Capitals

Stamkos nets 4th goal, Lightning beat Panthers 5-2

201301291934704683921-p2.jpeg

Stamkos nets 4th goal, Lightning beat Panthers 5-2

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Steven Stamkos scored his fourth goal of the season and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 5-2 on Tuesday night.

Tampa Bay, which has won five of six to start the year, also got goals from Cory Conacher, Tom Pyatt, Dana Tyrell and Vincent Lecavalier. Stamkos, who led the NHL with 60 goals last season, has 11 points during a season-opening six-game point streak this year.

Peter Mueller and Tomas Fleischmann scored for the Panthers, who have lost five in a row after a season-opening win over Carolina. Florida has been outscored 23-5 during its skid.

Stamkos put the Lightning up 1-0 on a power-play goal at 11:09 of the first. The man advantage came after Panthers defenseman Keaton Ellerby received two minor penalties, a fighting major and 10-minute misconduct following a fight with Tampa Bay right wing B.J. Crombeen, who had tripped a Florida player. Crombeen was given one minor penalty and a fighting major.

The Panthers tied it just 15 seconds after Stamkos' goal when Mueller scored after Lightning goalie Anders Lindback misplayed the puck behind his net.

Tampa Bay went up 2-1 when Conacher, while being held from behind by Florida defenseman Mike Weaver, skated down the slot and beat goalie Jose Theodore with 7:11 left in the first.

Second-period goals by Pyatt and Tyrell extended the Lightning's lead to 4-1. Tyrell stopped a personal 38-game goal drought.

After Lecavalier had a power-play goal 14:13 into the third, Fleischmann scored on a short-handed breakaway 18 seconds later. The Lightning have outscored their opposition 14-2 during the third period this season.

Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis had an assist. The right wing has nine assists and 12 points overall.

NOTES: Stamkos has a six-game goal streak against the Panthers. ... Florida LW Kris Versteeg (groin) played for first time this season. ... Conacher, in his rookie season, has at least one point in five of six games this year. ... The Panthers recalled C Drew Shore from San Antonio of the AHL.

Quick Links

Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

usatsi_10360906.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

Free agency does not start until July 1, but John Carlson's agent is already taking calls from other interested teams.

The interview period began at 12 a.m. on Sunday morning, which means teams are now able to reach out to any potential free agents, but no contracts can be signed until July 1. While Brian MacLellan said Friday that a new deal with Carlson to keep him in Washington was "really close," Carlson's agent, Rick Curran, has made it clear there was no deal in place yet as of Sunday.

So does this mean Carlson now has one foot out the door?

Not necessarily.

At this point in the negotiation, Carlson has a major advantage and that advantage is time. Sunday's interview period is just another way to hold the Caps' feet to the fire. The closer we get to July 1, the more pressure the team is under to get a deal done.

But the Caps still have some leverage too.

“I love it here and all that,” Carlson said during on breakdown day. “I want to stay here, but there's more to it than that.”

By rule, as his current team, the Caps are the only team that can offer Carlson an eight-year deal.

So Carlson may have turned up the heat a few degrees on the Caps, but it's not time for fans to worry just yet.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Nationals look to avoid sweep against Phillies on Sunday night

Nationals look to avoid sweep against Phillies on Sunday night

WASHINGTON -- Having already won their first series at Nationals Park since April 2016, the Philadelphia Phillies will go for the sweep of Washington on Sunday night.

Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta (4-6, 4.08 ERA) faces Nationals right-hander Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 4.66).

Pivetta was drafted by the Nationals in 2013 and went to the Phillies in 2015 as part of the Jonathan Papelbon trade.

After struggling for three straight starts -- giving up 13 runs in 14 innings -- Pivetta allowed two runs and four hits in 7 1/3 innings of a no-decision against the St. Louis Cardinals last time out, striking out a career-high 13 batters.

"That's some of the best stuff I've seen him have all year," catcher Andrew Knapp told mlb.com. "The curveball was electric."

Pivetta got 11 swings and misses with the curveball.

"It was nice to have it back," Pivetta told mlb.com. "It all started with my delivery. I was staying up through it, not trying to rush too much and it worked out."

It his first start -- and second big-league appearance -- the 24-year-old Rodriguez picked up a win against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. He allowed five runs, four hits and three walks in five innings.

Rodriguez and Satuday's losing pitcher, Erick Fedde, are filling in for injured starters Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson.

The Phillies have outscored the Nationals 17-5 in the fist two games of the series. On Saturday, Maikel Franco had four hits and Carlos Santana homered to back Aaron Nola in a 5-3 victory.

"That was just a tremendous all-around baseball game," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said of Franco. "It's so interesting how we've been looking for him to be not just a hitter but a defender and a baserunner and an all-around athlete."

Franco drove in a run and scored twice, including the go-ahead run when he scored just ahead of the tag on Jesmuel Valentin's sacrifice fly.

The Phillies, who have won six of seven, pounded out double-digit hits for the second day in a row in Washington.

"They have a lot of patient hitters," Fedde said of the Phillies. "I think that's what makes it tough. Guys aren't swinging at bunch of junk, so you have to attack them."

The Phillies have now won four straight series for the first time since May 2016 and are 2-0 in what will be a stretch of 10 games against the Nationals and the New York Yankees.

Anthony Rendon homered and Daniel Murphy had a two-run single for Washington, which has lost three of four while scoring nine runs.

"Look, I've got all the confidence in the world we're going to start hitting," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "We'll start scoring some runs. Right now, the bullpen is a little beat up. We've got to get them going again."

Rendon is doing his part. In his las 15 games, he is batting .382 with seven doubles, two homers and 12 RBIs.

Hellickson (right groin strain) will make a rehab start Sunday for Class A Potomac and then is expected to rejoin the Nationals' rotation.

Hernandez said first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (right oblique strain) is about a week from beginning a rehab assignment.