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Laich, Capitals lock up second seed in East

TAMPA, Florida (AP) -- Brooks Laich had two goals and the

Washington Capitals secured the second seed in the Eastern

Conference playoffs with a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay

Lightning on Thursday night.

Laich and David Steckel scored 31 seconds apart early in the

second to gave the Capitals a 3-1 lead.

With the victory, Washington set a franchise record with 108

points and tied a team mark with 50 wins, which also was

accomplished during the 1985-86 season.

The Capitals have won 11 consecutive games against Tampa Bay. It

ties an 11-game winning streak from March 12, 1998, to March 15,

2000, against the New York Islanders for the longest victory run

over one opponent in team history.

Steven Stamkos and Matt Pettinger scored for the Lightning, who

have lost eight in a row and 11 of 12. Tampa Bay will end the

season with the NHL's worst home record at 12-18-11.

Stamkos set a Tampa Bay record for rookies with his 22nd goal of

the season to make it 1-0 just 36 seconds into the game. He had

shared the mark with Brad Richards, who had 21 goals during his

rookie season in 2000-01.

Laich tied it 1 on a power-play rebound goal at 9:19 of the

first.

Pettinger cut the Tampa Bay deficit to 3-2 with 7:07 left in the

third. Mike Green scored an empty-goal with 4.8 seconds to play.

Washington left wing Alexander Ovechkin, second in the NHL

scoring race with 108 points, didn't have a point. The

league-leader with 55 goals has not scored a goal in his last

three games.

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