The Washington Capitals’ backup goalie, Philipp Grubauer, has had it rough so far this season. However, he landed his first win tonight as the Capitals (13-10-1) defeated the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 at Capital One Arena.
By Glynn Cosker
DCpuckDrop Managing Editor
It didn’t look so great for Philipp Grubauer at the beginning of tonight’s match-up against the Lightning (16-4-2) when he allowed a power-play goal after just 82 seconds, but the Capitals’ backup netminder finally secured his first win of the season Friday in Washington. Grubauer made some great stops as the Caps beat the best team in the NHL 3-1 and ended up as the first star of the game with 25 saves.
Grubauer Starts The First Game In A Capitals Back-To-Back
Grubauer entered the night at 0-5-1, and most of those losses came after poor performances by his team-mates in the second game of a Capitals’ back-to-back outing. This time around, though, the German started in the first game of Washington’s latest back-to-back series, and the bold move by Capitals head coach Barry Trotz paid off. The Capitals take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on the road Saturday night.
“My parents are in town again,” Grubauer stated after the game. “It was a great team effort. We didn’t give them much. If you play like that you are going to be up there with [Tampa Bay]. Every game we play we learn from our mistakes. That is the goal; for the most part we have figured it out.”
Vladislav Namestnikov scored Tampa Bay’s goal – his 10th goal of the season – with assists from Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman.
Ovechkin, Backstrom Combine For More Points
It was another slow start for the Capitals as they took more than six minutes to record their first shot and failed to convert on several solid scoring opportunities including a couple of two-on-one breakaways. However, the Capitals’ luck turned when captain Alex Ovechkin slammed home from the left point to equal things up 1-1 with 1:24 left in the first period for his 15th goal of the season. Nicklas Backstrom, playing his second straight game on the same line as Ovechkin, got an assist on the goal – along with Tom Wilson. The Caps ended the period out-shooting the Lightning 16-7, which looked unlikely through the first 10 minutes of the stanza. The points from Ovechkin and Backstrom in two straight games should hopefully solidify their continued pairing for the foreseeable future.
Beagle Hits A Milestone
Jay Beagle also had a good night for the Capitals, assisting on Washington’s second goal with 5:24 left in the second period to record his 100th career NHL point. Beagle’s shot rebounded off goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Devante Smith-Pelly scored from close range for his third goal of the season. Beagle then completed his best game this term by scoring an empty-netter with just over two minutes left in the third to complete the 3-1 Capitals win.
Other game notes: The Capitals out-shot Tampa Bay 38-26; Ovechkin had nine shots on goal and Lars Eller had five; the Capitals were in the penalty box six times (12 minutes) but only allowed one goal on the penalty kill; The Lightning’s superstar Steven Stamkos ended the night with just one shot on goal and a minus-2 plus/minus rating; Tampa Bay’s defensemen Braydon Coburn played in his 800th career game against the Capitals. The Capitals have now won eight out of their last 12 games; they go on the road Saturday to Toronto but will then enjoy six games out of seven at home through Dec. 12.