Capitals Vs. Lightning: Lightning Strike Thrice, Defeat Caps 3-0 In Pivotal Southeast Division Game

Last week, the Lightning handed the Capitals a shutout loss in a meaningful game. This week, they did the same thing in a 3-0 win over the Caps. Discuss the game at Japers Rink.

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Capitals Vs. Lightning: Lightning Strike Thrice, Defeat Capitals 3-0 In Pivotal Southeast Division Game

Last week, the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning faced off with the Southeast Division on the line. In his first game with the Lightning after being traded from the New York Islanders, Dwayne Roloson shut out the Caps en route to giving Tampa Bay the Southeast Division lead.

One week later, it was the same result.

In his home debut, Dwayne Roloson shut out the Capitals once again, stopping 23 shots in a 3-0 win which gives the Lightning the division lead.

One night after coming back form a 3-0 deficit to force overtime against the Florida Panthers, the Capitals could not work that same magic. Washington failed to get any offensive flow, firing shots from the point that were standard saves for Roloson. The Capitals alsd had two power play chances, but Alex Ovechkin negated one of them quickly after taking a penalty in retaliation of a hit placed upon him.

Dominic Moore, Sean Bergenheim and Simon Gagne scored for the Lightning, who have defeated the Capitals by a combined score of 4-0 in their last two meetings. In the first two meetings, the Capitals outscored the Lightning 12-3 in two wins at Verizon Center.

Semyon Varlamov made 35 saves and single-handedly kept the Capitals within striking distance. Unfortunately, the Capitals failed to strike at all.

It was Washington's first regulation loss since December 18, which was the final game of their eight-game losing streak. The Capitals are now 6-1-3 in their last 10 games and will head home for two games this weekend, starting Friday when they host the NHL-best Vancouver Canucks at Verizon Center.

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Capitals Vs. Lightning: Simon Gagne Extends Lightning Lead To 3-0 After Two Periods

Tuesday night, the Capitals were down 3-0 before tying the game and losing in overtime. Perhaps a repeat performance is in order.

Simon Gagne's breakaway goal was the only offense in the second period as the Capitals trail the Lightning 3-0 after 40 minutes.

Gagne sprinted down the ice after a faceoff in the Lightning's defensive zone, got a step on two Capitals defensemen and put a top-shelf wrist shot over Semyon Varlamov at 18:18 to give Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead.

The Lightning outshot the Capitals 18-9 in the period and have a 32-18 advantage for the game.

Despite giving up a goal in the period, Varlamov has almost single-handedly kept the Caps in the game. There has yet to be any sustained offense for Washington.

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Capitals Vs. Lightning: Caps Face Another Uphill Battle, Trail Lightning 2-0 After First Period

The Washington Capitals were hoping not to fall behind early for the second straight night, but quite frankly, that didn't happen.

Dominic Moore and Sean Bergenheim both scored their eighth goals of the season to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-0 lead over the Caps after 20 minutes.

Moore gave the Lightning the early lead just 3:58 into the game on a nice sequence involving Nate Thompson. Thompson carried the puck from end to end and fired a shot on Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov bobbled the rebound and Moore was there to poke it in.

Bergenheim's goal was also the result of a juicy rebound. Varlamov stopped the initial shot from Victor Hedman. The rebound propelled off of Varlamov and bounced right to Bergenheim, who swiped the puck out of midair and into the net at 16:04.

Washington is being outshot 14-9 and failed to convert on two power plays. Alex Ovechkin has one shot on goal and his slashing penalty in retaliation of a hit negated the second power play chance.

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Capitals Vs. Lightning: Starting Lineup

Via Washington Post, below is tonight's starting lineup for the Washington Capitals as they prepare to face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble
Chimera-Johansson-Fehr
Laich-Perreault-Beagle
Hendricks-Steckel-Gordon

Defense
Hannan-Green
Alzner-Carlson
Schultz-Poti

Goal
Varlamov
Neuvirth

Scratches: John Erskine, Tyler Sloan and Alexander Semin.

With Boyd Gordon set to return to the lineup for the first time since December 12, the Capitals reassigned Brian Willsie to AHL Hershey. Willsie had one assist in about six minutes of ice time against the Florida Panthers Tuesday.

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Capitals Vs. Lightning: Caps Hope To Shock Lightning, Take Southeast Division Lead In The Process

The Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning met last Tuesday with the Southeast Division lead on the line. Tampa Bay escaped Verizon Center with a 1-0 overtime win, giving them a one-point lead in the division with one game in hand. One week later, the teams have played the same amount of games and have the same amount of points, making Wednesday's game even more important.

The Caps and Lightning are tied with 55 points, but Tampa Bay has the edge in the division standings because they have one more win than Washington. This is the fourth meeting between the two teams this season, but first at St. Pete Times Forum. Washington is 2-0-1 against Tampa Bay and has outscored them 12-4 despite last Tuesday's shutout.

Since their eight-game losing streak ended December 19, the Capitals have earned points in nine straight games (6-0-3). Tuesday's overtime loss to the Florida Panthers didn't come easy; the Caps trailed 3-0 in the second period before mounting a comeback that forced the game into overtime.

At this point last season, the Capitals already had a 14-point lead in the Southeast Division, but the Lightning are already looking to change that. Tampa Bay is 12-3-2 at home and has won six of seven in their home arena, but is also 6-3-1 in their last 10 games overall. Martin St. Louis told the press that the Lightning are treating Wednesday's game like a playoff game, so both teams know the importance of having any sort of wiggle room in the division.

Semyon Varlamov should get the start in net for the Capitals, while oft-injured Boyd Gordon expects to return to the lineup for the first time since December 12.

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