Game 79: Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Washington Capitals by a score of 4-2 Monday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

As Lightning fans look forward to 2012-13, it's appropriate that the festive send-off in the last home game of this season was due in large part to Dwayne Roloson, looking like it was the 2011 playoffs all over again, and Steven Stamkos, who is expected to be a force in the NHL for years to come. Roloson stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced, with often spectacular saves, against a hungry Washington team that is trying to fight their way into the playoffs.

"The whole idea was to put Roli in for our last game. I thought it was great we were playing Washington, reminiscent of what we did last year when they had a hard time with him. And I was hoping today he was going to get exactly that: one of those nights where he could remember. Hearing the people chanting for him at the end, I think that's a thank you for what he's done last year and his performance tonight." - Lightning head coach Guy Boucher

Meanwhile, Stamkos netted his 12th game-winning goal, which leads the NHL and extends the Lightning single season record. He has scored the game winner in all three of the Lightning's wins over Washington this season.

"He goes to the net, drives and pays the price. It's not just the skill; there's a willingness to do the dirty work around the net and along the boards where it hurts the most." - Boucher

There was little offense on display in the first period as both teams generated 12 shots between them and neither scored.

At 12:47 of the second, Alexander Semin scored on an assist from Mathieu Perreault.

About two minutes later, Roloson came up with one of his best saves of the night (and the season, for that matter) when he robbed Mike Green from in close with the glove to keep the score 1-0.

The Lightning would tie it up on a power play goal from Teddy Purcell at the 17:20 mark with assists from Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.

Less than half a minute later, they took the lead when Victor, Tom Pyatt...wait, yes, Victor Hedman scored, with help from Pyatt and Nate Thompson.

It was 2-1 Lightning entering the third.

Washington managed to tie the game at 16:43 of the third when Jason Chimera scored on an assist from Semin.

As it looked like the game was headed to overtime, Stamkos regained the lead for the Bolts, scoring at 18:57 with assists from Brett Clark and Brian Lee.

Stamkos scored again, his league leading 58th goal of the season, into an empty net with :02 remaining. Thompson and Eric Brewer assisted.

The Lightning will wrap up the 2011-12 campaign with a three-game road trip and will be in action again on Wednesday when they face off against the Montreal Canadiens.

Game notes:

  • The Lightning are 17-10-2 when tied after one period.
  • Tom Pyatt now has five goals in his last seven games.
  • Stamkos now has 31 points in his last 23 games.
  • The Bolts finished with a 25-14-2 record at home, which ties the team single season record for wins and marks the eight time in the last nine seasons they've posted a winning record at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
  • The Lightning honored Carol Whitmore as a Lightning Community Hero during the first period of tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals. Whitmore, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Community Coalition on Homelessness and Animal Network Inc. Throughout each of the Lightning’s 41 regular season home games, the Lightning honored a Community Hero and also awarded a $50,000 check to a non-profit charity of their choice. Over the course of the season, a total of $2,050,000 has been handed out to worthy community causes. Whitmore began her life in a troubled home, as both parents were alcoholics and incapable of raising her. She was abandoned at 15 years old and moved in with neighbors. Whitmore worked her way through high school and then nursing school by working nights at a local nursing home. After becoming a nurse, she began giving back to her community by co-founding the first AIDS clinic in Manatee County. Whitmore served on boards of organizations supporting children’s services, the county food bank, the Manatee Opportunity Council and families against drug abuse. She always tries to give a voice to those in the community who are voiceless: families affected by AIDS or drugs and addictions, children, low-income families and young people at risk of making poor life choices. One of her greatest attributes is her kind heart and willingness to assist people who are disadvantaged. Whitmore and her husband, who is a plastic surgeon, volunteer regularly at homeless shelters and with her assistance he performs reconstructive surgery on homeless people who never would be able to afford such surgeries. Whitmore also streamlined and greatly expanded a medical fund that provided services for indigent people at local hospitals, which enabled the less fortunate to get medical care. She also took a stance after learning that 1,500 healthy dogs and cats were euthanized last year and acts as a liaison between the Manatee County Animal Services and the Commission. Her goal is to secure adoptions for 90 percent of animals by the end of this year.