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NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Washington



(Thursday, April 3rd)

Final Score: Washington 4, Tampa Bay 1

Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Alex Ovechkin's historic night helped the Washington Capitals down the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-1, at the Verizon Center.

Ovechkin scored twice in the game and his first marker, his 64th of the season, broke Luc Robitaille's record for the most goals by a left wing in a single season. Robitaille, who registered 668 goals and 726 assists over his 19-year career, scored 63 times with the Los Angeles Kings during the 1992-93 campaign.

Boyd Gordon and Tom Poti also scored for the Capitals, who have won a season- high six straight games. Viktor Kozlov and Mike Green each collected two assists, Cristobal Huet made 18 saves to pick up the win.

Ovechkin leads the league in goals (65) and points (112).

"We haven't gotten anywhere yet," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We're in the same position we were in two weeks, two months ago and it comes down to one day. Hopefully, if we win, it's in our hands. The guys have played so hard and I just want them to get rewarded.

The Capitals pulled into a tie with idle Carolina, which holds the tiebreaker thanks to one more win, for first place in the Southeast Division. Washington also leapt over idle Philadelphia for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Carolina hosts Florida on Friday in its regular-season finale, while Washington welcomes the Panthers on Saturday in their final regular season contest.

The Flyers host the New Jersey Devils on Friday and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday to finish the season.

Filip Kuba provided the offense for the Lightning, who close out their disappointing season Saturday in Atlanta. Karri Ramo allowed three goals on 39 shots in defeat.

"It's not that much fun to be a spoiler," Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis said. "You want to be in the game. Out of the playoffs, you just are trying to grab any kind of a motivation to keep pushing hard and to make it hard for other teams."

Ovechkin's power-play goal at the 7:50 mark of the third period gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead. The Russian phenom ripped a shot from the top of the left circle that deflected off the shaft of Andreas Karlsson's stick, which caused the puck to sail over the right shoulder of a stunned Ramo.

Shortly after Ovechkin's go-ahead tally, John Erskine received a double-minor for high-sticking, but Tampa Bay failed to convert on the power play.

Gordon made it 3-1 when he lifted a rebound over a sprawled Ramo with 3:17 remaining and Poti added an empty-net tally.

Kuba's sixth goal of the season gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead 39 seconds into the contest. Huet couldn't corral the puck in the crease and, as players crashed the net, Kuba found the disc and buried it over the fallen netminder.

The Caps had a goal disallowed at the 1:59 mark of the first because Tomas Fleischmann shoved a Tampa Bay defenseman into Ramo, causing the goaltender to slide out of position, but Ovechkin's record-setting 64th goal evened the score with 7:59 remaining.

The play was started by Kozlov, who drove hard to the net and fired a backhander that Ramo knocked down, but the puck laid in the low slot. Ovechkin, coming in late, managed to get his stick on the rebound and deflect it off the left skate of Tampa Bay defenseman Alexandre Picard.

Ramo made nine saves in a scoreless second, while Huet turned aside all six shots he faced.

Game Notes

The Capitals held a 20-5 edge in shots in the first period....Huet has won his last eight starts...Washington recorded its first six-game winning streak since January 8-19, 2001...Ovechkin now has 11 game-winning goals this season...Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier left the game in the third period with a right shoulder injury and did not return.

04/03 23:35:29 ET


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