2-18-12 Tampa Bay vs. Capitals, 2-1 Bolts

We were down in Sunrise last night for the Panthers vs Caps game and drove up here this morning for this one.   Caps had been on a losing streak so we knew it was going to be a tense night, and, it was!    After what happened in last nights game, we couldn’t imagine what we were going to see tonight against Tampa, but were pleasantly surprised.

Outside the arena tonight we got a better look at the new Phil Esposito statue that was unveiled a few weeks ago when we were down here for New Years.

We got to see this from up above looking down and the plaza was packed with fans   Click: Phil Esposito Statue Ceremony

I’m generally a Caps fan, but not when it comes to Tampa Bay, they take priority for me when the two meet.   Tonight, Bolts were just as eager to win and they brought it home.

The Tampa Bay Lightning added a little more life to their playoff hopes on Saturday night, while preventing a division rival from doing the same to their own postseason chances.

Some warm up shots, several of Alex since these games are the only time we get to see him now that we don’t have a team in Atlanta anymore, so bear with me  🙂

Stamkos

Chimera firing some at the net

Ovie

About to fire one off at the net 

Marty, I love Marty!    I got strobed right as I took this shot so I decided to make it black and white and keep it anyway

Roloson

Matieu Garon, Love Garon! 

One more Ovie! 

VINNY !!! 

Marty St. Louis!  

Ok, a little more Ovie 

I liked the “Vokouna Matata” sign

Last Ovie, doing a little ballet move

Evan Longoria was with us tonight 

Someone/something interesting in the stands, and, the lightning begins

Big time lightning 

And the Anthem and passing of the US Flag among the crowd.  They do this every game, and I just love it!

Steven Stamkos scored what stood up as the game-winning goal at 1:50 of the second period and Mathieu Garon stopped 23 of 24 shots faced as the Lightning edged out an important 2-1 victory over the division-foe Washington Capitals at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Stamkos, who became the league’s first 40-goal scorer this season, now has lit the lamp in all but two of his past seven games with six in that span. He is just the fifth player in NHL history to record three consecutive seasons with at least 40 goals in each prior to his 23rd birthday, joining Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Dale Hawerchuk and Alex Ovechkin.

Tom Pyatt had the other goal for Tampa Bay, winners in two straight.

Pyatt opened the scoring just 2:10 into the game after putting home a rebound on an initial shot from Teddy Purcell. It appeared as if Vokoun thought he had squeezed the puck between his legs, but it snuck through the pads and trickled out, allowing Pyatt to whack it home for a career-best sixth of the season.

Brooks Laich scored the lone goal for the Capitals and cut a two-goal deficit in half at 9:41 of the middle frame after coming across the side of the net and redirecting Mathieu Perrault’s centering feed past Garon to make it 2-1.

The goal came just minutes after a spectacular defensive play by Stamkos earlier in the period that helped put Tampa Bay up by a pair. The Lightning forward got things started when he picked off a pass from Matt Hendricks at the blue line and raced in all alone on Tomas Vokoun before deking the Capitals net minder with a nifty backhand move and instead wristing a forehand over the left pad.

Washington, playing for the second consecutive night and coming off a 2-1 win at Florida just the night before, has now lost four of its past five. With a win, the Capitals could have tied the Panthers, who have one game at hand, for first place in the Southeast Division.

Tampa Bay received five power-play opportunities on the night, but couldn’t convert on a single attempt despite earning numerous good looks with the man advantage.

Vokoun says no

Oops!  Hey Vokoun, you have something in your kitchen there!  

Close call

Battling for the puck while Vokoun tracks

Garon stops another one

I loved the look on the ref’s face here

And, we have a meet and greet!  

Gordie Howe tribute.  He was in attendance at the Panthers vs Caps game we were at last nite!  

Garon closes that door scooping up the puck

Marty fighting off a Cap!   

I got strobed again!!!   But Alex had slid into a turn passing the puck to himself and snowed himself about chest high.

Vokoun finished the night with 21 saves.

With the win, the Lightning now sit just six points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The victory also marked Tampa Bay’s sixth in its past nine at home.

Three star selections
1st:   STEVEN STAMKOS
2nd:   MATHIEU GARON
3rd:   TEDDY PURCELL
Winning Goaltender
Mathieu Garon
Losing Goaltender
Tomas Vokoun

GAME HIGHLIGHTS

 

GAME HIGHLIGHTS: http://nhl.cdn.neulion.net/u/videocenter/embed.swf

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