WASHINGTON, December 11, 2013 — In a game featuring three of the greatest players in the NHL, Martin St. Louis, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin, the Capitals defeated the Lightning, 6-5, in a shoot-out. The three stars combined for 12 points between the three of them.
Philipp Grubauer got the call from Hershey, Pa. starting his NHL career last week. His first start at goalie was on Sunday against the New York Rangers, earning his first NHL career win. Grubauer probably was not expecting to play in back to back nights, but that became the reality as Braden Holtby started the game poorly by allowing three goals in the first period. Head Coach Adam Oates felt that, “the Caps needed a change and there was a lot of game left to play.”
It was a tough first period for Caps fans in attendance. The game started out with the Capitals being out-shot by Tampa Bay, 8-0, in the first 12 minutes. In fact, Caps fans booed Mike Green, expressing their frustration with his 18 minutes of penalty box time, four minors and a ten minute misconduct penalty all on Mike Green.
For all of Green’s offensive skills, fans are frustrated with his five-on-five defensive struggles. Green has been a key player for the past five seasons but certainly needs to start games better and stay out of the sin bin.
The power play got the Capitals back into the game in the second period after a five minute major on the Lightning for boarding. The Caps scored two goals during this power play and cut the lead to 3-2. The Capitals did not tie the game until 33 seconds were left in regulation.
Ovechkin’s huge night was his 81st multi-goal game, his third four-goal game, first four goal game since 2008, 13th hat trick, and NHL leading 26th goal of the season. The Capitals other super star, Nicklas Backstrom scored his third four-point game with a goal and three assists. Having two of the best players in the NHL certainly gave the Capitals the fire power to come from behind by three goals.
Head Coach, Adam Oates stressed that the Capitals, “Can’t keep giving teams a lead [and penalties]”. Ovechkin’s four goal night was even more remarkable considering he spent most of the first period on the bench as the penalty-kill team was on the ice for 18 of the first 20 minutes of the game.
The Capitals are back on the ice on Friday night in Carolina against the Hurricanes. The Caps are now back within seven points of Pittsburgh for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division and have now won five of their last six games.
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