NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Washington
(Friday, March 27th)
Final Score: Washington 5, Tampa Bay 3
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Alex Ovechkin posted two goals and two assists as Washington topped Tampa Bay, 5-3, at Verizon Center.
Nicklas Backstrom added two goals and a helper for the Capitals, who snapped a two-game slide and moved into second place in the Eastern Conference with 99 points. New Jersey, which lost in overtime to Chicago on Friday, is one point behind Washington.
Brooks Laich recorded three assists and Jose Theodore stopped 33 shots to post his 29th win of the season.
"We obviously want to be the best, and as long as we play the way we can we'll usually win games," Washington's Mike Green said. "Tonight was a tough game for us: they played well, they made it really difficult, but I thought we played a good hockey game tonight."
Martin St. Louis registered a goal and two assists for the Lightning, who have dropped five of their last six games. Steven Stamkos and Vinny Prospal also lit the lamp and Mike McKenna made 34 saves in the setback.
"For the amount of penalties we took, I thought we battled and made a game out of it," St. Louis said. "We played hard tonight, and unfortunately we didn't get the result. I think if we play like that, with that desperation and intensity game in and game out, I'll be very happy."
Jeff Halpern looked like he knotted the game on a wraparound power-play goal 2 1/2 minutes into the third period, but coincidental minors wiped out the score.
Just 29 seconds later, Prospal caught Theodore leaning off the near post and beat him with a fluttering wrister for a 3-3 game, but Pothier's sizzling slapper from below the right circle hit a Tampa skate and gave the home team a one-goal lead at the 4:30 mark.
Washington had a potential game-clinching power-play score from Laich wiped out due to incidental goaltender contact with 4:22 left in regulation, but Ovechkin netted his 53rd of the season into the empty net with 6.5 seconds to play.
The score was also his 100th point of the season, the second consecutive season he has reached the milestone and third time in his four-year NHL career.
The Caps got on the board 6:49 into the contest with a 5-on-3 score as Ovechkin blistered home a pass from Backstrom.
Backstrom doubled the advantage in a 5-on-4 advantage with 8:43 left in the period, when Ovechkin's slap pass caught the young forward off guard, with the puck hitting his skate and sliding past McKenna.
St. Louis tipped home a Matt Pettinger shot for a 2-1 game at 15:48, then another Caps man-advantage tally, this time from Backstrom, made it 3-1 with 21.9 seconds to play in the period.
Theodore denied St. Louis on a breakaway eight minutes into the second period, but the Bolts were not denied as Stamkos hit a half-open net with 54 seconds remaining for a 3-2 game heading to the third.
Washington has won all five contests against Tampa this season, and has taken 10 straight meetings and 11 of the last 13 dating back to the start of last season...Bobby Carpenter also tallied 53 times for the Capitals back in 1984-85...Pothier hadn't scored since December, 27, 2007, and had missed a season and a half with post-concussion syndrome before returning to the lineup on March 16...The clubs play each other for the sixth and final time this year in Tampa, on April 9.
03/28 00:47:38 ET