Thursday, March 4, 2010 11:25pm
By Joe Beninati
Throughout his pro career Scott Walker has been in the right place at the right time, and he sure was again in the third period this evening when the Caps needed a spark from their new teammates. Walker crashed the net two times for backhand goals in the final frame to help put away the pesky Tampa Bay Lightning.The home crowd at Verizon welcomed Walker, Joe Corvo, and Eric Belanger with open arms after they were acquired yesterday at the trade deadline. Three and a half weeks had passed since the Caps last had a home date on the schedule and they were ready to make an impression.
Eric Fehr handcuffed Lightning goalie Mike Smith to open the scoring. But Tampa's power play has been ridiculously sharp against Washington this year and Steve Downie kept them hot with a nasty deflection past Semyon Varlamov. Then it was time for the Mike Knuble show in period two. Knuble worked a two-on-one to perfection with Brooks Laich for one of his tallies. And doubled up with a beautiful follow up to give the Caps some breathing room at 3-1.Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louiswere their old dynamic selves tonight and because of that the Lightning were always in this game. Lecavalier drilled two sharp looking snap shots past Varlamov and St. Louis was as clever a set up man as you will find with three assists, that could have easily have been six.Nicklas Backstrom, normally an outstanding feeder in his own right, turned into a shot blocking machine while killing a penalty in the second period. The Swede demonstrated a great deal of courage standing in the way of two powerful blasts from Kurtis Foster, within 20 seconds of each other. The fans went nuts and deservingly so.
The stage was set for a thrilling third period, and that was where Walker made himself right at home in front of the Tampa net. He's a player that performs with a hunger for success that's contagious.
So the homestand gets off to a flying start and the Rangers visit on Saturday. We all continue to be spoiled by all these wins and hope they keep piling up all the way through June.