TAMPA, Fla. — Alex Ovechkin scored his 50th and 51st goals of the season, leading the Washington Capitals to a 6-3 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie also scored twice, while Braden Holtby finished with 25 saves as the Capitals won their fourth consecutive game. Backstrom also became the seventh Washington player to reach 20 goals this season.
Ovechkin reached the 50-goal mark for the eighth time in his career. Only Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky, who each did it nine times, have scored 50 goals in a season more in NHL history. Ovechkin also scored his 657th career goal, moving past Brenden Shanahan for 13th-most in league history.
The first goal for Ovechkin came in the third period as Oshie fed a cross-ice pass from the left boards to the bottom of the right circle for a one-timer. Ovechkin added a power play goal at 16:15, his 247th career power play goal to tie Luc Robitaille for fourth on the all-time list.
Nikita Kucherov notched his 39th of the season for Tampa Bay, while Tyler Johnson and J.T. Miller also scored for the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 29 saves.
The Lightning played the final two periods without defenceman Victor Hedman, who sustained an upper-body injury late in the first period.
In the third meeting between the teams in the past two weeks, it was the Capitals who jumped out to a quick lead in the first period, scoring twice in a span of 3:21. Backstrom converted a 3-on-2 chance off a pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov at 7:24 before Oshie outmuscled Alex Killorn in front of the net to swipe in a rebound of Nick Jensen’s shot at 10:45.
Oshie scored his second of the game at the 16-minute mark of the first period, getting a deflection on John Carlson’s shot for a power-play goal to make it 3-0.
Backstrom made it 4-0 at 7:53 of the second period, getting free down low to push in a pass from Dmitry Orolov.
Miller put Tampa Bay on the board with a deflection of Mikhail Sergachev’s shot at 17:25 of the second period.
Johnson converted a breakaway 3:36 into the third period for his 28th of the season to make it 4-2.
Kucherov scored a power-play goal in the final minute for his 122nd point of the season.
NOTES: Lightning LW Yanni Gourde returned to the lineup after serving a two-game suspension. … Washington RW Brett Connolly missed his first game of the season due to illness. … A pregame ceremony was held to present Tampa Bay with the President’s Trophy as the team with the most points in the league. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly was on hand to deliver the trophy. … The Lightning presented captain Steven Stamkos with a commemorative silver stick for breaking the franchise record for career goals. Owner Jeff Vinik and former team captain Vinny Lecavalier, who held the previous record, made the presentation. … Amalie Arena was sold out for the 199th consecutive game, including playoffs. … Washington C Evgeny Kuznetsov extended his scoring streak to three games.
Lightning: At Ottawa on Monday night.
Capitals: At Florida on Monday night.
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Erik Erlendsson, The Associated Press