The skid continues.
The Tampa Bay Lightning spotted a three-goal lead to the the suddenly resurgent Washington Capitals and despite another furious third period comeback attempt, they fell just short and were unable to claim even a point at home on Thursday night.
The loss drops the Bolts to 0-5-1 in their last six games after opening the season 6-1. Tampa Bay now also has a losing record (6-6-1) for the first time in 2013 and sits four points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the lead in the Southeast Division.
With expected starting goaltender Anders Lindback nursing an illness, backup netminder Mathieu Garon got the start against the Capitals and, as is often the case with Lightning goaltending, was solid if unspectacular.
Garon was hung out to dry a bit in the second period and early part of the third after the first frame ended in a 1-1 tie.
Eric Fehr gave Washington the lead for good in the second period after a Teddy Purcell snap shot went wide and caromed all the way back to the other end of the ice behind Garon. Two Lightning defenders chased it back there and were outhustled by the Capitals forecheck as the puck was popped out in front of a helpless Garon where Fehr buried it for a 2-1 lead.
Fehr then scored his second of the game on a long slap shot that Garon probably should have had, however, the rush that led to the goal was again created by a Purcell mishandle of the puck in the offensive zone and a quick Capitals counterattack.
The lead jumped to 4-1 off a goal from Jay Beagle off a scrum in front where several Lightning players had the opportunity to clear the front of the net off a rebound and failed to do so.
The ill-fated rally began with about 8 minutes remaining in the game, as Teddy Purcell made up for earlier errors with a harmless goal line backhand that trickled through Holtby and made the the game 4-2.
Nate Thompson followed that up with a breakaway goal when Braden Holtby tried to skate out and take the puck away with Thompson looking down. Holtby's gambit failed and Thompson slid the puck in the net unhindered to make it a 4-3 game and bring up memories of Tuesday night's 3-goal comeback against the Montreal Canadiens.
However, the Bolts were unable to find an equalizer in the final minutes and will now regroup as they prepare for a road tilt against the Florida Panthers on Saturday afternoon.
Puck drops at 3PM EST for that game as the Bolts will look to get back in the winning column for the first time since February 1.
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