TAMPA, Fla. – All-stars Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis were kept off the scoresheet but Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson helped make sure it didn’t matter.
Roloson made 23 saves for his second shutout this month against Washington as the Lightning beat the Capitals 3-0 on Wednesday night in a matchup of Southeast Division leaders.
“Do I need to talk? I can just smile,” Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. “You know what? He makes so many saves look easy and they’re not.”
Roloson, acquired in a New Year’s Day trade with the New York Islanders, had a 1-0, overtime win over Washington in his Lightning debut Jan. 4.
“The result is the same, but at the same time you’ve got to give my teammates a lot of credit,” Roloson said. “Our defensive corps to our forwards, they played unreal tonight.”
Dominic Moore, Sean Bergenheim and Simon Gagne scored for the Lightning, who have won seven-of-10 to build a two-point lead over Washington. Tampa Bay has missed the playoffs each of the past three seasons, while the Capitals are the three-time defending division champs.
“We’re going to stay humble,” Bergenheim said. “This was a great win, but we’ve got another game Friday and by then we’ll definitely forgot about this.”
Washington goalie Semyon Varlamov faced 38 shots. He had allowed six goals in his previous five games (4-0-1).
“It’s tough when you’ve got a team that’s used to scoring,” said Washington coach Bruce Boudreau. “There’s a lot of things not going right for them and they’re pressing really hard.
“But it’s not for a lack of want and will.”
The Capitals are 6-1-3 over their past 10 games.
Moore put the Lightning up 1-0 with an in-close goal 3:58 into the game. Bergenheim made it 2-0 from the low slot with 3:56 left in the first.
Washington has been outscored 39-27 in the first this season and is 12-12-3 when the opponent scores first. The Capitals fell behind 3-0 before losing 4-3 in overtime against Florida on Tuesday night.
“You can’t always expect to come back in games,” Capitals defenceman Scott Hannan said. “I think we just weren’t ready at the start and it cost us two games.”
The Lightning went ahead 3-0 when Gagne stopped a personal 11-game goal drought during a 2-on-1 break at 18:18 of the second.
Tampa Bay defenceman Mattias Ohlund was penalized for cross-checking Washington star Alex Ovechkin with 7:08 to go in the first. Ovechkin ended the Capitals’ second and final power-play of the game after 22 seconds when he received a slashing penalty.
Ovechkin has only two power-play goals this season. Washington has converted three of its last 36 man-advantage opportunities.
“When they scored that first one, we knew we were in for a tough night,” Boudreau said.
Roloson got an assist on Moore’s game-opening goal.
Notes: Stamkos has one assist over the last six games. … Washington D Tom Poti left after one shift in the second with a lower-body injury. … Ohlund went plus-3 in the game. … Ovechkin has three goals in his last 15 games. … Washington LW Alexander Semin missed his second straight game due to a lower-body injury. He had six goals and two assists in three earlier games this season against Tampa Bay. … Bergenheim (illness) didn’t play in the previous two games. … Capitals C Boyd Gordon returned after sitting out 11 games with a toe injury.