The Tampa Bay Lightning found themselves shocked by the Washington Capitals on Black Friday in the Nation’s Capital.
The Tampa Bay Lightning saw their captain Steven Stamkos return on Black Friday. However, costly turnovers and penalties overshadowed the good play of the Bolts through two periods of play.
After missing three games, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos returned to the ice to face the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. The Black Friday affair marked the first time Stamkos was back on the ice with his team since re-aggravating a lower-body injury against the Chicago Blackhawks last Thursday.
Regardless, the Lightning looked to turn a quality effort against the St.Louis Blues on Wednesday in Tampa, into a better outcome Friday night against the Capitals.
The first period started off with a great chance by Cedric Paquette. The play was initiated by Yanni Gourde, who skated hard up ice into the Capitals zone and passed it over to Paquette, who was extremely close to putting the Lightning on the board first.
After this, the Lightning was clearly outshot and the Capitals had most of the chances go their way. After going up 13-4 in shots on net, Capitals forward Richard Panik high-sticked Ondrej Palat to give the Lightning their second Power Play of the game.
During the Power Play, a shot off the boards appeared to almost squeak out of the zone past Victor Hedman. Hedman, however, made a great recovery on the play and just barely got over to keep the puck in the Lightning’s offensive zone.
Hedman then dished it over to Nikita Kucherov, who quickly snapped a pass to Brayden Point in the slot. In his usual spot on the Power Play, Point let off a one-timer that beat Holtby to put the Lightning up 1-0 right before the end of the First period.
Overall, Andrei Vasilevskiy had a great first period and kept the Lightning in it in order to keep the score even before the Power Play goal.
The second period took a bit of a different turn than the first period. The period started with Mikhail Sergachev putting the Lightning up 2-0 just over 4 minutes into the second period.
Right after scoring his third of the season, Sergachev committed an interference penalty and gave the Capitals their first Power Play opportunity of the night. Just after the Power Play started, TJ Oshie found Evgeny Kuznetsov. The beautiful pass was re-directed passed Vasilevskiy to cut the Capitals deficit to 2-1.
After gaining some confidence, the capitals tried to play their kind of game and bully the Lightning physically. Notably, Kuznetsov took offense to Yanni Gourde taking an extra swipe at Braden Holtby after a save. Kuznetsov got his shots and shoves in on Gourde, but that wasn’t enough.
While Gourde was being held by officials and Alex Ovechkin, Kuznetsov took a cheap shot on Gourde. The refs somehow deemed both offenses the same and gave both Kuznetsov and Gourde matching roughing minors.
This didn’t phase the Lightning. Instead of buying into the Capitals style of game, the Lightning stuck to their own. With the excellent skating skills of Kucherov and Point, the Lightning re-affirmed their position in the game.
Point eventually set-up Alex Killorn with a nice pass. Killorn quickly rifled the puck past Holtby and gave the Lightning their two-goal advantage once again right before the end of the period.
The third period, unfortunately, told a different tale as the Capitals completely took over the game. First, Jakub Vrana shot a slapper past Vasilevskiy at 3:45 in the third to once again cut the Lightning lead to a one-goal difference.
Then, Nikita Kucherov made a costly mistake by holding Dmitry Orlov with 10:14 left in the third. With the Capitals power play expiring, Alex Ovechkin received a perfect pass from Orlov to one-time a rocket in signature fashion to tie the score at 3-3.
Things wouldn’t get better for the Lightning in overtime. The Bolts got some good chances on the net but eventually, Orlov took control of the puck and instead of passing it to Tom Wilson, shot a perfect pass that fooled Vasilevskiy with 1:57 left in overtime.
This one was was extremely frustrating, as the Lightning played a good game for two periods. However, penalties and turnovers once again showed up when it mattered the most.
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The Lightning only converted on one of their four Power Plays. On the other hand, Washington scored on both of their Power Play attempts. The Lightning look to have a quick turnaround as they face the Carolina Hurricanes at Amalie Arena Friday night.