Brouwer celebrates the hatty! (Photo credit: Nick Wass)
Coming into tonight’s game, the Capitals had scored on five of their last 12 powerplays. Meanwhile, Tampa was playing their second game in two nights on the road.
Right off the hop, Alex Ovechkin took advantage of Tampa’s tired legs, scoring on the powerplay via a blast from the point. The goal, courtesy of a screen orchestrated by Troy Brouwer’s rear, was Ovi’s 18th on the year. The Hockey Gods then rewarded Troy’s hard work with a goal of his very own 1:53 later on the brouwerplay.
In the second period, Brouwer went to the second power, pushing a rebound past 42-year-old Dwayne Roloson. With 2:54 left in the second, the Lightning got their first of the night when Mike Knuble had his pocket picked by Martin St. Louis. That freakin’ gnat then dished to Tom Pyatt who one-timed home his fourth goal of the season.
Steven Stamkos gave Tampa’s comeback some steam with a powerplay goal in the third period to make it 3-2. But Troy Brouwer then responded by collecting a hat trick with an empty-netter. Still the Lightning wouldn’t die as Vincent LeCavalier deflected home a St. Louis shot with 11 seconds left. After another wild deflection in front of the net almost got past Vokoun, the buzzer finally hit zero. Caps beat the Lightning, 4-3. WHEW.
With the win and Florida’s loss tonight, the Capitals are now two points behind the Panthers for the Southeast division lead with a game in hand. After everything that happened in the first half of the season, this seems incredible to me.
After a 11am practice Saturday at Kettler, the Caps will face the Carolina Hurricanes at home Sunday night. And just as a heads up, it’s a funky 5pm start because of the Ravens game that day. We’ll see you then!
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