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Vaclav Pospal lifts Tampa Bay Lightning to road win over Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON - Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig was infuriated by the three goals he allowed in the third period against the Lightning.

Kolzig gave up two goals in a span of 58 seconds during the final 20 minutes and Tampa Bay beat Washington 5-2 on Saturday night for its second road victory of the season.

"We're not going to go anywhere if we continue to play like that," Kolzig said. "We made a point of it before the game to start putting some points together at home. We're awful at home right now. We can't get it done and the third period was a prime example of that."

With the victory, Tampa Bay took a three-game lead over Washington for fourth place in the Southeast Division.

Vaclav Prospal had a goal and two assists, Martin St. Louis added a goal and an assist, and Vincent Lecavalier had two assists for the Lightning, who won on the road for the second straight game after losing their first seven road contests. The Lightning beat the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes 5-1 on Thursday night.

"We played really well defensively and it feels great to get some wins back," Prospal said. "We had a lot of chances in the second period but didn't get any behind their goaltender."

The third period was another story.

St. Louis' 10th goal of the season came from the right wing and gave the Lightning a 3-1 lead 2:27 into the third period. Prospal and Brad Lukowich assisted on the play.

"We've talked about it enough the last couple of weeks," Kolzig said. "It all comes down to individuals knowing what they have to do and that's it. If you need somebody else to tell you to get motivated, you're probably in the wrong league."

Less than a minute earlier, Prospal's goal gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead.

From in front of the net, Ryan Craig deflected Prospal's shot from the right wing and scored a power-play goal for a 4-1 lead with 7:38 remaining in the game.

"If you have your power-play unit playing well, like tonight, you can steal away some games," Prospal said.

Paul Ranger closed the scoring with an empty-net goal with 21 seconds remaining off an assist by Brad Richards.

"Chances were hard to come by and we needed to keep our patience," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "Getting a couple in the third period with a few good faceoffs was key."

Alex Ovechkin's 11th goal of the season and his 11th in 18 career games against the Lightning tied the score at 1-1 with 1:40 left in the second period. Ovechkin took a crossing pass from Mike Green and juked to send goalie Johan Holmqvist sprawling in front of the net. Green then beat him top shelf.

Holmqvist finished with 23 saves.

"He has been solid," St. Louis said. "When he plays like that, I like our chances."

Added Prospal: "Holmqvist is reflective of our team. He is solid. When we didn't play well in front of him, we suffered. He needed better support. We are playing really well now defensively, and it shows."

Filip Kuba took the puck off a faceoff and launched a one-timer from beyond the left circle that gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 12:30 of the second period. Michel Oullet assisted on the play, as did Lecavalier, who has 11 points in Tampa Bay's last five games.

"Getting the first goal was the key of the game because both teams were playing well defensively," Tortorella said.

The Capitals outshot the Lightning 8-5 in a penalty-free first period.

Notes: Two members of the Capitals family will be honoured Monday at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Longtime beat writer Dave Fay, who covered the team for the Washington Times and The Hockey News before he died in July, will be honoured with the Elmer Ferguson Award for excellence in hockey journalism during a luncheon. Former Capital Scott Stevens later will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining former Capitals Mike Gartner, Rod Langway and Larry Murphy. ... Injured Soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington drew one of the loudest rounds of applause of the evening at Verizon Center.


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