The Capitals sought revenge against the Lightning since their last two meetings went Tampa’s way. This time around, the Caps struck back against the Lightning with a 6-3 win, their fifth in a row, and maintaining their 3-point lead atop the Metro Division.
Nicklas Backstrom scored first for the Caps in the first period. Backstrom started a transition in his own zone, fed the puck to Tom Wilson on the wing and snuck the puck around Ryan McDonagh back to Backstrom, who tapped it past Andrei Vasilevskiy to make it 1-0.
The goal is Backstrom’s 20th of the season, making him one of seven 20-goal scorers on the Caps roster this season. Also, he and Joe Thornton are the only active NHL players to record at least four consecutive seasons with 20 goals and 50 assists.
T.J. Oshie followed up with his 24th of the season, scoring off the rebound of Nick Jensen’s point shot to make it 2-0 in the first. With assists on the goal, Hagelin recorded his 10th point with the Caps, while Jensen recorded his fifth.
Oshie’s work wasn’t done. On a power play chance in the first, he deflected a John Carlson shot over Vasilevskiy’s shoulder. The goal marked the Caps’ first power-play goal in five games and made it 3-0 heading into the second period.
Midway through the second, Backstrom scored his second of the night after Dmitry Orlov found him wide open in front of the net, passing him the puck through Mikhail Sergachev’s legs.
The Lightning ended Braden Holtby’s bid for a shutout when J.T. Miller deflected a Sergachev shot in at the end of the second.
They continued to claw back in the third when Tyler Johnson found himself on a breakaway and snuck it through Holtby’s five hole to make it 4-2.
The playoff atmosphere of the game amplified late in the third, when Brooks Orpik fought Anthony Cirelli and Tom Wilson fought Erik Cernak.
Alex Ovechkin capped the night with his 50th and 51st goals of the season. It’s his eighth season with 50 goals, one behind Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy for most all-time.
Ovechkin’s 50th also moves him past Brendan Shanahan for 13th all-time in NHL goal-scoring.
Nikita Kucherov added another late power-play goal, but the Caps eventually took the 6-3 win. Holtby made 25 saves in the victory and now has five 30-win seasons since 2014-15, joining the company of Devan Dubnyk.