Capitals spank Lightning for 2nd time, 8-2|
By Ray Van Horn, Jr. Copyright 1999
The last time the Washington Capitals met the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Caps brutalized their opponents 10-1. With the Caps edging slowly towards a possible playoff bid, another romp against the rebuilding Lightning on March 2, 1999 comes as no surprise.
The scant few attendees at the Tampa Bay Ice Palace barely filled it enough to call it a minstrel's court, and the remaining faithful were treated to an 8-2 destruction at the hands of the Washington Capitals, who were looking to duplicate the antics of their last visit.
The first period alone set the stage for the game, as the Caps bombed Tampa with five goals. The soggy Lightning defense left enough holes for Capital blitzers to literally waltz to the net. Richard Zednick immediately led the Washington parade with his 6th goal of the season at just 1:25 into the game. At 2:39, Craig Berube knocked down a slapshot to dunk his fourth of the year.
Tampa answered back with a power play stuffer by Alexandre Daigle--his 5th--from a Petr Svoboda assist. However, the Caps came stomping right back on a Bondra-Svejovsky power play combo. It was "Yogi" Svejovsky's 6th goal on the year.
At that point, Tampa coach Jacques Demers yanked his goalie, Derek Wilkinson in favor of Corey Schwab. Wilkinson had only served 8:51 minutes of game time, allowing 3 goals on 6 shots. Schwab fared no better.
Schwab was upended by a blistering slapshot by Peter Bondra, the first of his two goals on the evening. To add further humiliation, former Lightning player Enrico Ciccone put in his second goal for his new team, mercifully putting an end to a riotous 5-1 first period.
Power plays figured into the second period scoring. The frustrated Lightning watched the game from the penalty box for simultaneous slashing and tripping penalties, which contributed to the next two Washington scores. Sergei Gonchar blasted his 15th goal on a 5-3 man advantaged power play. Adam Oates picked up the assist. 58 seconds later, James Black teed off from two well-timed passes from Johannson and Klee on a 5-4 advantaged power play. The goal was disputed by Tampa, but Black's 10th score on the season remained intact, making the score 7-1.
Peter Bondra, who has enjoyed great success against Tampa this year, scored his second goal of the night, and his 29th for the year on a blurry breakaway, scoring shorthanded against a Tampa power play. Johannson and Oates each picked up one more assist. The Capitals justified their 2nd place standing of team-leading second period scorers in the NHL.
The third period saw a return of Lightning goalie Wilkinson, who appeared to be getting some spit-shine time from Coach Demers. Wilkinson was solid in what seemed like a scrimmaged final period, both teams looking to end this debacle as quickly as possible. The only bright spot for Tampa was Alexandre Daigle, who lit the lamp for the second time in the last 1:16 of the game, making the final score 8-2.
The Capitals improved to 26-30-5, as they vy for a playoff spot, while the shambled and sparkless Lightning dropped to 13-42-5.
Copyright©1999 The HockeyNut