As always, Saturday night hockey will be a busy one with 12 games scheduled for tonight. On Friday, the match-up of the night was the Anaheim Ducks’ Corey Perry taking on the Dallas Stars’ Tyler Seguin. The Ducks walked away with a 2-1 victory thanks to a goal and an assist from Perry, so the match-up win goes to him.
Tonight, two of the great goal scorers in hockey square off as Alex Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals take on Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The Capitals, under new coach Barry Trotz, are off to a so-so start with a record of 4-3-2 and this could be due to adjusting to a new style of play with more of an onus on playing defence, which Trotz was known for in his days behind the Nashville bench. They’ve also seen a recent dip in production from their biggest offensive gun Ovechkin.
After earning six points – five of which were goals – in his first four games, Ovechkin has been ice cold in his last five games with zero points and the Caps have lost three of those five games, while one of their wins was in the shootout over a bad Florida Panthers squad. Defence is great, but you need to put the puck in the net to win hockey games, so ‘Ovi’ needs to figure things out fast.
On the other side of the ice is Steven Stamkos, arguably the best goal scorer in the NHL and he’s not struggling one bit. After missing 45 games last season with a broken leg, the Lightning centre returned to close out the season on a high note. That momentum has followed through into this season and Stamkos is making goaltender’s lives miserable once again. He has 12 points in 11 games, eight of which are goals and the Lightning have established themselves as an early Stanley Cup contender. No one in the NHL has shot the puck more than Stamkos and there’s a very good chance that won’t change during the season, so expect to see the puck on his stick a lot tonight when the Lightning enter the Capitals’ zone.
Two goal scorers, one is on fire, while the other is an ice cube, who takes this match-up?
Prediction: Fire melts ice and that’s exactly what Stamkos and the Lightning are going to do to the Capitals. Stamkos will score at least one goal; look for two, and the Lightning will walk away with a big home win over the Capitals, improving their home record to 5-1-1 and increasing their winning streak to three games. Ryan Callahan, who is making his return to the Lightning line-up, will give them an added spark and Braden Holtby will be shaking his head after being pelted with shot after shot.