If the 2018 Prospects Showcase is meant to be a learning experience for players hoping one day to become NHLers, the Tampa Bay Lightning found out they have a lot of room for growth and development.
The Lightning prospects were blanked by the Washington Capitals 5-0 Monday at Germain Arena in Estero in their second of two games at the Showcase. The Bolts finished the Showcase 0-2 following a 5-3 defeat at the hands of Nashville on Sunday.
"It's a tough lesson to learn today because when you're losing 5-0, you're not close," Lightning prospects head coach Benoit Groulx said. "It's a tough lesson to learn today, but it's for us to use those two games to get better and learn and prepare better for what's ahead of us."
The Capitals scored 42 seconds into the game, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby converting a 2-on-1 following a turnover deep in the Lightning zone.
"(Washington) came out hard and they took an early lead and it changed the dynamic of the game," Groulx said. "We weren't ready for that. We had a rough start, credit to them. They deserved it."
Washington converted a power play at 7:15 of the opening period, Riley Sutter redirecting a puck on the back post past Lightning goaltender Connor Ingram.
The Capitals added another power-play tally on Shane Gersich's goal at 5:36 of the second period. Washington finished the day 2-for-4 on the power play.
"I thought (the Caps) played as a team today," Lightning forward Boris Katchouk said. "They were passing to each other well. They knew where each other were going. And their power play was capitalizing on their chances and that's pretty huge in a game. Special teams was in their favor today, not ours."
Washington added to its lead in the third on Beck Malenstyn's goal from the slot at 5:30 of the third period. Ingram blocked the initial shot but not enough to prevent it from trickling over the goal line.
"We had hope at one point, it's 3-0 in the third so you're looking to get a goal and you're looking to make the game interesting," Groulx said. "Obviously, they got the fourth goal so it kind of sealed the deal. It's for us after to keep playing. You're here and you're in a training camp and you want to prove a point that you're a good hockey player, so you've got to keep playing. I think we battled hard to the end, but that was not a good day for us in terms of making plays, moving pucks, pucks were bouncing over our stick, the pass was behind or too far ahead."
Kody Clark scored the final goal for the Caps at 9:37 of the final period. Washington outshot the Lightning 25-21. Ingram made 20-of-25 saves in the loss. Washington goalie Ilya Samsonov made all 21 saves to earn the shutout win.
The Lightning were outscored 10-3 over the two games of the Showcase. Taylor Raddysh (2 goals) and Katchouk (2 assists) finished as the Bolts' scoring leaders. Erik Cernak provided the third tally for the Bolts.