The Tampa Bay Lightning took the ice for the first of four straight road games on Friday night. The Washington Capitals’ relentless attack secured a 3-1 victory for the home team.
Hockey is a team sport. Which is almost unfortunate for the Lightning after falling to the Capitals on Friday night. If you were to look at the play of goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy alone, you’d think the Bolts would have been in a position to beat the boys from DC. However, the Capitals were in control of this game and the Lightning continue to struggle with consistency.
Vasilevskiy keeps his team in it
Tampa Bay’s goalie stopped 35 shots on the night, however, the Caps generated 37. On most nights that is going to get your team a victory. And when your opponent, Philipp Grubauer, has yet to record a win in 2017 your chances are even greater.
Vasilevskiy was so strong in net, he earned 2nd Star honors. The unfortunate part of that equation is that it was Grubauer that took home the honor as the games Number One Star.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) November 25, 2017
Braden Holtby, the Capitals’ regular starter, is one of the best goalies in the NHL. Not only is he good – he’s durable and dependable. Last season, Grubauer only appeared in 24 games. Holtby, on the other hand, led the NHL in starts en-route to taking home the Vezina Trophy.
The backup did everything he could to secure his first win of the season. He wasn’t forced into many difficult chances early on, however, the Lightning showed signs of aggression in small spurts.
Including another short-handed opportunity for Tyler Johnson.
Thirty shots on goal through two periods is a fairly safe recipe for success. Plus, when you’re having as much success as the opposition is, passing around Lightning defenders, goals are usually not far behind.
Much like the Blackhawks did on Wednesday night, the Capitals showed off some impressive passing skills against the Lightning.
— NHL (@NHL) November 24, 2017
Confidence while Johnson continues to struggle
Even after a loss like this, the Lightning should feel pretty good about themselves. Sure they’ve lost 2-out-of-3, but you could not expect them to carry on the pace they were headed. After all, they were trending north of 120 points on the season. Since the 1976-77 season (Canadiens – 132pts), only five teams have eclipsed that plateau. Most recently, the Capitals reached 120 during the 2015-16 campaign.
One player that has seen his share of struggles recently? Johnson has not scored a goal since October 24. After scoring four goals through the teams’ first 10 games, the $5MM-man has dropped a goose egg over his last 12 contests.
“I think our team has a lot of [confidence], we know we can play with any team,” Johnson said during Friday night’s loss.
Three Stars of the Game
1st Star: Philipp Grubauer (25 saves)
2nd Star: Andrei Vasilevskiy (35 saves)
3rd Star: Jay Beagle (1G, 1A)
- Rays acquire Cron, trade Odo, and DFA Dickerson on busy Saturday night. February 18, 2018
- Shots on shots, but Bolts drop a tough one to Jersey. February 17, 2018
- Should Dolph Ziggler Have Gone Back to WWE? February 16, 2018
- Stamkos, Kucherov and Hedman lead Bolts in 11th straight win against Detroit February 15, 2018
- Rays announce ticket specials for 2018 season February 15, 2018
- 2017 Bucs: The good, bad and ugly February 15, 2018
- Column: Drafting The Bucs 2018: TE February 14, 2018
- New faces, young guns shine as workouts begin in Port Charlotte. February 14, 2018
- Superstars are added to WWE Championship match at Fastlane February 13, 2018
- Lightning’s special teams not so special in loss to Sabres February 13, 2018