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St. Louis, Lightning skate by Capitals
TAMPA, Fla. — Close in goals and close in shots, it was obvious Washington and Tampa Bay were two teams rich with young talent coveting two points in the tight Eastern Conference.
The question was who would come through when their teams needed it most.
The answer definitely was not either team’s goaltenders.
Capitals goalie Olie Kolzig pointed the finger back at himself following last night’s 5-4 loss to the Lightning.
Kolzig allowed five goals on 25 shots and Lightning goaltender Johan Holmqvist gave up four goals in 22 in a game that was ruled by shooters.
“The team played terrific,” Kolzig said. “The goalie let them down tonight. I didn’t make the saves when I needed to make them.”
The Lightning’s Martin St. Louis scored the game-winning goal at the 3:22 mark of the third when he tipped in a pass from Vaclav Prospal, who pounced on a giveaway, digging the puck off the boards behind Kolzig and sending it behind him in front of the net.
“They’re good behind the net but it’s not like I’ve never played against them before,” Kolzig said. “I was just out of sync, that’s all I can say. It was one of those nights and the team almost bailed me out. I didn’t come up with the saves I needed to make and the team came away with no points because of it.”
Alexander Semin led Washington with two goals. Ben Clymer and Chris Clark scored the others. Alex Ovechkin had two assists.
The Caps remained upbeat despite starting their eight-day, four-game road trip with a loss.
Washington remained at 45 points and fell out of the eighth playoff spot, which now belongs to the Lightning. Toronto has 46 points after its win Thursday, but has two fewer wins than Tampa Bay.
“It was just an enjoyable game,” Caps coach Glen Hanlon said. “We thought it was well played. The fans want to see scoring and we had a lot of skill out there. … We lost because we let up five goals.”
Tampa Bay center Ryan Craig gave the Lightning the 1-0 lead roughly five minutes into the contest with a glove side wraparound goal on Kolzig. It was Craig’s 11th goal of the season.
Picking on the Lightning’s worst-in-the-league penalty kill, Semin tied the game with a power play goal from the point on a feed across the blue line from Ovechkin.
Semin’s shot deflected off Lightning right wing St. Louis and slipped by Holmqvist’s stick side.
By Brahma Chellaney
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