|Date of game: 4/13/2014
Recap: Washington vs. Tampa Bay
Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - It took a little extra to do so, but the Tampa Bay Lightning will be beginning the playoffs at home.
Anders Lindback stopped 18 shots through regulation and overtime, then turned back all three Washington skaters in the shootout to give the Lightning a 1-0 win that secured home-ice advantage for their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Matt Carle potted the lone goal during the deciding phase to help Tampa Bay (46-27-9) finish a point ahead of Montreal for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Lightning and Canadiens will square off in the best-of-seven opening round.
"I feel like in a lot of ways they're a similar team to us," said Lindback of the Canadiens. "They're fast, a lot of skilled guys and they move the puck really well. Obviously they have great goaltending. It's going to be for sure a good matchup and tough games."
Washington (38-30-14), out of the playoffs for the first time since 2007, had a four-game win streak halted despite Braden Holtby's 32-save effort.
"We were never able to kind of get into a rhythm, throw together a good run of games, collect and stockpile points at any one time," Caps forward Troy Brouwer said of the team's disappointing season. "We had to battle for them in little chunks here and there. As a result, we are handing out our jerseys and going home for the summer today."
Both goaltenders were superb through 65 minutes of play to bring about the shootout, which began with Lindback stopping Evgeny Kuznetsov on a low forehand attempt before Carle snapped a shot between Holtby's pads.
Alex Ovechkin then tried a between-the-legs trick shot that landed right in Lindback's breadbasket, but Holtby kept the Capitals alive with a left-pad save on Michael Kostka. Nicklas Backstrom fired wide of the net to open the third round, however, to give Tampa Bay the important extra point.
The game remained deadlocked through two periods despite the Lightning dominating play for much of the way, registering 23 shots to the Capitals' seven. A busy Holtby kept his team in it, however, by making 11 saves in the opening frame and 12 more during a penalty-free second.
Washington stepped up its attack in the third, putting up 11 shots and testing Lindback during an early power play in which the Tampa netminder made strong kick saves on Backstrom and Brouwer.
"You want your goalie to make all of the saves he should. Sometimes he's got to make a save or two that he probably shouldn't," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper remarked. "He came up big and held us in there until we got to the shootout, and then I guess it's only fitting that he shuts the door on the three. I'm really proud of him in one sense and really happy for him in another."
Later on, Holtby thwarted a one-timer from Ryan Callahan on a 3-on-2 rush with just over three minutes left to eventually force OT.
Tampa Bay registered the only shot during the five-minute overtime session.Game Notes
The Lightning had lost five straight to the Caps and were 0-2-4 at the Verizon
Center since last winning there on Jan. 4, 2011 ... Washington set a franchise
record for shootouts in a season (21) and went 10-11 in such finishes ... The
Lightning were 8-6 in shootouts ... Ovechkin will take home his fourth career
Rocket Richard Trophy and second straight after leading the NHL with 51 goals
... Lindback's shutout was the third of his career, with the other two coming
during his rookie campaign with Nashville in 2010-11 ... Lightning forward
Ryan Malone, arrested for DUI and possession of cocaine in Tampa early
Saturday morning, did not make the trip, while teammate Teddy Purcell missed a
second straight game due to illness ... Washington forward Peter LeBlanc made
his NHL debut.