The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed too worn ot to mount any kind of attack against the Washington Capitals last night. John Carlson had two first period goals and the Bolts were too easy on goalie Braden Holtby who stopped all 23 shots to earn his third shutout of the season 4-0.
The Bolts limp into the Christmas break at 17-15-3 on the season.
The Capitals opened the scoring just one minute into the game as defenseman John Carlson scored his second of the season assisted by Karl Alzner (3) and Tom Wilson (11). Carlson’s shot from the point somehow eluded Andrei Vasilevskiy.
So the first period ended the Carlson’s two, the Lightning zero. The Caps outshot the Bolts 10-2 in the first period. The Bolts didn’t have a shot on goal until close to the fourteen minute mark.
The Second period saw the Capital’s captain, Alex Ovechkin score his 15th goal from Dmitry Orlov (13) at 10:48. Orlov threw Ovechkin a lob pass that went over everyone during a line change. It was Ovechkin’s 41st goal in 62 games against the Lightning.
Victor Hedman went to the locker room favoring his right arm or shoulder right after the Ovechkin goal.
The second period ended 3-0 Caps. It also ended with the Lightning playing with 15 skaters because of injuries to Braydon Coburn, Jonathan Drouin and Hedman. Hedman returned at the start of the third period. Shots were 20-11 Caps.
The Lightning looked fatigued in the third period and it really showed as Nicklas Backstrom (20) found Marcus Johanson on a stretch pass as he exited the penalty box. Johansson beat Vasilevskiy for his 13th of the year. Vasilevskiy allowed four goals in 24 shots. The Bolts brought in backup goalie Kristers Gudlevskiswho finished the game.
Shots ended up 27-23 Capitals. The Bolts were 0-3 on the power play and 2-2 on the penalty kill.
The Lightning, who because of a multitude of injuries dressed just 11 forwards and seven defensemen, lost two skaters in the second period. Left wing Jonathan Drouin, and defenseman Braydon Coburn left and didn’t return. Vasilevskiy also wasn’t on the bench after leaving the game.
It was the third time this season that Tampa Bay was shutout.
NOTES: Entering the game, Tampa Bay had lost 71 man games to injury, Washington had nine — seven by RW T.J. Oshie. . Cooper thinks after the four-day holiday break, his team will be healthier. “Whether it’s one player or five, I think we’ll eventually get one of those forwards back or maybe a couple,” Cooper said. . Carlson’s previous two-goal game was on Dec. 2, 2014. Ovechkin’s goal was the 540th of his career. His next goal will tie him with Stan Mikita for 30th on the NHL’s all-time list.
“It just seems like we can’t get good starts. We always seem to go down, always fighting back. It’s a tough league to fight back in,” said Alex Killorn. “We just didn’t come prepared. You go down 2-0 to a team like that, it’s going to be tough to come back.”
Tampa Bay will be off for four days. They will then host the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday the 28th.