There has been little to get excited about in Washington since Tampa Bay winger Martin St. Louis ended the Capitals’ playoff run last April.
The struggling Capitals will look for a measure of revenge when they visit the undefeated Lightning.
St. Louis’ power-play goal at 4:03 of the third overtime gave the Lightning a 2-1 series-ending victory over the Capitals in Game 6 of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series. After losing the first two games of the series at home, Tampa Bay won four straight.
The Lightning were eliminated in the next round of the playoffs by the eventual champion New Jersey Devils, but Tampa Bay has used last season’s playoff success as a springboard for this season’s fast start.
The Lightning are the NHL’s only undefeated team and lead the Southeast Division with 15 points.
The NHL record for the longest undefeated streak to start the season is a 15-game run (12-0-3) by the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.
The Lightning’s eight-game unbeaten streak is the longest in franchise history to open a season.
The Capitals are at the opposite end of the spectrum.
“The players need to be more accountable for themselves and their teammates,” Washington coach Bruce Cassidy said. “It’s ridiculous. I’m fed up with it.”
The Capitals have scored two goals or less in nine of their 11 games. Washington is winless in seven road games (0-6-1).