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Caps visit Bolts with first place on the line

by Brian Compton /
CAPITALS (24-12-7) at LIGHTNING (25-13-5)

TV: NHL Network-U.S., CSN-DC, Sunshine Network.

Last 10: Washington 6-1-3; Tampa Bay 6-3-1.

Season Series: This is the fourth of six meetings between the Southeast Division rivals. Washington is 2-0-1 against the Bolts this season. Tampa Bay won the most recent meeting, a 1-0 overtime victory last Tuesday at the Verizon Center. Dwayne Roloson made 34 saves in his Lightning debut to earn the shutout.

Big Story: First place is on the line in this one, as Washington earned a share of the division lead Tuesday night in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers. Both teams now have 55 points, although the Lightning have one more victory.

Team Scope:

Capitals: Marcus Johansson scored twice and Mike Knuble also scored, but Washington surrendered three power-play goals and went 0-for-5 with the man advantage en route to a disappointing loss at Florida on Tuesday night. Michal Neuvirth had 37 saves.

"If we're going to look this lethargic on the power play, that's where we are losing games," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's not 5-on-5, it's not the penalty killing, it's the power play. I keep putting the same guys out thinking eventually it's going to turn around, but it's not. We're going to have to do something to shake the power play up."

Lightning: Tampa Bay is also coming off a disappointing loss, as it suffered a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the New Jersey Devils on Sunday at the Prudential Center. Teddy Purcell, Ryan Malone and Dominic Moore tallied for Tampa Bay, which is 7-3-1 in its last 11 games.

"You've got to be a disciplined team, especially in the third period, and I don't just mean with penalties, I mean structurally, turnovers, little things that get you wins we got away from in the third period," Lightning defenseman Randy Jones said. "I'd say it snowballed and we all know the end result."

Who's Hot: Johansson's goals on Tuesday night were his fourth and fifth of the season. … Steven Stamkos leads the Lightning with 31 goals in 43 games.

Injury Report: Caps forward Alexander Semin (lower body) is day-to-day, while Matt Bradley (broken finger) and Boyd Gordon (toe) are out. … Lightning goalie Mike Smith is out with a knee injury. Sean Bergenheim (upper body) is day-to-day.

Stat Pack: Washington has scored only eight times in its last 72 power-play opportunities. … Lightning winger Steve Downie tallied his first point since Nov. 30 with an assist on the team's opening goal at New Jersey.

Puck Drop: "If it wasn't for him in the first period, it would have been 5-0. He stole a point for us." -- Caps coach Bruce Boudreau on Michal Neuvirth's performance Tuesday night
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