NHL

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Caps cruise and almost lose

Green's score in OT saves embarrassing contest against Bolts

  • Print

WASHINGTON -- Wouldn't figure the Washington Capitals would be the kind of team to get complacent right now, not after they've worked so hard to climb from the depths of the standings to get into playoff position.

Yet the Capitals blew every bit of a four-goal lead Saturday night, nearly ruining a chance to pick up a couple of points on their closest pursuer in the home stretch of the regular season.

It took defenceman Mike Green's power-play goal at 2:59 of overtime to rescue the team.

The winning streak stays alive at seven games following a 6-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"It's good lessons right now for us," said Alex Ovechkin, who moved ahead in the NHL's goal-scoring race with his 27th of the season. "I hope for next time when we get lead like that we're not going to stop playing."

The win essentially served as the Capitals' game in hand against the second-place Winnipeg Jets, who are off until Tuesday.

Washington leads Winnipeg 48-44 in points in the standings, and both teams have six games to play to decide the winner of the league's weakest division.

But it came with way too much cruising once the Capitals had a 5-1 lead early in the second period.

"Terrible third period. Myself and just that," said Green, who was on the ice for three of the Lightning's goals. "We've been talking about how we've been finding ways to win and how we're playing with leads, and we sat back on our heels and we let them come at us."

Ovechkin broke a tie with the Lightning's Steven Stamkos to take the solo spot atop the goal leaderboard for the first time this season. Troy Brouwer, Jack Hillen, Jason Chimera and Eric Fehr also scored, and Braden Holtby made 35 saves for the Capitals.

Green's overtime goal came after Vincent Lecavalier was whistled for slashing Marcus Johansson in front of the crease, finally shifting the momentum back to the Capitals.

"When a team does get behind that much, they play so reckless," Washington coach Adam Oates said. "And you're not trained to handle a reckless team... If the game's a more normal game in the start, they wouldn't have played so crazy. But I'm not trying to use that as an excuse. It's just hard sometimes. We leaked a little oil and fortunately we got it back."

Richard Panik and Martin St. Louis each scored twice for the Lightning, and Teddy Purcell then completed the comeback with 2:35 remaining in regulation.

"With the situation we're in and the playoffs far away, we could have packed it in," Purcell said. "But it just goes to show that we've got a lot character and fight in here and even though there's only seven or eight games left, we're trying to build and get better for next year."

The Lightning have lost four of five and must have felt they were lost in a comedy of errors from the moment starting goaltender Ben Bishop complained the sun was in his eyes seconds before the opening faceoff.

The start was delayed about a minute while the problem was fixed by closing the drapes in the restaurant on the arena's club level.

Bishop lasted only a period anyway. He was pulled during the first intermission for Mathieu Garon, who promptly allowed two goals in the first four shots he faced to make the score 5-1.

Tampa Bay's B.J. Crombeen also had a rough game. He dropped his gloves and wanted to fight Washington's Matt Hendricks late in the first period, but Hendricks wanted no part of it and skated away, leaving Crombeen by himself while the Capitals completed a rush that ended with Hillen scoring a goal.

Crombeen tried to stir up trouble again as the horn sounded to end the period and was given a 10-minute misconduct.

Tampa Bay also had a penalty for too many men on the ice in the first period, leading to the goal from Brouwer that started the Capitals' scoring spree.

Ovechkin's goal came in the final minute of the first period when he outskated the Lightning to a loose puck and backhanded his shot past an overcommitted Bishop.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 14, 2013 B5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Kevin Cheveldayoff announces Maurice contract extension

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A mother goose has chosen a rather busy spot to nest her eggs- in the parking lot of St Vital Centre on a boulevard. Countless cars buzz by and people have begun to bring it food.-Goose Challenge Day 06 - May 08, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Water lilys are reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What Western Conference teams will emerge from the first round of the NHL playoffs?

View Results

Ads by Google