The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Washington Capitals 4-3 in overtime at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Tuesday night.
As the Lightning return from the all-star break and resume the task of attempting to climb back into contention, their first order of business was to face off against the Southeast division-leading Washington Capitals. The game represented a key four point swing as the outcome would find the Lightning anywhere from seven to eleven points out of first place at the conclusion.
For their part, the Lightning are adapting a one-step-at-a-time approach to that task. Not just when it comes to the standings but within each individual game...like tonight.
"I kept saying on the bench, 'be in the moment, be in the moment; it's not what just happened, it's what we're gonna do next. We pushed, we didn't hold back. We weren't scared to lose; we were hungry to win. " - Lightning head coach Guy Boucher
Washington got on the board first, late in the first period. Following a Lightning turnover and after fanning on a forehand shot, Matt Hendricks spun around and surprised goaltender Mathieu Garon with a backhander to open the scoring at 16:55. Brooks Laich provided the assist.
About two minutes later at 18:50, Teddy Purcell tied the game on a wrist shot with assists from Steve Downie and Steven Stamkos.
At 1:05 of the second, the Lightning took the lead. Washington defender Roman Hamrlik tripped over Vincent Lecavalier's skate and fell down at the blue line which allowed Martin St. Louis to break free and beat Capitals goalie Tomas Vokoun through the five hole. Tom Pyatt and Brett Clark offered the helpers.
Nate Thompson pushed the lead to 3-1 when he beat Vokoun on a one-timer from Dominic Moore and JT Wyman at 10:59.
Washington narrowed the gap at 13:07, when Mathieu Perreault was credited with an unassisted goal that actually took a strange bounce off of Thompson's stick in front of Garon.
The Lightning held the 3-2 edge into the second intermission.
Washington tied the score at three at 5:53 of the thrid period when Troy Brouwer scored unassisted. The score remained tied at three at the end of regulation.
The Lightning gained the extra point when Stamkos scored on assists from St. Louis and Garon at 2:45 of overtime.
"They're a team fighting for every inch and every point. We're certainly not going to get any freebies from anybody. So right now for us, it's that straight line we're following and it's all about us doing what we need to do." - Boucher
The Lightning's next three games are all at home and they will be in action again when they host Winnipeg on Thursday.
- The 5-game winning streak is Tampa Bay's longest since winning eight straight playoff games during the 2010-11 postseason.
- Moore appeared in the 500th game of his NHL career.
- The Lightning honored John McDaniel as a Lightning Community Hero during the first period of tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals. McDaniel, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will contribute the money to his charity of choice, the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation.
Upon his retirement from active duty in the United States Army, McDaniel founded the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation in 2007 to provide access to world-class sporting events for our nation’s heroes injured in combat, specifically Purple Heart Medal recipients. McDaniel, equally passionate about both sports and serving members of the military, donated his own money to launch the initiative while stationed with Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. In just a few short years, the program has helped McDaniel provide several hundreds of wounded soldiers with Lightning season tickets and admission into various suite events. Along with his selfless dedication to service, McDaniel is considered a visionary by other members of the community for creating a foundation which is the first of its kind. A former youth hockey coach, he integrated his love for hockey and heroes by supporting the Lightning and their charities, which resonates throughout the entire Bay Area as an example for others to follow.
Carrie Esposito Selivanov the daughter of founder and broadcaster Phil Esposito and wife of former Ligtning forward Alex Selivanov passed away on Monday after battling an illness. Phil Esposito relased the following statement via the team:
"On behalf of Alex Selivanov, Carrie’s sisters Laurie and Cherise, and my wife Bridget, I’d like to thank everyone in the Tampa Bay community and in the hockey fraternity for their thoughts, prayers and well wishes as we grieve Carrie’s passing yesterday. We are shocked and saddened with her death but we will remember her for the energy and vigor that she brought to each day of her life. Our focus will now center on her sons Dylan, Nikko and Rocco."
Condolences for the family can be sent to: Phil Esposito, c/o Tampa Bay Lightning, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL 33602. The family has yet to determine where memorial donations should be made. More information will be forthcoming when available.