While the Washington Capitals are in search of their second straight Southeast Division title, the Tampa Bay Lightning continue to play out the string en route to the NHL Draft Lottery. However, there may be some fireworks on tap.
The last time these two teams faced each other was the now-infamous game where Alexander Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the campaign, following up his season milestone with a celebration that left a bad taste in the mouth of some Lightning players and coaches and members of the media.
While Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau stated at the time that he would, ‘talk to Ovechkin' about his showmanship, he was in no mood to discuss potential retribution at practice on Thursday.
"It's 10 friggin days since it happened," an irate Boudreau told reporters. "We have talked to Tampa's coaches, we have said our speech. The people that are bringing the crap up are you guys. Nobody cares about it anymore. You guys want to bring it up because you want to see a riot, then you want to talk about retribution. It's the dumbest thing in the world. You gotta have better stuff to talk about."
The reigning Jack Adams Award winner was not done there, as he continued to blame the Canadian media for creating a story where he believed that there was none.
"You guys coming from Toronto to find out an answer on retribution where there should be no retribution at all," he continued. "He scored his 50th goal in a zero-zero game. It wasn't 8-0 where he made a mockery. If Tampa scores a couple of goals and wants to do a celebration, go for it. We have talked to everybody we can talk about. It's a done deal as far as I'm concerned."
Lightning interim coach Rick Tocchet was quite vocal with his unhappiness with Ovechkin's antics, telling reporters following the game that Ovechkin had 'gone down a notch in his books'.
When asked again about it his stance softened somewhat.
"It's kind of blown out of proportion," Tocchet told reporters at Lightning practice Thursday. "The only thing I was upset about was that he did it by our crease, in front of the goalie.
"You want to do it, do it by their bench. Sure, you like to see players react, but reacting is beating Washington and playing abrasive. It's not being stupid. That's the way I coach. Just play hard. Washington's got our number and we've got to see if we can win a game. They've spanked us pretty good this year."
Not everyone involved in the game was so kind.
Former Philadelphia Flyers star Bob Clarke had plenty of strong words for Ovechkin when he appeared on TSN's 'Off the Record' Tuesday.
"It made me want to puke," Clarke told Michael Landsberg. "It was horrible, just selfish, just trying to attract attention to himself. His teammates didn't want nothing to do with him."
Ovechkin himself did not expect to see retribution for his previous display, but stated that he was ready if any Lightning player decided they would like to even the score.
"If somebody wants to hit me, with pleasure, I'm always ready," the jovial star told TSN. "I don't care what's going to happen. I'm ready for everything. I don't think it's going to be some war, fights, hits, lots of hits. It's going to be a normal hockey game."