Found April 07, 2013 on
Martin St. Louis
Tampa Bay Lightning
Harking back to his MVP days, Alex Ovechkin scored twice on Sunday to make it five goals in two games and the Washington Capitals got a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Ovechkin scored his 24th and 25th goals - giving him 16 in 14 games - to pull even with the Lightning's Steven Stamkos for the top spot in the NHL.
John Carlson and Joel Ward also scored for the Capitals, who moved two points ahead of the second-place Winnipeg Jets in Southeast Division with a game in hand.
Michal Neuvirth, making his first start since March 16, had 28 saves, including a pair of point-blank one-on-one stops against Vincent Lecavalier.
Washington has won four straight and eight of 10.
Lecavalier and Alex Killorn scored for the Lightning, whose playoff hopes are bleak following back-to-back weekend losses.
Tampa Bay trails Washington by eight points with three weeks remaining in the regular season.
Ovechkin's production had been declining sharply since his MVP seasons of 2007-08 and 2008-09, and he spent the first part of this lockout-truncated season adjusting to a different position and playing style under new coach Adam Oates.
But Ovechkin has regained his stride in recent weeks, leading the Capitals back into playoff position while producing a pair of hat trick games, including his trio of goals in Saturday's win over the Florida Panthers.
There wasn't anything flashy about his goals on Sunday. The first one was a redirect, and the second was an empty-netter with 4.4 seconds to play.
One concern for the Capitals: Another forward went down. Ward limped off after blocking a shot in the third period and did not return. Washington was already playing without Brooks Laich and Martin Erat - both injured in the past few days.
Lecavalier scored on the Lightning's first shot, redirecting the puck from Martin St. Louis past Neuvirth on a power play less than 2 minutes into the game. Lecavalier could have reasonably had a hat trick in the first period, with two later chances to close in solo on Neuvirth, but the goalie stopped him both times.
So, trailing by only one instead of three at the end of the first period, the Capitals went to work and scored three times in the second. Ovechkin redirected Jack Hillen's shot to tie the game, Carlson beat Ben Bishop (34 saves) high to the glove side with a slap shot, and Ward kept the puck on a three-on-two break and put it past Bishop on the stick side.
Between the Ovechkin and Carlson goals, Killorn put the Lightning back in front temporarily by taking the puck at the blue line, maneuvering around Hillen and doing what Lecavalier couldn't: Beat Neuvirth one-on-one.
Notes: Laich, hurt again after missing the first 28 games of the season with a groin injury, will see a specialist on Tuesday. ''They can't quite get a handle on what it is,'' Oates said. ''He just doesn't feel good. It's a little sore everywhere, but not necessarily where he was in the groin, and that's why he's seeing the specialist.'' ... Erat, acquired from the Nashville Predators at last week's trade deadline, sat out with a lower body injury after taking a nasty hit from Erik Gudbranson in Saturday's win over the Florida Panthers. Oates said he doesn't think ''it's going to be too long'' before Erat returns. ... The Capitals are 12-3-0 against Southeast opponents. ... Washington's Nicklas Backstrom picked up his 300th career assist. ... The Capitals are 13-1-1 in their past 15 home games against the Lightning.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Alex Ovechkin has received a huge amount of criticism over the past few seasons. Most of this heat has stemmed from disappointment over the forward's inability to recapture the elite form we witnessed for the better part of five seasons. A lot of this criticism has been deserved as Ovechkin has looked lost on the ice, seemingly uninterested in giving it his all.
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The Washington Capitals are an impressive 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, and now once again sit atop the NHL Southeast Division with 42 points. As usual, the play of Alex Ovechkin has a lot to do with this recent surge towards a playoff spot for his club. Over the last 14 contests hockey fans have witnessed vintage Ovechkin, notching 16 goals and seven assists for a total of...
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Alex Ovechkin is playing a lot like he did during his two MVP seasons for the surging Washington Capitals.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are very familiar with the superstar left wing's scoring exploits.
Ovechkin looks to continue his home dominance of the Lightning on Sunday night, when he attempts to help the Capitals begin building a cushion atop the Southeast Division.
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Alex Ovechkin's game had grown so stale and incomplete that, a year ago, he was being benched late in games.
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Three Stars of the Week
1. Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Harking back to his MVP days, Alex Ovechkin scored twice on Sunday to make it five goals in two games and the Washington Capitals got a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Ovechkin scored his 24th and 25th goal -- giving him 16 in 14 games -- to pull even with the Lightning's Steven Stamkos for the top spot in the NHL.
John Carlson and Joel Ward also scored...
Joel Ward celebrates his goal Sunday (TBT).
The Washington Capitals won yet another game on Sunday night, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 4-2 inside Verizon Center for their fourth consecutive win. After falling behind twice, the Capitals got goals from Alex Ovechkin (twice), John Carlson, and Joel Ward to come back and top the Bolts. Michal Neuvirth...