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
|Eric Fehr (16) ASST: NONE|
1 - 0 WSH
|PPG - Steve Downie (16) ASST: Kurtis Foster (22), Martin St. Louis (51)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Mike Knuble (24) ASST: Brooks Laich (27), Brendan Morrison (24)|
2 - 1 WSH
|Mike Knuble (25) ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (51), Alex Ovechkin (48)|
3 - 1 WSH
|PPG - Vincent Lecavalier (16) ASST: Martin St. Louis (52), Kurtis Foster (23)|
3 - 2 WSH
|Scott Walker (4) ASST: Mike Green (47), Boyd Gordon (5)|
4 - 2 WSH
|Vincent Lecavalier (17) ASST: Teddy Purcell (4), Andrej Meszaros (7)|
4 - 3 WSH
|Steven Stamkos (38) ASST: Mattias Ohlund (13), Martin St. Louis (53)|
4 - 4 Tie
|Scott Walker (5) ASST: Mike Green (48), Jason Chimera (16)|
5 - 4 WSH
|Kurtis Foster Tripping against Mike Knuble|
|Mike Knuble Hooking against Todd Fedoruk|
|Mark Parrish Hooking against Alexander Semin|
|Nicklas Backstrom Tripping against Victor Hedman|
|Jeff Schultz Interference against Zenon Konopka|
|Mike Green Unsportsmanlike conduct against Victor Hedman|
|Victor Hedman Hooking against Mike Green|
|Brooks Laich Hi-sticking against Mike Lundin|
|Tom Poti Hi-sticking against Kurtis Foster|
|Steven Stamkos Hooking against Alex Ovechkin|