Tuesday, January 12, 2010
By Joe Beninati
A streak like that one can only last so long. The Caps were God-awful at times in the opening frame and they paid for their mistakes. Even with all that said, Washington managed to battle all the way back and erase a 4-1 first period deficit.In a game that featured one power play goal after another, the Lightning were energized by Steven Stamkos. The teenaged sharp-shooter put 2 pretty shots past Michal Neuvirth. The first one was a backhander that required amazing hand-eye coordination.
Neuvirth was not to blame for the opening 20 minute follies, but it was apparent that removing him from the crease at the start of the second gave the Caps a jolt. A couple of Mike Green goals sandwiched around an Eric Fehr strike made it a new hockey game. The back-breaking goal came from Martin St. Louis late in the second. I would have liked the Cap's chances more if they were headed to the final 20 minutes dead even.
The game took a nasty turn in the third pediod with Alex Ovechkin and Steve Downie as the central focus. We've seen Alex go on the hunt to throw a big hit before, and he had Downie lined up for the kill right in front of the Tampa bench. The Lightning post game show announcers speculated that it was a dirty hit. It was a shoulder hit to Downie's upper chest that looked clean to me. After the two re-emerged from the penalty box, Downie, playing the role of agitator, wisely tried to take Ovie off the ice again. Both players dropped their gloves and discarded their helmets, but Matt Bradley came from about 70 feet away throw the real punches.
Tampa had a lot of frustration to vent after being out-classed for12 straight games against the Caps. Their season-high seven goals and all this rough stuff should suffice. Although the rematch at the end of the month could be interesting at Verizon Center. Don't miss the Caps Wednesday against the Panthers on CSN.