They got it. Washington went into Tampa Bay 6 points down in the Southeast Division facing the Southeast Division leader. The Capitals delivered, defeating the Lightning 5-2, behind a 36-25 shots on goal advantage.
The Game gave witness to the blooming rival between these two Southeast Division foes, giving witness to two fights in the first period, involving Matt Hendricks and Matt Bradley. Hendricks fight came after a Tampa Bay goal that gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead. Teddy Purcell put a blazing slap shot past Washington net minder Semyon Varlamov to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead. There after, Matt Hendrick interfered with Bolts goal Dwight Rolosen, causing Rolosen to throw a few punches with his glove and drew a penalty. That incident can be credited to Hendrick rattling Rolosen. A smart play and penalty take by Hendricks.
Soon after, in what was thought to be a Alex Ovechkin tip in from a rebound, was given credit to Nicklas Backstrom, his 13th goal of the season and tying the game up at 1-1 at the 9:09 mark. It was the first of two goals by Nick on the night. The Backstrom goal was assisted by Ovechkin and Mike Green. The first period ended with a 1-1 tie and a 17-6 Caps shot advantage.
The second period did not get any lighter. Both teams put together some intense play on ice. Brooks Laich gave the Caps the 2-1 lead on a back hand goal, a lead they would not give up. It was Laich's 10th of the season and first goal since January 16th and 2nd goal in last 19 games. The Laich goal was assisted by Jay Beagle and Mathieu Perreault. Perreault gets credit with an outstanding pass in front of the net that fed the Laich backhand. Washington jumped up to a 3-1 lead on a slap shot goal by Alex Ovechkin, his 20th of the year. It was just one of Ovechkin's 4 points on the night. Brett Clark scored on a top in with just 48 seconds left in the second period to pull the Lightning to with 1 at 3-2, Clark deflected in a shot by Teddy Purcell. The Caps and Lightning deadlocked at 10-10 on shots on net.
The Caps would score twice in the third period to put the lightning away. Backstrom scored his second goal of the game and his 14th of the season at the 14:14 mark to give the Caps the insurance goal and the 4-2 lead. Ovechkin and Jason Chimera were credited with the assist. Chimera would add his 8th goal of the season on the empty net. It was assisted by Ovechkin and Backstrom.
Varlamov earned the win, stopping 23 of 25 shots. Varly improves to 9-7-4 on the season.
Huge win by the Capitals tonight. The win gives the Caps 2 ever important standing points and pulls them to withing 3 points of Tamps, 69-66.
Nicklas Backstrom, 2 goals, 2 assists
Jason Chimera, 1 goal, 1 assist
Alex Ovechkin, 1 goal, 3 assists
DCPSR Player(s) of the Game:
Alex Ovechkin, 1 goal and 3 assists AND Nicklas Backstrom, 2 goals and 2 assist
Pittsburgh Penguins, 12:30PM, Sunday at Verizon Center