TAMPA, Fla. – Johan Holmqvist and Vincent Lecavalier helped the Lightning overcome a sluggish performance for their fifth straight victory.
Holmqvist made 28 saves, Lecavalier had a goal and two assists to extend his team record for consecutive multi-point games to seven and Tampa Bay beat the Washington Capitals 5-2 on Friday night. “We weren’t at our best tonight,” Tampa Bay centre Brad Richards said. “Holmqvist played really big. When we had our chances, we buried them.”
Holmqvist has allowed just seven goals in winning his last five starts.
“It’s important,” Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. “Holmer certainly has done his job. Teams that end up being there at the end of the year win these types of games.”
Lecavalier has six goals and 13 assists during the points streak.
Jan Hlavac, Richards, Paul Ranger and Martin St. Louis also scored for the Lightning, who lost six straight before the winning streak.
“I really felt they took it to us as far as battles, especially in our end,” Tortorella said. “But we found a way.”
Brooks Laich and Alexander Ovechkin scored for Washington. The Capitals are 3-12-1 since starting the season by winning three straight games.
“It’s tough to come up with answers when you play so hard,” Capitals captain Chris Clark said. “It’s almost easier if guys collapse and not work hard because then you know exactly what you do. But our team, we work so hard and you just don’t get rewarded for it.”
Tampa Bay took a 3-2 lead at 10:22 of the second when Richards scored on the power play after Lecavalier won a faceoff in the Washington zone. Ranger made it 4-2 with 27.6 seconds to play in the second.
Holmqvist kept it 4-2 when he made a pad save on Ovechkin, who skated in alone toward the net in the final seconds of the second.
“Kind of lucky I guess,” Holmqvist said. “But you need that once in a while, too.”
Washington took a 2-1 lead when Laich and Ovechkin scored 44 seconds apart in the first. After Laich redirected Shaone Morrisonn’s shot at 12:46, Ovechkin scored from the top of the right circle at 13:30.
“We had lots of scoring chances. We just didn’t put them in,” Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. “You sound like a broken record, you work hard and you’re not getting rewarded. Normally, if you would lose some games like this and you’d have a practice the next day, you’d have certain things to work on. But what do you work on (after this game)?”
Hlavac pulled Tampa Bay even at 2 after a Washington turnover with 4:41 remaining in the first.
Lecavalier put the Lightning up 1-0 with a power-play goal at 1:31 of the first. He nearly scored again with 13 minutes left in the period, but Capitals goalie Brent Johnson made a strong save on a breakaway.
St. Louis scored an empty-net goal with 23.5 seconds left. Lecavalier assisted on the goal.
Notes: Washington (6-12-1) is 0-10 when allowing its opponent to score a power-play goal. … Ovechkin has scored a goal in four consecutive games. … St. Louis also had two assists to extend his points streak to seven games. He has nine assists and 14 points during the stretch.