TORONTO – The Tampa Bay Lighting beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in a shootout in the team's round-robin opener on Monday.
Goals from Nikita Kucherov and Mitchell Stephens gave Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead through the middle of the second period. But the Lightning blew the lead at the end of the second period after allowing goals from the Capitals’ Richard Panik and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Tampa Bay survived the shootout after goals from Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point. TJ Oshie scored the only goal for Washington.
Bolts head coach Jon Cooper pointed out that this isn't a playoff win, which is technically correct. But it is a postseason win, and the intensity was still high.
"It felt like a playoff game out there," Lightning forward Yanni Gourde said. "There was a lot of hitting. There was a lot of intensity. Ending in a shootout is a little bit different, but I felt like the atmosphere out there was playoff."
Stephens tallied his first postseason goal and was a key factor in Tampa Bay's faceoff game.
"It was a pretty cool feeling for sure," Stephens said. "To help the team in any way possible. To bring energy, to bring speed and faceoffs."
The Bolts play the Boston Bruins Wednesday, August 5 at 4 p.m. and will play the team's round-robin finale against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
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