The records just keep falling for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Last nights 6-3 win over the Washington Capitals gave the Lightning 55 wins on the season a new franchise record.
The Lightning propelled by an Alex Killorn hat trick and and two assists by Nikita Kucherov out hit and out skated the Capitals to win 6-3. The Lightning are now 55-13-4 on the season with ten games remaining.
Kucherov with 115 points is on pace for to finish the season the season with 130 points.
The Lightning got on the board early and built a 2-0 lead on goals by Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn and never looked back. The Lightning played one of their better games of the season on dismantling the Capitals.
The Lightning out hit the Capitals and matched the Capitals team speed in neutralizing the Capitals attack. When Alex Ovechkin is on the team though you will not shut him down, you just hope to neutralize him and keep him in check.
Ovechkin ended the night with two of the Capitals three goals with one goal coming on the power play.
Whether any one will admit it or not, this was what you would call a measuring stick game for the Lightning. After losing to the Capitals in seven games in last years Eastern Conference finals, the Lightning wanted to send a message that this was not the same old Lightning team.
That message was sent. From the opening puck drop until the final goal with two seconds to go, the Lightning out skated, out muscled , and out hit the Capitals. That was not the case last spring when the Capitals imposed their will on this Lightning team and bounced them from the playoffs.
Andrei Vasilevskiy was outstanding in goal aas he made a series of incredible saves on the Capitals power play in the third period.
Tom Wilson of the Capitals proved to be his usual annoying self as he nailed Michael Sergachev into the boards early on in the first period and caused Sergachev to miss the rest of the period.
Sergachev did return in the second period and had no ill effects the rest of the way. At some point the league is going to have to do something about Mr. Wilson.
Every team in the league seems to have an issue with his style of play. When you play like Wilson does with inten to injure, the league needs to do something about that. Hopefully the league will look at this more closely as the playoffs approach.
As the season winds down and the Lightning continue to chase the all-time record for wins in NHL history, the Lightning need to win eight of the last ten to establish a new NHL record with 63 wins in a season.
If the Lightning can win eight games the rest of the way that would give them 130 points which would be the second best all-time in NHL history behind the 77-78 Montreal Canadiens.
That will be challenging as the Lightning play four games this week with three on the road. The Lightning alre also playing teams that are fighting for a playoff spot or trying to secure a better playoff position.
The Lightning will host Arizona on Monday night before a rematch with the Capitals on Wednesday night. The Lightning will wrap up the week with visits to Carolina and St. Louis.