Caps try to keep streaking vs. Lightning

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals hope to match their longest winning streak of the season when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning for Tuesday's battle at Amalie Arena.

Washington has won the first two tilts of a three-game road trip, notching victories at Carolina and New Jersey. Another win tonight would allow the Capitals to complete a perfect swing and give them their second three-game winning streak of the season, following a run from Nov. 7-11.

After posting a 2-1 win over the Hurricanes on Thursday, the Caps downed the Devils 4-1 in Saturday's clash at Prudential Center. Jay Beagle tallied the game-winner in the second period, as Washington breezed to the win in the Garden State.

Brooks Laich posted a goal and an assist while Joel Ward added a pair of helpers. Karl Alzner and Evgeny Kuznetsov also scored for the Capitals and Braden Holtby stopped 33 shots for the win.

"When the game was tight we played our best hockey," Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said. "That's when we are comfortable."

Washington is 7-5-1 as the visiting team this season. After tonight, the Caps return to D.C. for a two-game homestand against Columbus and Tampa before playing three straight and six of seven on the road.

The Capitals and Lightning spent years battling in the NHL's old Southeast Division, but the clubs are now members of the Eastern Conference's Metropolitan and Atlantic Divisions, respectively.

Tuesday's tilt marks the second of three scheduled meetings between the teams in 2014-15. Tampa recorded a 4-3 regulation win on home ice on Nov. 1 behind a 35-save effort from Ben Bishop. The Bolts have claimed two straight in the series overall and five of the past seven in Tampa.

The clubs will meet Saturday in Washington to complete the season series.

Tampa enters Tuesday tied with Detroit atop the Atlantic standings, but the first-place club has lost two of three on the heels of a four-game winning streak.

The Bolts split a home-and-home series with Buffalo before losing 3-1 Saturday against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves and to anchor the Jackets, while Tampa's only goal came late in regulation.

Boone Jenner and David Savard scored first-period goals for the Blue Jackets and Bishop ended with 20 saves on just 23 shots. Ondrej Palat spoiled Bobrovsky's shutout with 1:13 left in the game.

"Most nights our offense is there, but it dried up tonight," said Lightning wing Ryan Callahan.

Tampa suffered only its third home loss of the season, falling to 11-3-1 as the host. The Bolts will cap a four-game homestand Thursday against Carolina.

Bishop is expected to start tonight and he is 1-2-1 with a 4.14 goals against average in five career games against Washington. Holtby will likely get the call for Washington and owns a 3-2-1 record with a lifetime 3.48 GAA in this series.