Posted February 18, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Martin St. Louis
Toronto Maple Leafs
Tampa Bay Lightning
After beating one Southeast Division rival, the Washington Capitals have a chance to claim a share of first place if they can defeat another.
The Capitals will try to take advantage of a struggling Tampa Bay Lightning defense and earn their first win at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in nearly a year Saturday night.
Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin scored third-period goals to rally Washington to a 2-1 win over division-leading Florida on Friday. Tomas Vokoun also made 22 saves against his former team while returning from illness.
"A big game, I was a little nervous, too," said Vokoun, who played for Florida from 2007-2011. "It's not easy playing back where I played last year, and we're chasing them. But I settled in and obviously a great finish by our guys."
The victory moved Washington (29-23-5) within two points of the Panthers, who are idle until Sunday. The Capitals are also currently one point behind eighth-place Toronto in the Eastern Conference, but the Maple Leafs will be playing Saturday in Vancouver.
"We're encouraging guys to pay attention to the standings. We want to know what the deal is every night," forward Mike Knuble said. "The good thing is it's early enough that we can still play our way in there by winning some games."
The Capitals helped themselves a little during their previous matchup with Tampa Bay on Jan. 31 by rallying from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime. Lightning star Steven Stamkos, though, gave his team a 4-3 home win by scoring 2:45 into the extra period.
Washington leads the season series 2-0-1, but hasn't prevailed in Tampa since March 7. The Capitals' three straight defeats there include two when the Lightning swept the conference semifinals.
Like Washington, Tampa Bay (25-26-6) is in a fight to return to the playoffs but has more of an uphill climb - the Lightning are currently 12th and eight points behind Toronto. They haven't helped themselves by being outscored 21-14 over a 2-3-1 stretch but avoided a third straight defeat Thursday with a 6-5 overtime win over visiting San Jose.
Martin St. Louis found the net twice to end a five-game drought, including the game-winner with 33 seconds left in the extra period. Stamkos matched his career high for points with two goals and two assists.
That game took place not long after center Dominic Moore's trade to San Jose for a second-round pick. The team is also attempting to deal veteran defenseman Pavel Kubina and planning to keep him out of the lineup.
"If we throw in the towel because of what's going on around us, it's going to be a pretty miserable last two months," St. Louis said. "I think we have enough character here we can build on (the win over San Jose)."
Mathieu Garon will try to help during his return to the net, but he's allowed a combined seven goals in consecutive defeats. Garon is 3-1-1 with a 2.62 goals-against average in eight career games against Washington and made 26 saves during last month's overtime win.
The Capitals could stick with Vokoun, who is 6-0-2 with a 2.41 GAA in his last eight versus Tampa Bay. Michal Neuvirth had a 3.74 GAA during last year's playoff series.
Stamkos has 298 career points in 300 games and goals in consecutive matchups with Washington. The Capitals' Troy Brouwer has a team-best five goals versus Tampa, including his only career hat trick during a 4-3 win Jan. 13.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Could Caps Fill Holes by Shopping More Goalies?
The question continues to come up, what is George McPhee doing?
He's quite apparently been burning up phone lines trying to lay down foundations for possible trades, though no one has taken a bite just yet.
But who's he shopping and what are they looking for?
One thing that is a rather muddled subject in Caps...
Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee doesn't mind Mike Knuble showing some frustration about not being in the lineup. That the 39-year-old alternate captain pointed out, "You want to go somewhere where you're going to play and you're going to contribute to the team," is a sign of his competitive ...
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Steven Stamkos scored his NHL-leading 40th goal of the season and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Washington Capitals 2-1 on Saturday night.
The 22-year old Stamkos became the first Tampa Bay player to have three consecutive seasons of at least 40 goals when he scored 1:50 into the second period. The center stole an errant pass at the Lightning blue line and...
Alexander Semin scored the tiebreaking goal and Tomas Vokoun made 22 saves against his former team as the Washington Capitals beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Friday.
A few images from the week that was.....
Starting with Alex Ovechkin bowling at a Caps VIP outing. Interesting form. Via @KellyFaith81 via @cnichols14.
Read full article >>
Martin St. Louis scored his second goal of the game 4:27 into overtime, Steven Stamkos had two goals and two assists in his 300th NHL game, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the San Jose Sharks 6-5 on Thursday night.
St. Louis got the winner from close range off a pass from Victor Hedman.
Stamkos has 158 goals and 298 points overall. Teddy Purcell and Steve Downie had the other...
Via Darren Dreger, Pavel Kubina has been traded to the Flyers, pending league approval. There weren’t any reports connecting the Rangers to the 34-year-old defenseman, though he made sense as a trade target given their need to upgrade the blue line and the John Tortorella connection. Dave looked at Kubina in greater detail earlier this week. On to the next…
The sharks have acquired Dominic Moore from the Lightning. This is a great pickup for the playoffs. The exact fit the sharks will need if they are to survive the West.
While waiting to consummate a trade involving Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kubina, the Tampa Bay Lightning dealt center Dominic Moore to San Jose on Thursday in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2012 entry draft.
Alexander Semin scored the tiebreaking goal and Tomas Vokoun made 22 saves against his former team as the Washington Capitals beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Friday night.
As the Jeremy Lin phenomenon rages on, Stu Hackel ponders Alex Ovechkin and wonders if fame has played a role in keeping the Capitals' star from becoming hockey's greatest player.
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Alexander Semin scored the tiebreaking goal and Tomas Vokoun made 22 saves against his former team as the
Washington Capitals beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Friday night.
SUNRISE, Fla. — Dale Hunter knows from his playing days what it's like to go into an old building and face your former team. "You want to win, and you want to play well," the Washington Capitals' coach said. "When I got traded from Quebec, you want to go back ...
via Darren Dreger tweet, Pending league approval, Pavel Kubina has been traded to Philadelphia.
added 6:43pm, via Nick Kypreos tweet, Confirmed. #SNTrade Kubina to #Flyers for a 2nd and 5th round pick. Done.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired Florida’s second-round pick in either 2012 or 2013 (previously acquired, Florida’s choice), a fourth-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and left wing Jon Kalinski from the Philadelphia Flyers i...