The Washington Capitals are surging in a big way. Just a week and half ago, the Caps sat 5 points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Southeast Division. Tonight, the defeat the Lightning in a shootout, gaining a stand point and taking a 2 point division lead.
The Caps did it in their typical fashion the last few games. They headed into the third operand, staring a small deficit and a big zero on the scoreboard. And just like last game, the Caps counted on Alexander Semin, who scored the equalizer at the 14:28 mark of the third period to tie it 1-1 and lead to eventual overtime. It was Semin's 24th goal of the season. It was worthy as well since Semin put together a very impressive game from start to finish. The Semin goal was assisted by Alex Ovechkin and Dennis Wideman.
It was a costly victory for the Caps. Michal Neuvirth got nailed in the opening minute with a hard slap shot and a puck to he mask. He played out the first period, but turned the game over to a very impressive Braden Holtby. The Caps also lost Nicklas Backstrom, who suffered a bit more pain to his already injured thumb.
Holby made an impressive 21 saves out of 21 shots. That is an understatement to how Holtby really played. He was nothing short of absolutely terrific, making some super awesome saves. Holtby essentially kept the Caps in this game. Furthermore, his performance in the shootout was splendid. You got to admit, given his last shootout performance, you had to be a bit nervous. However, Holtby rose to the task, stopping all three Tampa shootout attempts to preserve the win for the Caps. Ovechkin landed the shootout tally for Washington.
The Caps improve to 37-20-10 with 84 points, moving into a tie with Boston and Pittsburgh and just 2 points behind division leading Philadelphia. The Caps have won 5 consecutive games and 7 of their last 8.