For the first time in 2011, the Washington Capitals are in first place in the Southeast Division. But to keep it, they will have to hold off the team that has kept them at bay (no pun intended) for months: the Tampa Bay Lightning. On Monday, the Caps and Bolts will meet again with the winner taking control of the division.
Washington is in the midst of a four-game winning streak, its first since November 24-December 1. Alexander Semin helped push the streak to four by scoring the game-winning goal in a 3-2 overtime win over the Florida Panthers Sunday. The Caps' winning streak, coinciding with Tampa Bay's three-game losing streak, put them in first place in the Southeast Division for the first time since December 31.
The Lightning have scored just four goals during their three-game skid. All three have come in regulation, which hasn't happened since November 11-14. Meanwhile, the Caps' last seven wins have come by one goal. Perhaps playing the Lightning will change that; the Caps have outscored them 17-5 in their three wins this season.