Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/19/13
TAMPA -- Martin St. Louis and Eric Brewer each scored two goals, and rookie Cory Conacher had a goal and assist in his first NHL game on Saturday, as the Tampa Bay Lightning opened the season with a 6-3 win over their Southeast Division rival Washington Capitals. The Capitals collapsed in allowing three third-period goals in the first game under head coach Adam Oates. St. Louis' score with 15 minutes, three seconds left in the game on a 5-on-3 opportunity gave the Lightning a one-goal lead before the American Hockey League Player of the year added his first career goal. He had notched an assist earlier. Washington produced the initial seven shots of the game behind two early power plays, but the Lightning took a 1-0 lead when defenseman Eric Brewer put Tampa Bay's first shot of the season over goaltender Braden Holtby's glove from the left side at 6:24 of the first period. Brewer, who had not scored in 50 games, was assisted by Matthew Carle and Martin St. Louis. Brewer added the final Lightning goal in the third period. Washington responded quickly with a power play goal from Joel Ward at 8:25 of the first, his first of two. But Tampa Bay retook the lead less than a minute later when Vincent Lecavalier ripped in a rebound of a shot that hit the pipe. Ward helped Washington tie the game, 2-2, just one minute, 59 seconds into the second period when a puck deflected off his skate and into the net. Tampa Bay again responded quickly to regain the lead, though, as St. Louis skated unchallenged through the crease to redirect a Lecavalier pass from the left side in for a power play score. The Lightning led 3-2. Washington tied the game, 3-3, with just a minute and 45 seconds left in the second period on a four-on-four score by Wojtek Wolski. NOTES: Lightning rookie C Cory Conacher earned a second-period assist in his NHL debut. ... Lightning D Eric Brewer had one goal in 82 games last season. ... Lightning RW Martin St. Louis said the condensed 48-game schedule over 99 days will require "almost like a playoff attitude" as teams play only conference opponents. "I think you have just to manage your ups and downs," he said, "can't get too down. You don't have time to feel sorry for yourself. Everything is going to happen quick and you don't have five-ten games to dwell on things. You've just got to ready for the next one." ... Saturday's game marked the beginning of Tampa Bay's 20th-anniversary season. ... Washington defenseman Roman Hamrlik, who was Tampa Bay's first draft pick in 1992, participated in a ceremonial face-off officiated by Lightning founder Phil Esposito. ... Injured F Brooks Laich did not dress for Washington. ... Scratches were John Erskine, Joey Crabb and Eric Fehr (Washington) and Brendan Mikkelson, Dana Tyrell and Pierre-Cedric Labrie (Tampa Bay).
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