For a Tampa Bay team desperately trying to remain relevant in the Eastern Conference playoff race, Steven Stamkos tallied his NHL-leading 40th goal of the season as the Lightning defeated the Washington Capitals by a score of 2-1 on Saturday night.
Tom Pyatt's rebound goal just 2:10 in the game got the Lightning off to a fast start, and some nice stick work by Stamkos brought the fans to their feet in the second period. Playing in front of his home crowd at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Stamkos intercepted a wayward Capital pass at the Lightning blue line before taking the puck in past goalie Tomas Vokoun for the breakaway goal and a 2-0 lead. Only 22-years old, the talented Stamkos is already making his mark in the record books of his franchise, becoming the first Tampa Bay player to ever register three consecutive seasons with at least 40 goals scored.
The Capitals cut into the lead after a Brooks Laich score midway through the second period, but Tampa Bay managed to hold on behind some gritty defensive play and 23 saves from Lightning goalie Mathieu Garon.
Next up for the Lightning is a home tilt Tuesday night against the Anaheim Ducks. Currently sitting in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, the Tampa will look to win their third game in a row and put some pressure on the teams ahead of them in the playoff hunt.