Backstrom bolts Lightning

The first period started out very well for the Caps, if, perhaps, like an extension of the prior game.  Bishop was definitely on, and was called on to make a number of good saves.

Tampa didn't get many chances, though one of those found the back of the net, when Stamkos put in a pass from behind the net.  But Callahan was called for incidental contact with Holtby (he did remove Holtby from the net, unquestionably), getting the goal (and shot, which would have been their first) called back.

I'd like to say that the relative times on the power play had a lot to do with the massive shot imbalance in the period (12-2 Caps).  But I'm not sure it did, since a) the Caps got, I believe, only one shot on those power plays and b) Tampa got a couple of short-handed chances, though I can't remember if those chances resulted in shots on net.

Regardless, it all felt very familiar.

The second period did not get going well at all.  First, Green was called on an iffy slash a couple minutes in.  No goal allowed, but they did get several shots on net (and, probably, several more blocked).  Then, Green got called again, this time for hooking, a couple minutes later.  That led to a scrum in which OV found himself called for roughing.

It was the Caps first time on the season, being down two men, and it wasn't fun.  But they managed to kill off the whole penalty without damage (with one incredible save by Holtby assisted by Orpik blocking the swing of a shot with his skate.  With his back turned), and then proceeeded to take it to Tampa.

It took a couple minutes for that to bear fruit, but Backstrom picked up the rebound of Schmidt's shot from the point, and backhanded it under the crossbar for the lead.  Eight minutes later, Wilson's initial shot was stopped, but OV knocked it from under Bishop before the whistle blew, and Backstrom picked up the trash and stuffed it into the net to double the lead.

Early in the third, the top line got a 3-on-2, with Backstrom carrying into the zone and handing off to OV.  He continued his rush down the middle, while OV went down the wing, when OV passed back to him.  Backstrom fought off the backchecker (by turning sideways to the net), and managed to throw the puck all the way to the edge of the goal on OV's side.  Bishop was already down, and covering the near side of the net by the time Backstrom let it go.

And it looked, for quite a while, like that's where the game would effectively end, with Backstrom getting his first regular-season hat trick and owning the scoresheet.  I came within a hair's breadth of turning the game off with five or six minutes left.

But Tampa fought back, scoring with 4:21 left and again with 2:31 left, both with Bishop on the bench.

That led to a tense couple of minutes, until Fehr intercepted a pass across the middle at Tampa's blue line, and calmly shoved it into the net to ice the victory.

Despite giving up three goals, Bishop played a hell of a game and probably didn't deserve to lose.  But the Caps certainly deserved the win, and it was good to see them bring it home.

Next up for Washington is a date with Florida in Sunrise, at sunset tonight.  Go Caps!

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