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Striking quickly: Lightning chase Holtby from Caps net in 11 minutes

Braden Holtby

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals reacts after giving up a goal in the second period of Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 28, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

To put things mildly, the Washington Capitals didn’t get off to a strong start against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Just ask Braden Holtby and Mike Green.

Holtby, 24, was pulled 11:07 into the first period after allowing three goals on just eight shots. This continues a season of highs and lows for the Capitals goalie, who was also yanked on Oct. 4, Oct. 27 and Dec. 3.

Green, 28, deserves plenty of the blame, though.

He received a double-minor for hi-sticking 2:14 in (Martin St. Louis scored on the power play 12 seconds later), a tripping penalty 9:07 in (Nikita Kucherov added another power-play goal) and then received a misconduct for hi-sticking Tyler Johnson at the 11:42 mark of the first period. Yikes.

If Caps fans need reasons for optimism, at least this little meltdown came early. Alex Ovechkin already cut the deficit down to 3-1 later on in the first period, so perhaps the Caps will storm back into this one.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins