Kolzig made 48 saves and Alexander Semin had a goal and an assist in his return from a shoulder injury to help the Washington Capitals beat the Lightning 5-2 Tuesday night. “One of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time by a goaltender,” Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. “Kolzig was the difference.”
The Capitals stopped a six-game losing streak behind Kolzig, who turned aside 16 shots in the first and 23 of 25 during the third. Washington is 4-0-2 when allowing 40 or more shots this season. Kolzig made 20 or more saves during the third period in the four victories.
“You want to get shots, get into a groove,” Kolzig said. “Fifty is a little extreme, but anytime you can get 10 to 12 shots a period, it’s good for a goalie. You’re into it.”
Kris Beech, Boyd Gordon, Chris Clark and Alexander Ovechkin also scored for the Capitals, who had been outscored 25-9 during their skid.
“He’s the backbone of our team,” Clark said of Kolzig. “We were outplayed maybe in the first period, but he was here to keep it (close).”
Nick Tarnasky and Vincent Lecavalier scored third-period goals for the Lightning, who lost for fourth time in 11 games.
Gordon started a three-goal second that made it 4-0 with a short-handed breakaway goal at 1:53.
Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist, who had won eight of his nine previous starts, was pulled when Semin scored with 3:31 left in the period. Semin had missed the past four games.
Clark gave Washington a four-goal advantage at 18:30 on the Capitals’ first shot on Marc Denis.
“We had a good first and had a good third,” Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis said. “We seem to have one period that kills us. When you miss chances in the first period, and they get a break, it’s tough. We’ve got to find a way to capitalize.”
Tarnasky scored his first NHL goal at 5:10 of the third. Lecavalier cut the Lightning deficit to 4-2 with 9:57 left.
Washington was outshot 16-5, including 9-0 during the first 10 minutes, in the first, but took a 1-0 lead on Beech’s goal at 14:12.
“It’s frustrating on our part,” Tampa Bay centre Vinny Prospal said. “We don’t put the game away right in the first period. We put them in their zone. We just didn’t score any goals.”
Ovechkin had an empty-net goal at 18:51. He has scored a goal in three straight games.
The Capitals finished with 20 shots.
Notes: Holmqvist allowed three goals on 13 shots. … Tampa Bay captain Tim Taylor (cervical spine bruise) returned after missing six games. … Capitals LW Donald Brashear served the final game of his three-game suspension stemming from an instigator penalty against Atlanta on Nov. 22.