In Tampa Bay’s last home game of the season, the fans at Pete Times didn’t have too much to cheer about–except for their star rookie breaking the franchise record for most goals by a rookie. Just 30 seconds into the game Steven Stamkos capitalized on an odd-man rush to give the Lightning the early lead.
Halfway through the 1st period the Caps struck back. Brooks Laich got a feed in front from Nicklas Backstrom, and was able to put his own rebound in the net. The game was tied heading into the locker room.
The 2nd period the Caps started to pick it up and play like the 2nd place team in the East. Laich scored his second of the game 5 minutes in by roofing the puck from the slot. He has definitely been stepping his game up in preparation for playoffs.
Keith Aucoin, Matt Bradley, and David Steckel had some nice movement on the rush to give Steckel his 8th on the season under a minute later. The Caps pretty much dominated the rest of the game despite a late surge from the Lightning. Mike Green got an empty-netter to ensure the Caps the victory, and 2nd place in the Eastern Conference.
Green had a goal and two assists, and Brooks Laich had his 3rd multi-point game in his has last four games. Tampa was held to zero goals on the powerplay with five opportunities. The Caps are 21-22 on the penalty kill in their last 4 games, but all of those games were against teams not in the playoffs.
Alex Ovechkin was held scoreless for his first time in 10 games. Unfortunately, Evegni Malkin had two assists last night and pulled up to 112 points to top Ovie’s 108 with only one game remaining in the season.
* Brooks Laich *
** Steven Stamkos **
*** Mike Green ***