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game recap

Lightning end 12-game drought vs. Caps with 7-4 win

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:15 AM

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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Lightning end 12-game drought vs. Caps with 7-4 win
Washington Capitals 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 7

To the Tampa Bay Lightning, 12 -- as in consecutive losses to the Washington Capitals -- was more than enough.

The Lightning beat their Southeast Division rivals for the first time since Nov. 16, 2007, by outscoring the Caps 7-4 on Tuesday night. TampaBay jumped on Washington for four first-period goals, saw Washington score three times in the second period to get even, but went in front to stay on Martin St. Louis' goal with 2:22 left in the period.

Third-period goals by Kurtis Foster and Jeff Halpern put the game away.

"It was big -- we obviously haven't had a lot of success against these guys," said TampaBay's Steven Stamkos, who scored two power-play goals in the big first period. "It was a good effort by us tonight. They're a pretty potent offensive team. The guys did an excellent job of refocusing after they tied it up.

"It's a big confidence booster. It shows we're in it for the long run."

Vincent Lecavalier and Stamkos put the Lightning up 2-0 midway through the first. After Alexander Semin scored at 14:05, TampaBay went up 4-1 when Stamkos got his 25th goal of the season and Stephane Veilleux scored his first goal in 23 games late in the period.

But Mike Green had two power-play goals in the second, including one that tied it at 4-4 at 12:08. Eric Fehr also scored during the second.

However, St. Louis' 250th career goal put TampaBay up 5-4 lead with 2:32 left in the second. The right wing extended his point streak to 11 games.

The victory moved Tampa within two points of eighth-place Ottawa in the tightly packed Eastern Conference race -- just eight points separate fifth-place Boston from 13th-place Florida.

"Every game is important for us," said Stamkos, the No. 1 pick in the 2008 Entry Draft who has surpassed his rookie production with 25 goals. "The Eastern Conference is so tight that we can't afford to lose lots of games, especially against this team."

Though they overcame the early deficit, the Caps and coach Bruce Boudreau were very displeased with their play in the first 20 minutes.

"The last two games, in the first period were weren't ready to play," Boudreau said. "That's got to be my fault. These guys have to come prepared.

"It's difficult to come back when a team gets a 4-1 lead on you in the first period."

Added defenseman Brian Pothier: "For whatever reason, we were napping in the first. We were frustrated because we weren't getting anything done."

Washington captain Alex Ovechkin was more succinct.

"We weren't ready to play," he said. "We tried to be too casual, too cute, and it cost us four goals."

Ovechkin was at the center of a third-period imbroglio after being accused of a dirty hit by TampaBay's Steve Downie with six minutes left to play. The two were ready to fight when Matt Bradley jumped in and fought Downie instead.

"You don't let a guy like that go after your best player, and he's our best player," said Bradley, who was ejected for coming off the bench but said afterward that he had replaced Fehr on a change. "We can't have that happen."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

scoring summary
1st Period
06:34
TBL
Vincent Lecavalier (11) Wrist shot - ASST: Alex Tanguay (17)
1 - 0 TBL
12:03
TBL
PPG - Steven Stamkos (24) Backhand shot - ASST: Brandon Bochenski (2), Kurtis Foster (12)
2 - 0 TBL
14:05
WSH
Alexander Semin (19) Slapshot - ASST: Tomas Fleischmann (14), Jeff Schultz (12)
2 - 1 TBL
17:28
TBL
PPG - Steven Stamkos (25) Wrist shot - ASST: Brandon Bochenski (3), Martin St. Louis (39)
3 - 1 TBL
18:35
TBL
Stephane Veilleux (2) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE
4 - 1 TBL
2nd Period
01:34
WSH
PPG - Mike Green (11) Backhand shot - ASST: Alexander Semin (20), Alex Ovechkin (28)
4 - 2 TBL
07:44
WSH
Eric Fehr (11) Snap shot - ASST: Brendan Morrison (17), Jason Chimera (11)
4 - 3 TBL
12:08
WSH
PPG - Mike Green (12) Wrist shot - ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (33), Alex Ovechkin (29)
4 - 4 Tie
17:28
TBL
PPG - Martin St. Louis (12) Slapshot - ASST: Steven Stamkos (22), Brandon Bochenski (4)
5 - 4 TBL
3rd Period
04:00
TBL
Kurtis Foster (7) Slapshot - ASST: Victor Hedman (10), Martin St. Louis (40)
6 - 4 TBL
09:54
TBL
PPG - Jeff Halpern (8) Wrist shot - ASST: Vincent Lecavalier (31), Alex Tanguay (18)
7 - 4 TBL
penalty summary
1st Period
10:39
WSH
Brooks Laich  Interference on goalkeeper against  Mike Smith
15:44
WSH
Tom Poti  Cross checking against  James Wright
2nd Period
00:34
TBL
Steve Downie  Slashing against  Nicklas Backstrom
11:03
TBL
Victor Hedman  Holding against  David Steckel
16:13
WSH
Brooks Laich  Tripping against  Stephane Veilleux
20:00
WSH
Jason Chimera  Hooking against  Andrej Meszaros
3rd Period
05:17
WSH
Nicklas Backstrom  Cross checking against  Zenon Konopka
08:12
WSH
Nicklas Backstrom  Boarding against  Steve Downie
11:51
WSH
Alex Ovechkin  Roughing against  Steve Downie
11:51
TBL
Steve Downie  Roughing against  Alex Ovechkin
14:00
TBL
Steve Downie  Misconduct (10 min)
14:00
TBL
Steve Downie  Fighting (maj) against  Matt Bradley
14:00
WSH
Matt Bradley  Misconduct (10 min)
14:00
WSH
Alex Ovechkin  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Steve Downie
14:00
TBL
Steve Downie  Hooking against  Alex Ovechkin
14:00
WSH
Matt Bradley  Fighting (maj) against  Steve Downie
14:00
WSH
Matt Bradley  Instigator against  Steve Downie
16:17
WSH
David Steckel  Fighting (maj) against  Zenon Konopka
16:17
TBL
Zenon Konopka  Fighting (maj) against  David Steckel
16:50
TBL
Andrej Meszaros  Hooking against  Eric Fehr
18:26
TBL
Mattias Ohlund  Hi-sticking against  Nicklas Backstrom
19:23
WSH
Alex Ovechkin  Slashing against  Victor Hedman
goalie stats
Michal Neuvirth
SA: 15TOI: 20:00
Saves: 11EV: 6 - 8
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 7
SV%: .733SH: 0 - 0
Jose Theodore
SA: 21TOI: 39:57
Saves: 18EV: 7 - 8
PIM: 0PP: 11 - 13
SV%: .857SH: 0 - 0
Antero Niittymaki
SA: 24TOI: 33:06
Saves: 22EV: 13 - 14
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 8
SV%: .917SH: 2 - 2
Mike Smith
SA: 12TOI: 26:36
Saves: 10EV: 7 - 8
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 4
SV%: .833SH: 0 - 0