Lightning Strikes - Steven Stamkos' goal with 14.2 seconds left in overtime snapped a 1-1 tie and lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 win over the Caps in a spirited Saturday night contest. Two of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference over the past several seasons went at it for nearly 65 minutes, and both sides were pleased with their play.
For almost 65 minutes on Saturday night in Washington, the Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning hooked up in a compelling contest that had as many goals disallowed as were scored. But in the waning seconds of overtime - and just after the Caps weren't able to take advantage of power play in the extra session - the visiting Lightning forged a 2-1 victory on Steven Stamkos' goal with 14.2 seconds left.
Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance - For the entirety of the truncated 2020-21 season, plus the 2021 preseason and the '21-22 season opener against the New York Rangers, the Caps have played all of their games against just seven different opponents. Including the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs in the Toronto bubble, the Caps have played a stretch of 75 straight games against those same seven foes.
Nights Like These - On Wednesday night in D.C., the Caps opened their 82-game regular season - and a three-game homestand - with a memorable and resounding 5-1 victory over the visiting New York Rangers.
Just over a year shy of its 25th birthday, the big barn on F St. has seen its share of sorrowful and joyful nights over its lifespan. Wednesday's Capitals season opener against the New York Rangers fell firmly into the latter category.
When the Capitals opened up their pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season some nine months ago, they did so under some trying circumstances - as did every NHL team - but the Caps' situation was slightly more complicated because of having a new face behind the team's bench. Washington coach Peter Laviolette was hired roughly four months earlier - in September of 2020 - at a time when no one knew when or even if the '20-21 campaign would get underway.
Back In The Saddle Again - Last season, NHL arenas were bereft of that palpable pregame buzz in the moments between the end of warmups and the dropping of the puck. Once the games got underway, it was more of the same. Buildings were eerily quiet aside from the sounds of the game itself, the bodies and pucks and sticks and skates, the hollers and the whistles.
Throughout their 2021 training camp, the Caps have been adjusting to life without Nicklas Backstrom. Now down to the final hours of that camp and with Wednesday's season opener looming on the horizon, the team took the ice for a Sunday morning practice session without both Backstrom and captain Alex Ovechkin.