Washington Capitals drop first regulation game to Lightning

Lars Eller, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Lars Eller, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Capitals have finally lost a game in regulation. It came on Monday night on the road against the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 3-2 defeat. The team nearly came back and tied it. The loss drops the Caps record to 5-1-3.

In just his second NHL game, Brett Leason scored his first career goal. It came on a long range wrist shot that was deflected in off a Lightning defender. Nick Jensen had the assist. Speaking of rookies from the 2019 draft class, Aliaksei Protas made his NHL debut. 1-0 was the score after one with the Caps leading in shots 11-8.

Alex Killorn tied the game at one at 3:18 and the Bolts took the lead at 8:40 with a power play goal from Anthony Cirelli. 2-1 was the score after two with shots even in the second period at 12 apiece.

Brayden Point gave the Bolts the lead at 2:56. The Caps would score on the power play at 11:38. John Carlson found Evgeny Kuznetsov on the side of the boards. Kuznetsov then found Conor Sheary in front of the net and he banged it in to put the Caps within one. That would be as close as they’d get despite outshooting the Lightning 10-6 in the third and 33-26 overall.

Vitek Vanecek got the start in goal and made 23 saves on the 26 shots he faced for a .885 save percentage. The Caps just, once again, couldn’t solve Andrei Vasilevskiy who made 31 saves on 33 shots.

Peter Laviolette said this after the game:

"“Their goalie played well. I like the game we played. We did a lot of good things. It’s difficult because it’s a game that you feel you came out the right way and do the right things and (then) you’re fighting some things that happened throughout the course of the game.”"

Lars Eller added:

"“It’s frustrating. But that’s our team; we set the bar high. There’s no excuses; we hate losing. It’s an empty feeling right now.”"

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The Caps will look to bounce back on Thursday night in the second and final game of their Sunshine State road trip against the red hot Florida Panthers.