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game preview

Capitals at Lightning preview

Ovechkin trying to make history for Washington; Tampa Bay hoping to be tighter defensively

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

CAPITALS at LIGHTNING

7 p.m. ET; NBCSWA, SUN, NHL.TV

 

The Game

Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin will attempt to become the first NHL player with a hat trick in three consecutive games when the Washington Capitals play the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Monday.

Ovechkin scored three times against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday and had four goals against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

The record for goals by one player through the first three games of the season is nine, by Reg Noble of the Toronto Arenas and Joe Malone of the Montreal Canadiens in 1917-18, the first season of the NHL.

Ovechkin has one hat trick against the Lightning, a four-goal game Dec. 10, 2013. He has scored two goals in a game against the Lightning on eight other occasions.

The Lightning have allowed eight goals on 84 shots in its first two games.

Lightning center Steven Stamkos has four assists but no goals in his first two games.

 

Players to watch

Ovechkin has 83 points (41 goals, 42 assists) in 63 regular-season games against the Lightning. It's the second-most goals and points he has against any team in the NHL (45 goals, 88 points against Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets).

Brayden Point has five points (two goals, three assists) in two games. He has two assists in three career games against the Capitals.

 

They said it

"There are many challenges. I think [the Lightning] have great balance, especially at the forward position. They have three lines that are very capable of lighting it up offensively. And their back end has some size. [Victor] Hedman is one of the top defenseman in the NHL as everybody knows. They are active in the offensive zone." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz

"We looked a lot on ourselves, the way we've played the past two games. Too many turnovers, too many scoring chances-against off the rush. Giving teams way too much time with the puck in our end. We have to make sure the we have good gaps and play physical." -- Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman

 

Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Jakub Vrana

Andre Burakovsky -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Alex Chiasson

Nathan Walker -- Jay Beagle -- Devante Smith-Pelly

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- John Carlson

Aaron Ness -- Taylor Chorney

Philipp Grubauer

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Christian Djoos, Tom Wilson, Tyler Graovac

Injured: None

 

Lightning projected lineup

Vladislav Namestnikov -- Steven Stamkos -- Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Yanni Gourde

Alex Killorn -- Tyler Johnson -- Gabriel Dumont

Chris Kunitz -- Cedric Paquette -- Ryan Callahan

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Mikhail Sergachev -- Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn -- Dan Girardi

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Peter Budaj

Scratched: J.T. Brown, Slater Koekkoek, Andrej Sustr

Injured: Erik Condra (back)

 

Status report

Grubauer will make his first start of the season. ... The Lightning could go with seven defensemen as Koekkoek has yet to play. Dumont would be the likely scratch if that were the case. ... The Lightning assigned forward Michael Bournival to Syracuse of the American Hockey League.

 

Stat pack

The Lightning have scored nine goals in their first two games for the second consecutive season. ... The Capitals were 2-0-1 against the Lightning last season and are 19-5-4 against the Lightning since the 2010-11 season.

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