Capitals clinch playoff spot by beating Lightning 5-3

AP Photo
AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — T.J Oshie had three goals and an assist, Justin Williams and John Carlson had early third-period goals, and the Washington Capitals clinched a playoff spot by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 on Saturday night.

Oshie scored twice, including an early power-play goal, as the Capitals took a 2-0 lead midway through the first. He completed the hat trick with an empty-netter during the final minute. Oshie has 10 goals and 19 points in 14 games against Tampa Bay.

Williams had a redirection goal 3:14 into the period before Carlson swatted a thigh-high puck home to make it 4-2 at 5:30.

Washington also got four assists from Nicklas Backstrom, and Braden Holtby stopped 26 shots.

Nikita Kucherov had two goals, and Alex Killorn had the other goal for the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 30 saves.

Kucherov got Tampa Bay within a goal with 4-3 with 1:30 left, but Oshie sealed with his third goal.

The Lightning tied it at 2 late in the first as Kucherov, on a power play set up by Oshie’s high-sticking penalty, and Killorn had goals 16 seconds apart.

Killorn stopped a 16-game goal drought, while Kucherov got his 32nd goal this season and 100th overall.

Alex Ovechkin assisted on Oshie’s goal and tied Florida’s Jaromir Jagr for the most points against Tampa Bay with 83. He has played the Lightning 63 times.

Ovechkin, who has one goal in his last 13 games, had a couple of quality chances stopped by Vasilevskiy during the first.

NOTES: Capitals LW Andre Burakovsky returned after missing 15 games with a hand injury. … Tampa Bay played without with centers Tyler Johnson (five games), Cedric Paquette (five games) and Vladislav Namestnikov (three games), who are all out with lower-body injuries. Center Steven Stamkos, out since right knee surgery in November, went through a full practice Friday but is not ready to play. … Washington LW Marcus Johansson left due to illness. … The Capitals have outscored their opponents 73-33 in the first period.

UP NEXT:

Capitals: Play the first of three straight at home against Calgary on Tuesday night.

Lightning: Complete a three-game homestand against Arizona on Tuesday night.



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