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Ovechkin’s shootout goal gives Caps Southeast showdown
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TAMPA, Fla. | Alex Ovechkin assisted on Washington’s only goal in regulation, then scored in the opening round of the shootout to give the first-place Capitals a 2-1 victory over the slumping Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night.
Alexander Semin came up big for the Caps for the second straight night, tying the game 1-1 with 5:32 remaining in the third period.
Goalie Braden Holtby replaced Michal Neuvirth after the opening period and stopped 21 shots before stopping Dominic Moore, Adam Hall and Vincent Lecavalier in the shootout to give Washington its fifth straight win.
Sean Bergenheim scored Tampa Bay’s goal on a first-period power play, redirecting a shot past Neuvirth.
Washington’s starting goalie was hit in the mask by a shot in the opening minutes of the game, but continued to play. Coach Bruce Boudreau said a piece of metal was removed from Neuvirth’s eye, and that the player was fine.
The loss was a season high fourth straight for the Lightning, who’ve scored just five goals during the skid that’s dropped them from second to fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Capitals increased their lead in the Southeast two points.
Dwayne Roloson stopped 29 shots for Tampa Bay. The 41-year-old goalie was less than six minutes away from shutting out the Capitals for the third time this season when Semin, with Ovechkin and Dennis Wideman getting assists, scored from the left circle to make it 1-1.
Washington’s winning streak is its longest since the Capitals won six straight from Oct. 30 to Nov. 11.
Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom left the game in the second period with a sore finger. Boudreau said Backstrom wanted to re-enter the game, but was held out as a precaution.
Notes: Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos leads the NHL with 41 goals, but has only had one in the past 12 games. … Lightning D Randy Jones left the game with what the team said was a lower body injury and did not return.
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