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Bruce Boudreau Gets What He Wants from His Pregame Comments

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 26:  Blair Jones #49 of the Tampa Bay Lightning battles for the puck with Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on November 26, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
Lauren BurgContributor IMarch 7, 2011

In a playoff style game with a playoff style atmosphere, the Washington Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in a shootout, taking the Lightning's losing skid to four games.

More than that though, Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau got exactly what he wanted out of his pregame comments.

Earlier on in the day, Boudreau made headlines by calling Lightning star center Steven Stamkos a "diver." He didn't stop there, also calling Steve Downie, who didn't play in this game due to re-aggravating a high ankle sprain in the Boston game Thursday night, and pretty much every other Lightning player a "diver".

This was supposed to fuel the Lightning, and for much of the game it did.

The Lightning scored first, which lately has not been a good thing for this team, early in the first period when a shot from Martin St. Louis hit Sean Bergenheim and went in. Stamkos had one of the assists on this goal, St. Louis the other.

After this goal, the game was dominated by defense until the final five minutes of the third period. At that time, Washington's Alexander Semin scored the tying goal from the left point that got past Dwayne Roloson.

The Caps had a chance to get the winning goal late in regulation but did not, much to the relief of Lightning fans everywhere.

The game then went to overtime and the two teams traded chances, with goaltenders Roloson for the Lightning and 21-year-old Braden Holtby for the Caps making a lot of big stops.

Then the game went to a shootout, which seems to be the death of this Lightning team, eerily similar to previous years.

Dominic Moore, Adam Hall and Vincent Lecavalier were all stopped by Holtby, while a goal from the Caps Alexander Ovechkin decided the game and, more likely than not, the division winners.

The Lightning now sit at 82 points, two points behind the Caps for the Southeast Division lead and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

They now look to a game Wednesday night in Tampa against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. The Bolts must win this game to avoid falling into a huge slump, one that could ultimately cost this team a playoff spot when all is said and done.

Unfortunately for the Bolts, Boudreau is also going to continue making bold statements about them, at least until they at some point backfire on him.

I'm not holding my breath.

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