TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Washington Capitals used a quick start during the final period for another win away from home.

Lars Eller and Garnet Hathaway scored 45 seconds apart early in the third period and the NHL-leading Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 on Saturday night.

Ellers scored from the left circle at 1:58 and Hathaway made it 3-1 from in-close.

The surge came after Washington allowed just one goal on four short-handed situations during the second period against Tampa Bay’s potent home power play, which entered a league-leading 21 for 58.

“We regrouped, we talked about it between the second and the third,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. ” It was up to us to get back to our game for the third period where if we do that come out with the outcome we wanted.”

Nicklas Backstrom, T.J Oshie and Tom Wilson had the other Washington goals, and rookie goalie Ilya Samsonov stopped 26 shots.


Samsonov (8-2-1) played in front of his father, who made the trip from Russia to see his son play for the first time in NHL.

“I feel good the whole game,” Samsonov said. “It was really important because of the father’s trip. Real important win today. Really good team win.

The Capitals are on their Mentor’s Trip, which includes many of the player’s fathers.

Washington, (15-2-1) tied the 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres for the fewest game to reached 15 road wins

Tampa Bay got goals from Brayden Point and Jan Rutta. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves.

“I thought we played well in the second period,” Point said. “We had some good looks. Bottom line is in the third period we gave up some opportunities to a team you can’t give opportunities to and they capitalized.”


The Lightning dropped to 8-7-1 at home, matching the total of losses (32-7-2) from all of last season.

Tampa Bay’s overall record this season is 16-12-3. The Lightning, who tied an NHL-record for wins (62-16-4) in 2018-19, didn’t lose their 12th game in regulation until Feb. 28 (49-12-4).

Lightning star Nikita Kucherov, last season’s NHL MVP, left midway through the second after taking John Carlson’s shot off the right foot-shin area and did not return.

“You guys saw what happened,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “I don’t have an update on him. Hopefully he’s going to be OK. Obviously, he’s a huge part of our team.”

Rutta stopped a 30-game goal drought at 11:16 of the third but Oshie put the Capitals up 4-2 just 1:03 later.

Wilson added an empty-netter.

Backstrom opened the scoring at 6:42 of the first. Rutta was getting ready to make a pass when teammate Ondrej Palat skated in front of him behind the net on a breakout play and had the puck go off his skate right to Backstrom in the low slot.


Samsonov kicked out his left leg to stop an in-close back-hander by Mikhail Sergachev early in the first. Kevin Shattenkirk sent a shot from a tough angle behind Samsonov later in the period but the puck went through the crease along the goal line and went off the post.

Soon after Vasilevskiy made a short-handed glove save when Carl Hagelin’s shot that went off Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, Point tied it a 1 from the slot 5:45 into the second.

NOTES: Lightning star Steven Stamkos was limited to one shot, which came late in third. … Capitals C Alex Ovechkin, who entered with 48 goals and 91 points in 70 games against Tampa Bay had three shot and was pointless. … Backstrom has 14 goals and 61 points in 51 games against Tampa Bay. … Kucherov assisted on Point’s goal and has a 12-game point streak (nine assists, 18 points) against the Capitals.


Capitals: At Columbus on Monday night.

Lightning: Host Ottawa on Tuesday night.


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