Washington Capitals get a point in Round Robin opener but fall in shootout

The Washington Capitals got a point in the first Round Robin game.

Although the Washington Capitals fell 3-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first game of the Round Robin in a shootout, they at least come away with a point in the standings. Better than nothing when it comes down to it since these three games determine seeding.

The Lightning struck first on a goal from Nikita Kucherov at 12:53 assisted by Brayden Point. 1-0 would be the score after the first period with the Bolts outshooting the Caps 9-7.

The Lightning doubled their lead with a goal from Mitchell Stephens at 7:48 with Ryan McDonagh and Pat Maroon. Up until that point the Lightning were the better team, making the most of their passes and attacking the net. The Caps though would turn it on.

They got on the board with a gritty goal from Richard Panik with a backhander at the doorstep on a loose puck. The goal came at 17:24 and Radko Gudas and Lars Eller had the assists.

The Caps got on the power play late in the third when Point was called for holding Garnet Hathaway. Their previous power play attempts came up empty but not this one. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored at 19:32 to tie the game. At the doorstep, Kuznetsov banged in a loose puck in front of the net, stuffing it in. Dmitry Orlov and Nicklas Backstrom had the helpers.

2-2 was the score after two periods with the Caps leading in shots 13-8. The third period was scoreless with the Caps outshooting the Bolts 11-8. In overtime, both teams came up empty as shots were even at three apiece. The Caps led in shots overall 33-28. We headed from there to a shootout.

The Round Robin allows for 3-on-3 overtime and a shootout compared to the sudden death hockey that the playoffs typically brings. In the skills challenge the Lightning elected to shoot first. Braden Holtby stopped Victor Hedman while T.J. Oshie scored on the other end. The Lightning responded in the second round thanks to a goal from Point and Kuznetsov’s attempt coming up short.

In the third round Kucherov scored while Backstrom’s attempt was no good, sealing the win for the Lightning. After the game Lightning head coach Jon Cooper had nothing but good things to say about the Caps.

“That’s a recent Stanley Cup champion. I’m shocked that people aren’t talking about the team more because they’re outstanding. They’ve got everything: size, strength, speed, skill,” said Cooper.

The Caps will take on the Philadelphia Flyers in the second game of the Round Robin on Thursday with game time still to be determined.