been a huge difference between these teams this season.  Both the Caps and the Bolts have had 16 games go into extra time.  However, Tamps Bay boasts the best OT/SO record in the league with 11 wins and only 5 losses.  Washington, on the other hand, has only 6 wins and a whopping 10 losses, which is 13th in the league.

Both teams are facing some injuries.  However, the Caps injuries affect their lineup more, with goal scorer Alexander Semin (who had the game-winning goal in the 6-3 Washington win) and depth scorer Eric Fehr both out.  The eldest member of the Capitals’ blueline, Tom Poti, is also out.  For the Lightning, they will likely miss Ryan Malone, while Mike Lundin is listed as “questionable.”

The Lightning must play the same type of game against the Capitals as they did against the Flyers.  The Caps have been struggling with consistency, and that has made this game even more important.  With the Bolts gaining more and more ground in the division, the Capitals can’t afford to lose a four-point game against them.  The Caps are going to bring their best, and that means the Lightning are going to have to be on their game.

Neither team has played since Tuesday night, so both teams have had time to rest.  This should be an intense, divisional game with playoff implications.  Who would have thought we’d be saying that about the Southeast Division last year?

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Tags: Dwayne Roloson Tampa Bay Lightning Washington Capitals

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