GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (27-16-6-3) at Washington Capitals (16-30-5-2).
TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST.
The Tampa Bay Lightning look like a lock for a division crown and home-ice
advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The Lightning will look to extend their winning streak to seven games when
they travel to Washington to face the lowly Capitals.
Tampa Bay has just one loss in regulation in its last 14 games (11-1-0-2).
The Lightning kept their win streak going with an impressive 2-1 road win over
Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia on Monday.
"Right now we are playing confident hockey," said Lightning defenseman
Pavel Kubina, who scored once. "Our special teams are working. So is our power
play and penalty killing. We showed it tonight."
The win pushed the Lightning's Southeast Division lead to 13 points over
Atlanta. If the regular season ended today, Tampa Bay would be the only team
from its division to qualify for the playoffs.
With an assist Monday, Martin St. Louis extended his point streak to 10
games, during which he has nine goals and nine assists.
Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin took the next step toward taking back the No.
1 spot from John Grahame by stopping 17 shots in the win.
Khabibulin, who started just six of the Lightning's 16 games in January, has
won his last two starts, allowing two goals on 33 shots.
"Nick needs to be a big part of this success as we go down the stretch,"
Lightning coach John Tortorella said.
The Capitals are coming off a 6-1 loss to Vancouver on Saturday, which ended
their modest two-game winning streak. The Canucks took 40 shots and scored four
"We feel that we have enough to be competitive if we play with structure
and pursue pucks," Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. "We didn't get that
As has been the case all season, Robert Lang was the lone bright spot for
Washington. He scored his 25th goal.
The Capitals are 18 points behind the eighth-place New York Islanders in the