TAMPA, Fla. — Alex Killorn scored three goals for his first career hat trick, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Washington Capitals 6-3 Saturday night in the teams’ first meeting since last year’s Eastern Conference finals.
Tampa Bay set team records for wins (55) and points (114) in a season, becoming the 12th team in league history to get at least 55 victories in a season.
Erik Cernak, Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson also scored for the Lightning, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 shots.
Alex Ovechkin scored twice to give him 48 on the season, John Carlson also scored and Braden Holtby finished with 29 saves for Washington. The Capitals remained two points ahead of the New York Islanders atop the Metropolitan Division.
Killorn, who entered the game with 13 goals on the season, capped off the hat trick with an empty-netter with 47 seconds left. Gourde capped the scoring with another empty-netter 45 seconds later.
The Lightning jumped on the Capitals quickly as Brayden Point set up Johnson on a 2-on-1 at 8:35 of the first. Killorn made it 2-0as he sent the puck from the boards toward the front of the net where it bounced off Washington defenceman Dmitry Orlov and past Holtby at 10:33.
Carlson cut the deficit in half as a blocked shot bounced out to the right point where he stepped into a one-timer for his 12th at 12:06.
Killorn answered that as he forced his way up the ice and outmuscled Michal Kempny for an initial shot before putting his own rebound with 4:04 left in the period to make it 3-1.
After the Lightning failed to convert on 1:28 of 5-on-3 power play time, 42 seconds of which carried over into the second period, the Capitals struck on the power play after Carlson’s shot deflected off T.J. Oshie in the high slot and landed right in the path of Ovechkin for a quick wrist shot to make it 3-2 at 7:33.
Ovechkin got his 246th career power-play goal, tying Hall of Famer Phil Esposito for fifth place on the all-time list.
Cernak regained Tampa Bay’s two-goal lead with his fourth of the season, coming open down the right circle before snapping a shot through Holtby’s legs at 2:45 of the third. Ovechik scored his second of the night off a carom from Orlov’s shot off the end boards to cut the Lightning lead to 4-3 at 12:56.
NOTES: Lightning D Dan Girardi (lower body) and D Anton Stralman (lower body) each missed their third consecutive game after neither took part in the full morning skate. … Washington D Nick Jensen appeared in his 200th career game. … Tampa Bay D Mikhail Sergachev left the game in the first period after taking a hit from Washington RW Tom Wilson along the boards but returned to start the second. … Ovechkin has 655 career goals, one shy of tying Brendan Shanahan for 13th place on the all-time list.
Lightning: Host Arizona on Monday night.
Capitals: At New Jersey on Tuesday night.
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Erik Erlendsson, The Associated Press