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game recap

Walker's pair helps Caps top Lightning 5-4

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:14 AM

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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Walker's pair helps Caps top Lightning 5-4
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Washington Capitals 5

Talk about making a good first impression.

One day after being acquired from Carolina for his grit and physicality, Scott Walker showed he can also put the puck in the net by scoring twice in a 2:58 span in the third period to give the Washington Capitals a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The 37-year-old Walker said he was only trying to fit in after coming from the 14th-place team in the East to the top team in the overall standings.

"I was nervous, probably didn't get a good pregame nap, and I was just trying to play and fit in," Walker said. "They're playing so good, you just don't want to disrupt them."

Walker broke a 4-4 tie when he dove to knock in a rebound with 6:51 remaining. That came less than three minutes after scored his first goal as a Capital 10:11 into the third period to give Washington a 4-2 advantage -- only to see the Lightning pull even on goals by Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos.

"His history has been -- in the right place at the right time," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said of Walker, who had scored just three times this season for Carolina.

Walker, fellow ex-Hurricane Joe Corvo and center Eric Belanger all made their debuts with the Caps after coming to the team at the trade deadline on Wednesday and helped the Capitals win their 12th in a row at the Verizon Center..

"We've thrown a completely different system at these guys. I know it's said a lot, but they're going 'Whoa, we've never played like that," Boudreau said. "It's a lot to get in the head and understand, and I thought they picked it up well."

It was a frustrating night for the Lightning, which lost its fifth in a row and has allowed at least five goals in all five games.

"I don't know, I really don't know," coach Rick Tocchet said. "You've got to block a shot or dive to get the puck out of your own end. Bite the puck to get it out of your own end. We need those types of players. There are five or six guys that are costing us right now."

After Washington's Eric Fehr and TampaBay's Scott Downie scored in the first period, Washington took a 3-1 lead early in the second on a pair of goals by Mike Knuble. Lecavalier made it 3-2 with a power-play goal at 9:21, but the Caps survived three consecutive penalties late in the period to keep the lead, thanks to some heroics by center Nicklas Backstrom.

With his team playing 3-on-4, Backstrom blocked two shots without his stick and earned a standing ovation. The defensive plays seemed to give Washington a lift, and the Capitals killed all three penalties to hold onto their lead.

"(Boudreau) put me in there and I wanted to do a good job," said Backstrom, who's better known as one of the NHL's top playmaking centers. "Obviously you've got to block shots if you're on the penalty kill."

The Lightning refused to fold after Walker's first goal restored Washington's two-goal advantage. Lecavalier scored on a breakaway 24 second after Walker scored, and Stamkos tied it with his 38th of the season at 12:28.

The tie lasted just 41 seconds before Walker came through again for his new team.

"You've got to play that hard style within the system. Now I've just got to make sure the system I've got in there naturally is this system and not Carolina's," Walker said. "There's a few tweaks here and there, but playing on the ice, putting five guys on five, it's simple. You get the puck and you move on into their end."

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

scoring summary
1st Period
06:10
WSH
Eric Fehr (16) Snap shot - ASST: NONE
1 - 0 WSH
11:55
TBL
PPG - Steve Downie (16) Tip-in - ASST: Kurtis Foster (22), Martin St. Louis (51)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
02:17
WSH
Mike Knuble (24) Wrist shot - ASST: Brooks Laich (27), Brendan Morrison (24)
2 - 1 WSH
08:21
WSH
Mike Knuble (25) Wrist shot - ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (51), Alex Ovechkin (48)
3 - 1 WSH
09:03
TBL
PPG - Vincent Lecavalier (16) Wrist shot - ASST: Martin St. Louis (52), Kurtis Foster (23)
3 - 2 WSH
3rd Period
10:11
WSH
Scott Walker (4) Backhand shot - ASST: Mike Green (47), Boyd Gordon (5)
4 - 2 WSH
10:35
TBL
Vincent Lecavalier (17) Wrist shot - ASST: Teddy Purcell (4), Andrej Meszaros (7)
4 - 3 WSH
12:28
TBL
Steven Stamkos (38) Wrist shot - ASST: Mattias Ohlund (13), Martin St. Louis (53)
4 - 4 Tie
13:09
WSH
Scott Walker (5) Backhand shot - ASST: Mike Green (48), Jason Chimera (16)
5 - 4 WSH
penalty summary
1st Period
07:26
TBL
Kurtis Foster  Tripping against  Mike Knuble
11:45
WSH
Mike Knuble  Hooking against  Todd Fedoruk
12:29
TBL
Mark Parrish  Hooking against  Alexander Semin
2nd Period
05:10
WSH
Nicklas Backstrom  Tripping against  Victor Hedman
08:38
WSH
Jeff Schultz  Interference against  Zenon Konopka
13:08
WSH
Mike Green  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Victor Hedman
13:08
TBL
Victor Hedman  Hooking against  Mike Green
13:14
WSH
Brooks Laich  Hi-sticking against  Mike Lundin
14:04
WSH
Tom Poti  Hi-sticking against  Kurtis Foster
3rd Period
19:48
TBL
Steven Stamkos  Hooking against  Alex Ovechkin
goalie stats
Mike Smith
Mike Smith
10-15-6
SA: 34TOI: 59:33
Saves: 29EV: 25 - 30
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 4
SV%: .853SH: 0 - 0
Semyon Varlamov
SA: 29TOI: 60:00
Saves: 25EV: 19 - 21
PIM: 0PP: 6 - 8
SV%: .862SH: 0 - 0