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Game 66: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals

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The Tampa Bay Lightning lost 2-1 to the Washington Capitals in shootout. Tonight's loss finished the season series between the Bolts and Caps, totaling a 2-3-1 record against the Caps this season.

There were too many good reasons to win. There's the uncomfortable Southeast division ranking, Bruce Boudreau's ridiculous pre-game comments, February's embarrassing 5-2 loss to Washington; and outside of the Capitals, the Bolts are grappling with a losing streak during the most important stretch of the year.

But worse than the loss is having almost won. Vincent Lecavalier's disallowed goal in the third period would have been the game changer; it would have given the Lightning the 2-0 lead. But disallowed, the goal was scratched after an interference from Martin St. Louis.

It was a pretty ridiculous failure on the part of the on-ice officials, who missed the tripping completely. "I don't know," said Marty afterwards. "I got tripped. I didn't feel like I was going at the goalie. I got tripped and I ended up in the crease."

Disappointing for one, it was a goal, as Boucher noticed afterwards. The set up, the shot, everything was right. The Lightning scored. But because of an oversight, the Lightning missed the goal that could have saved the game. 

Disappointing, too, is the four-game losing streak, despite all the positives of the Bolt's recent play. The Bolts have played complete hockey time and time again, aided with excellent goaltending, but regardless are settling into the second space in the Division, having also fallen to fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Follow the jump for the full recap.

As for the game, stick-tap to Nate Thompson for getting the effort going against the Caps, with four shots in the first six minutes of play. From Thompson and others, there wasn't any waiting to get into the game. They played to their strength of starting strong, and took the early lead.

The Bolts found the net on the power play twelve minutes into the period. Coming off the faceoff win, Steven Stamkos dropped the puck to St. Louis at the blue line, who took a clean shot against Cap's youth goaltender, Michal Neuvirth. The shot was tipped in by Sean Bergenheim, and the Lightning took the 1-0 lead.

"For the most part, I thought we came to war," Nate Thompson said afterwards.

The second period started on a 4-on-4, with penalties at the end of the first to Mattias Ohlund and Alexander Ovechkin. The Lightning were unable to do anything on the scoreboard, despite four shots in the first 3 minutes of play, including a nice play by Vinny and Simon Gagne.

Leave it to the Capitals to wake up halfway through the game. The Lightning were leading 9-3 in shots through the ten minutes of the second period alone, but following the Cap's power play from Victor Hedman's elbowing penalty, Washington found their energy and finished the period behind the Lightning shots on goal by only four.

The Lightning played strong through the third, and looked like they were going to take the lead with Vinny's disallowed goal, but instead, the Capitals evened the score at one when Alexander Semin railed the puck past Roloson from the left side of the ice.

In overtime, Roloson shined, blocking 10 shots from Washington, but in shootout Alex Ovechkin scored the lone goal to finish the game at 2-1.

"It was a hard fought game by both teams," said Vinny, "and it didn't go our way."

Up Next: The Bolts will face the Chicago Blackhawks at home on Wednesday, March 9th at 7:30 PM. Game thread opens at 7:00, so stop by and give us a hello! 

Other Recaps: 

Capitals vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]

Capitals vs Lightning recap [TSN]

Capitals vs Lightning boxscore [TSN]

Jasper's Rink [SB Nation]

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