Lightning-Capitals Preview

After slumping through their longest losing streak of the

season, the Washington Capitals are playing much better of late.

Their strong run figures to continue against the struggling Tampa

Bay Lightning, whom they’ve dominated at home.

Washington looks for its 15th win in 16 home meetings with Tampa

Bay on Tuesday night.

The Capitals (16-12-2) have won four of five after a four-game

slide that saw them total only seven goals. They scored three times

during the second period of Sunday’s 4-1 win at New York after

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist entered with an 180-minute

scoreless streak against the Capitals.

That drought came to an end with Jason Chimera’s goal early in

the second frame, followed by another from Steve Oleksy 25 seconds

later.

“You get the lead, it obviously makes it a lot easier,” coach

Adam Oates told the team’s website. “We broke the ice first, we got

the goal, it gives us a little confidence. And we kept making good

decisions with the puck, kept putting it in the right place. It

gave us a chance to have another wave and sooner or later we broke

them down.”

The Lightning (17-10-2) have lost three of four overall and five

straight on the road after starting 6-3-0 away from home.

They dropped a 2-1 overtime result on Saturday at home,

surrendering the winner 1:04 into the extra period after an Alex

Killorn shot deflected off the post moments earlier.

Tampa Bay was outshot 29-17 over the first two periods before

claiming a 12-6 shots advantage in the third. The Lightning have

one power play goal on 24 chances over last eight games and are

averaging 2.1 goals in 12 games since Steven Stamkos was sidelined

with a broken tibia. They were averaging 3.1 goals in 17 games

prior to his injury.

“It’s frustrating because I think we can generate a lot more,”

Nate Thompson, who scored on a deflection with 1.1 seconds left in

the second period, told the team’s website. “We have the guys who

can step up and do it; it’s just a matter of having that shooter

mentality. When you have that shooter mentality other things open

up.”

Backup netminder Anders Lindback was unable to earn his third

win despite making 34 saves. Lindback has combined with Ben Bishop

to post a 1.43 goals-against average over Tampa Bay’s last seven

games, though coach Jon Cooper’s team is 3-2-2 over that

stretch.

Martin St. Louis assisted on Thompson’s goal, his team-leading

15th assist of the season but his first in five games. It also

increased St. Louis’ career point total to 939, ahead of Jason

Arnott for 91st all-time. He has six goals and eight assists over

his last nine games versus Washington.

Alex Ovechkin has five goals in his last four home games against

the Lightning.

The teams combined for 33 goals as Washington won three of four

meetings last season.