Capitals Vs. Lightning: Braden Holtby, Alexander Semin Push Caps To 2-1 Shootout Victory

The Caps kept the Lightning at bay (no pun intended) and came back from an early deficit to win their fifth straight and hold onto their Southeast Division lead.

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Capitals Vs. Lightning: Nicklas Backstrom, Michal Neuvirth Are Both Okay After Respective Injuries

During the Washington Capitals' 2-1 shootout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, both Michal Neuvirth and Nicklas Backstrom left the game with respective injuries. After the game, head coach Bruce Boudreau provided updates on their statuses and both will be alright.

Boudreau said part of the metal from the mask went into Neuvirth's eye after that first shot. They got it out thou. "He’s going to be Ok."less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

First, Neuvirth did not return after taking a Nate Thompson shot in the mask within the first minute of the game. Neuvirth took a minute to compose himself, but finished the first period. In the second period, however, Braden Holtby would fill in as Neuvirth watched from the bench.

Backstrom fell on his left hand/fractured thumb, Boudreau said he's going to be ok and that he wanted to come back vs Lightning. #Capsless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

Backstrom would leave the game in the second period and did not return. Backstrom suffered a fractured thumb February 21 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but has played through the injury. He has yet to miss a game in his NHL career.

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Capitals Vs. Lightning: Braden Holtby, Alexander Semin Lead Caps To 2-1 Shootout Victory Over Lightning

Entering Monday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Washington Capitals were in first place in the Southeast Division for the first time in 2011. After Monday's game, the Caps still are.

Alexander Semin's timely goal late in the third period and Braden Holtby's excellent goaltending in a relief appearance pushed the Caps to a 2-1 shootout victory over the Lightning in yet another comeback.

After Sean Bergenheim deflected in a Martin St. Louis shot to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 12:30 of the first period, the Caps would keep them at bay (no pun intended). Michal Neuvirth started the game in net, but he took a Nate Thompson wrist shot off of his mask within the first minute. Despite finishing the period, Neuvirth would take a seat on the bench after the first intermission. Holtby did just fine, making 21 saves, including a dazzling stop on Simon Gagne with his stick paddle.

Neuvirth wasn't the only Cap to leave the game. Nicklas Backstrom left the game in the second period and did not return. There is no official word on his status.

For two periods, the Caps could not solve Dwayne Roloson, who already had two shutout victories over them this season. Yet, with about five minutes left, Semin figured him out by firing a wicked wrist shot through Brett Clark and past Roloson to tie the game at 1-1.

In overtime, Washington would fire 10 shots on Roloson, with many of them coming on a 4-on-3 power play when Pavel Kubina hooked Brooks Laich. Both Alex Ovechkin and Laich found themselves with great scoring chances in the extra session, but could not capitalize.

Ovechkin, however, would make up for it by scoring the lone shootout goal. Holtby would stop Dominic Moore, Adam Hall and Vincent Lecavalier to seal the win for Washington.

The Caps have won five straight for the first time since October 30-November 9. Washington also won its NHL-leading 20th game when trailing first and is the only team in the NHL with an over-.500 record when trailing first. With a two-point lead in the Southeast Division, the Caps return home to face the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday.

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Capitals Vs. Lightning: Braden Holtby Relieves Michal Neuvirth, Keeps Caps In 1-0 Game With Lightning After Second Period

There wasn't any scoring in the second period between the Capitals and Lightning, but there was a shake-up in net. Tampa Bay leads Washington 1-0 after 40 minutes.

Braden Holtby would start the second period in relief of Michal Neuvirth, who took a Nate Thompson shot off of his mask within the first minute of the game. Despite finishing the rest of the period, Neuvirth would take a seat on the bench before the second period got underway. Holtby made 14 saves, including an highlight reel-worthy save on Simon Gagne that saw him stop the puck with his stick paddle.

Washington had 10 shots on goal, but have yet to solve Dwayne Roloson, who already has two shutouts against the Caps this season.

On a correction from the first period, the Lightning's first goal has been changed from Martin St. Louis to Sean Bergenheim.

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Capitals Vs. Lightning: Martin St. Louis' Goal Gives Lightning 1-0 Lead Over Caps After First Period

It might be time for yet another comeback.

Martin St. Louis' power play goal has given the Tampa Bay Lightning a 1-0 lead over the Washington Capitals after the first period.

With Matt Hendricks in the penalty box for slashing, it didn't take long for the Lightning to score. Vincent Lecavalier beat Brooks Laich on the faceoff and sent the puck back to St. Louis, who would corral the puck at the right point and throw it on net. A heavily-screened Michal Neuvirth couldn't find the puck and the Lightning took a 1-0 lead just four seconds into their second power play at 12:30.

The Caps would have a late power play chance, but with five seconds left in the period, Alex Ovechkin would attempt to dump the puck in from the defensive zone. The puck cleared the length of the ice and hit the netting behind Dwayne Roloson, which sent Ovechkin to the penalty box with a delay-of-game penalty.

Shots are 7-7 and Nate Thompson has four of them for Tampa Bay. Thompson accounted for the Lightning's first four shots of the game and even broke Neuvirth's mask with one.

The Caps lead the NHL with 19 wins when trailing first, so this is familiar territory for them.

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Capitals Vs. Lightning: Starting Lineup

Via Mike Vogel, here is tonight's starting lineup for the Washington Capitals as they prepare to face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum. First place in the Southeast Division is at stake with the winner of tonight's game taking control of first place.

As noted here earlier Schultz for Sloan, otherwise same lineup as in FLA: 8-19-22, 21-44-28, 25-90-18, 26-15-10. D: 27-74, 55-23, 6-4. G: 30less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

As Vogel notes, the lineup is pretty much identical to the one used during Sunday's 3-2 overtime win over the Florida Panthers. The difference is that Jeff Schultz will replace Tyler Sloan on defense.

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Capitals Vs. Lightning: Caps Look To Hold Onto First Place In Division Against Lightning

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.

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