Preview: Tampa Bay at Washington
When: 5:00 PM ET, Friday, November 27, 2015
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District Of Columbia
The Tampa Bay Lightning, who are second in the league in goals allowed, face a huge test when they visit the high-powered Washington Capitals on Friday. Tampa Bay has surrendered 2.13 goals per game, thanks in part to the red-hot Ben Bishop, and will attempt to slow down captain Alex Ovechkin and the surging Capitals.
The Lightning have been especially stingy in their last four games, allowing three tallies – two during their current three-game winning streak that was extended by a 2-1 shootout triumph over Los Angeles on Wednesday. Washington has netted 13 goals in winning its last three contests and Braden Holtby has been superb, earning victories in each of his last five starts. Ovechkin has recorded 37 goals and 76 points in 57 career games against the Capitals’ former Southeast Division rivals while Holtby is 5-2-1 lifetime versus Tampa Bay. Washington is 9-3-1 at home after the 5-3 triumph over Winnipeg on Wednesday but plays six of its next seven on the road after Friday.
TV: 5 p.m. ET, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), CSN-DC (Washington)
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (11-9-3): It’s uncertain whether or not Bishop will start, considering Tampa Bay hosts the New York Islanders on Saturday, but the 29-year-old has been brilliant of late. Bishop has allowed two or fewer goals in nine of his last 10 games, prompting Valtteri Filppula to tell reporters, “He’s keeping us in the game when needed and making a lot of key saves.” Tyler Johnson returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing three games with an injury and recorded a goal.
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (15-5-1): Washington has coupled their strong offense with a defense that stands fifth in the league – allowing 2.24 goals per contest. Evgeny Kuznetsov continues to produce with six points in his last three games to top the team with 24 – four more than Ovechkin, who has netted a goal in three of his last four contests. Nicklas Backstrom also has been productive against Tampa Bay, registering 43 points in 38 games, and is third on the team this season in goals (eight), assists (10) and points (18).
1. Washington D John Carlson has notched a goal and two assists in his last three games and is tied with Backstrom for the team lead in power-play points (seven).
2. Tampa Bay D Anton Stralman, who has collected seven points this season, is slated to play his 500th NHL game.
3. The Capitals took two of the three meetings last season and has earned points in eight of the last nine (7-1-1).
PREDICTION: Capitals 3, Lightning 1