Thunderbolts and Lightning; Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Predicted GoaltenderRecordGAA / SV%
Washington CapitalsVitek Vanecek5-0-32.26 / .911
Tampa Bay LightningAndrei Vasilevskiy4-3-12.53 / .911

To kick off the month of November, the Washington Capitals are on the road and will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second time this season. The Capitals fell to the Lightning by a score of 2-1 in overtime back on October 16, 2021. At home, Tampa is just 1-2-1; the Caps, on the other hand, are 2-0-0 on the road.

The Washington Capitals shut out the Arizona Coyotes 2-0 on Friday to hand them their 8th straight loss. Ilya Samsonov got the start in net for Washington, and it was Karel Vejmelka between the pipes for Arizona. Truth be told, the first two full periods of play were sleepy, sloppy, and downright boring. Washington struggled to complete passes and make clean zone entries. The Caps haven’t been great versus the Coyotes, well, ever, and were just 7-5-2 through their last 14 meetings. And for a team that has been just plain bad the last few seasons, Arizona always seems to know how to stifle Washington’s offense and split their defense just as well. The Coyotes didn’t register their first shot on goal until the game was over six minutes old. Washington was outshooting Arizona 14-4 through the first 20 and had killed off the Lars Eller penalty that was called early in the period. The Caps’ power waned as the second period began, and Arizona successfully held off another nine shots. They also killed off three more Washington power plays, meaning they were 5-for-5 on the kill through two periods.

It was not until the third period that we saw the first goal of the game. In fact, it wasn’t until the period was more than 10 minutes old that we got any real action at all. Former Washington Capital/Hershey Bear Liam O’ Brien was called for holding at the 11:21 mark of the third, and so the Caps got their 6th opportunity with the man-advantage. Fans inside Capital One Arena were desperate for some action, and if it wasn’t John Carlson, who had just one goal and two assists through seven games, who finally answered their prayers. At the 12:02 mark, Carlson finally got the puck past Vejmelka to give Washington the 1-0 advantage, on the power play nonetheless.

Garnet Hathaway went off for hooking moments later, and with bated breath, the Capitals went on the penalty kill, and hoped to keep the score as-is. They did successfully kill off the penalty, and with Arizona’s net vacated, Alex Ovechkin potted his 9th goal in 8 games to seal the win for his Caps.

Ovechkin’s goal-streak was extended to four games, and his point-streak, to eight. With the win, Ilya Samsonov registered his 4th career shutout, and the Caps earned their 13th of 16 possible points through their first 8 games.

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Coincidentally enough, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s last game was also against the Arizona Coyotes. The Bolts have had off since Thursday the 28th when they defeated Arizona 5-1. It was Tampa’s first win at home all season. Right off the opening faceoff, Tampa forward Pat Maroon and former Cap Liam O’Brien exchanged pleasantries as they dropped the mitts. Both received five-minute majors for fighting. The Bolts got their first power play at the 2:57 mark when Ilya Lyubushkin went off for high sticking. Though they did not score on the power play, just five minutes and 39 seconds into the first, Alex Killorn scored his 5th of the season to give Tampa a 1-0 lead. Then, just two minutes later, Killorn tallied a second goal to make it 2-0. Andrew Ladd was called for cross-checking at the 9:34 mark, giving Tampa another power-play opportunity. This time, Steven Stamkos would score, his 5th of the season, to improve the Bolts lead to 3-0. Pat Maroon decided to change his attention to Lawson Crouse, and both were assessed penalties, albeit of differing variations (Maroon; 2 min instigator, 5 min fighting)(Crouse; 2 min boarding, 5 min fighting). The Coyotes received their first power play as Ondrej Palat went off for interference. Arizona’s 26th ranked power play did not convert.

Dysin Mayo went off for hooking at the 4:57 mark of the second period, but lucky for Arizona, Tampa did not score. Alex Barre-Boulet scored his first goal as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 13:38 mark to make it 4-0, Bolts. It seemed unlikely that the Coyotes would dig themselves out of the hole they dug.

At the 12:40 mark of the 3rd period, with the final moments winding down of an almost inevitable shutout win for Tampa, Lawson Crouse scored. The goal made it 4-1, with the Lightning in the lead, but was Crouse’s 2nd of the season.

Andrej Sustr tallied his first of the season with under 2 minutes remaining in the game, making it 5-1. With Killorn’s assist on the goal, Alex put forth a three-point performance. Bolts goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just one goal on 25 shots to end his night with a .960 save percentage and his 4th win of the season.

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The Lightning are without Zach Bogosian (IR-LT, undisclosed), Nikita Kucherov (IR-LT, lower body), Gemel Smith (IR-NR, lower body), and Odeen Tufto (IR-NR, undisclosed). Kucherov, again, underwent a successful surgery last week for a nagging lower body injury, and is expected to miss 8-10 weeks.

Kassie’s Noteworthy Remarks

  1. Alex Ovechkin, scored his 9th goal in eight games vs the Coyotes, and is two goals shy of tying Brett Hull for 4th on the All-Time Goals list.
  2. The Capitals are 2-0-0 on the road this season, and the Lightning, just 1-2-1 at home.
  3. Steven Stamkos leads the Lightning with five (5) goals and seven (7) assists for 12 points through 8 games. Three of his goals have come on the power play.

The Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning will play on Monday, November 1, 2021 at 7:00 EST, and can be seen on NHL Network, Bally Sports Sun, and NBC Sports Washington.

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