Johan Holmqvist and Marc Denis haven't been the answer in goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning's season-long road woes. Rookie Karri Ramo could be.
Tampa Bay (15-18-3) will try to improve upon the league's worst road record when it meets the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night in a matchup of the bottom two teams in the Southeast Division.
The Lightning have been very good at home, posting a 12-6-2 record and leading all Eastern Conference teams in home wins. However, their 3-12-1 road record is the league's worst. Tampa Bay started the season with seven straight road losses and comes into this game having dropped six of its last seven as a visitor.
One of the Lightning's rare road victories, though, was a 5-2 win over the Capitals on Nov. 10.
Holmqvist is 2-8-1 with a 4.16 goals-against average in 12 road starts this season, while Denis is 1-5-0 with a 4.05 GAA in 10 games including four starts. That could prompt Tampa Bay to give Ramo his third career start and first on the road Wednesday.
A sixth-round pick in the 2004 NHL draft, Ramo is 1-1-0 with a 1.51 GAA since being recalled from Norfolk of the AHL last Wednesday. He stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced Saturday, but Tampa Bay lost 4-1 at home to Carolina.
Martin St. Louis scored 23 seconds into the game for the Lightning, who allowed three third-period goals including two empty-netters.
"You've got a kid, who's playing (strong) in net, you've got young defensemen who are getting run all over the place by a quick Carolina team. I'm disappointed in the core," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. "I didn't like anything about our third period. That falls on the core. No one else. I'm totally disgusted as far as what happened there."
Washington (13-19-4) entered the holiday break on its second three-game losing streak under coach Bruce Boudreau, who had the 'interim' tag dropped from his title on Wednesday.
Since taking over for the fired Glen Hanlon following a 6-14-1 start, Boudreau has led the Capitals to a 7-5-3 mark.
Washington recorded at least a point for the sixth time in eight games Saturday, losing 3-2 to the New York Islanders.
"For some reason, we just didn't generate a whole lot of offense, judging by the shot total," Matt Pettinger said after the Capitals failed to record a shot in overtime and just 16 overall. "If you look at the positive, we got a point out of it. We could have gotten nothing."
This game is a matchup of former top overall draft picks in Washington's Alexander Ovechkin and league scoring leader Vincent Lecavalier of Tampa Bay.
Ovechkin, who will play his 200th career game, is tied with Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg for second in the league with 25 goals. Ovechkin also has points in nine of 10 career home games against Tampa Bay, totaling six goals and seven assists.
The top overall pick in 2004 by Washington, Ovechkin has three goals and two assists in four games versus the Lightning this season.
Lecavalier, selected first overall by Tampa Bay in 1998, has 23 goals and 30 assists this season. He's registered multipoint games in each of his last three visits to Washington with two goals and five assists overall. He has 10 goals and 10 assists in 24 career road games versus the Capitals.